Eric Bossi over at Rivals put together a list of the top ten bad recruiting beats in the last five years, and to the surprise of no one the Kentucky Wildcats make more appearances than any other team.
While there is no ranking order, these are the recruiting upsets that Bossi feels hit the losing team the hardest that UK was involved in:
- Deandre Ayton (2017) choosing Arizona over Kansas
- Mohamed Bamba (2017) choosing Texas over Kentucky
- Jaylen Brown (2015) choosing California over Kentucky
- Brandon Ingram (2015) choosing Duke over North Carolina
- Malik Monk (2016) choosing Kentucky over Arkansas
- Zion Williamson (2018) choosing Duke over Clemson
Kentucky was involved with more of these guys than anyone else, and that is expected since John Calipari is in the conversation with almost every top recruit.
The biggest surprises on this list actually come from the omissions.
First of all, I would put Kevin Knox choosing Kentucky over Duke near the top of this list. I can think of very few recruits in the last decade that Kentucky fans (and maybe even coaches) were so surprised to land.
While our eyes in Kentucky could certainly be tainted, I find it odd that Clemson was more a victim of Zion Williamson’s decision than Kentucky was. Williamson choosing Duke was a huge stomach punch to all of Big Blue Nation for reasons that go far beyond his abilities and even this year’s recruiting class.
One questionable person that does appear on the list is Jaylen Brown. While he is doing very well in the NBA, he didn’t exactly set the college basketball world on fire. Also, as Bossi notes, Brown’s choice made room for Jamal Murray, who I do not think Kentucky would have traded away for anything.
Also, was there anyone outside of Illinois’ campus that got upset when four-star Jeremiah Tilmon chose Missouri? That decision was really more controversial than Knox choosing UK over Duke?
What do you make of this list? Were there any other Kentucky recruits that Bossi left off of the list?