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Kentucky Wildcats Morning Quickies: Recruiting In-state Players Edition

Kentucky’s recruiting of in-state players has dropped from half the team in the early 1990’s to almost nil in the Calipari era. Maybe this year?

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky Media Day Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, and welcome to the Tuesday Morning Quickies.

Today we revisit a familiar subject; recruiting in-state players for Kentucky basketball. For those of you too young to remember, Kentucky had at least five players from in-state on the team until the early 1990’s, when things began to change. At one point in time, Kentucky produced a great deal of top-level high-school talent for its population, but that gradually turned around as basketball grew in popularity and larger states began seeing improvement in their high school programs.

As we all know, Kentucky players are now a relative rarity on UK rosters, and the Herald-Leader today takes a look at some of the recent players that Kentucky passed on from the state, including the likes of Louisville players Quentin Snyder, Ray Spalding, and West Virginia’s Beetle Bolden. While all were very good, most of them did not fit the profile of a John Calipari recruit, which is probably why he didn’t recruit them very hard.

This year, Pendleton County has produced a very good player in Dontaie Allen, and he will be on a visit to UK on the first of next month. He’s currently in the top 100 in the nation, and it will be interesting to see if Coach Cal offers him. If so, he’ll be the first in-state player since Dominique Hawkins and Derek Willis to get a UK offer.

Personally, I think big-time basketball has largely passed by the Bluegrass State. Kentucky produces some quality players, but most of them are a step below what UK typically wants on its roster. I don’t see that changing in the near future, and as long as John Calipari is coach at UK, I expect players from Kentucky to be fairly rare.

Times change.

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Oscar has been doing yeoman’s work on an oral history of Kentucky basketball and associated lore. He deserves a lot of credit for it.

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