It’s recruiting season folks.
Do you know what that means?
It means we get some insight of what recruiting against Kentucky is like.
Even though the last several seasons have had their fair share of struggles on the recruiting trail, coaches across the conference still recognize the difficulty that comes in recruiting against John Calipari and Kentucky.
Jeff Borzello of ESPN released some statements from anonymous coaches that ranks teams in terms of their recruiting power in the SEC. The ranking system used is a tier system, and to no surprise, Kentucky is in Tier 1 all by itself.
“The biggest thing with kids now is how can I get to the NBA, and Cal has shown he is able to create a path for a lot of his guys to get to the NBA. Even some of his ‘lower-level’ guys still get looked at, because when you play at a program like Kentucky, they’re pro-ready. People look at you differently when you consistently develop pros — and it’s tenfold for Kentucky. The tradition of Kentucky basketball. You walk into that arena, it’s different. The way they travel. It’s all at a different level than everyone else.”
This coach is not wrong. As Calipari says, Kentucky is the “gold standard” of college basketball, and it appears that other programs notice that as well.
Another coach had to say this:
“The pressure is the only thing. You’re not doing anything there that somebody else hasn’t already done, unless you go undefeated and win a national championship. So you can get lost in the fold. You go to a different school in the league and you create a legacy. We’ve been able to use that in the past. You won’t be under as much pressure, you’ll be remembered at a much higher level.”
This is a good example of how coaches in the league negatively recruit against Kentucky. It almost perfectly fits into another phrase that Coach Cal likes to use: “Kentucky isn’t for everyone.”
Ranking the rest of the teams there wasn't any huge shocks across the board. In Tier 2 were Florida, Alabama, Tennessee and Arkansas, all of which have had solid success on the recruiting trail in the last several seasons.
With a new staff that is seen as a group that should take Kentucky back to it’s early days of recruiting under Calipari, fans should expect to see things only get better from where it has been the last several seasons. Not only in the sense of staying on top of the SEC, but being seen as one of the perennial powerhouses across the world.