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Dortch on impact of no Wiggins: “Zero. It’s still the best class of all time”

By LARRY VAUGHT

Even without Andrew Wiggins there still should not be any doubt that Kentucky has assembled the nation’s all-time best recruiting class.

Kentucky coach John Calipari still has a record six McDonald’s All-Americans — Andrew and Aaron Harrison, Julius Randle, Dakari Johnson, James Young and Marcus Lee — in this recruiting class. And don’t forget that junior Kyle Wiltjer and sophomore Alex Poythress were both McDonald’s All-Americans.

So there’s no shortage of talent for next year. Remember, sophomore Willie Cauley-Stein is also being mentioned as a possible NBA draft lottery pick and freshmen Dominique Hawkins and Derek Willis have unique talents of their own. Plus, with no Wiggins, it should clear the way for both Jarrod Polson and Jon Hood to stay on scholarship one more year.

“The immediate impact of Kentucky getting Wiggins is that this is without doubt the greatest recruiting class of all time,” said Sporting News columnist Mike DeCourcy. “There’s no more room for argument about that.”

“Kentucky has got the No. 1 player (in the recruiting class) at every position on the floor except for Wiggins in a highly talented class,” Sporting News columnist Mike DeCourcy said. “There are certain years you could get the No. 1 guys and still not have an extraordinary year like the 2008-09 group. But this is a very highly talented group. You could take Andrew Wiggins out of this class and put Jabari Parker or Julius Randle No. 1 and it would still be very strong. Kentucky will still have overwhelming strength and athleticism at every position. ”

And as I suggested about a month ago, Kentucky’s chemistry could be better without Wiggins. Not because Wiggins is a problem, but because even Calipari can only work so much magic with a loaded roster. He has guys that expect to play, and should play.

The Harrison twins and Randle are all dynamic, forceful leaders. Johnson, Lee and Young all seem to be team-oriented, not me-oriented, players.

Cauley-Stein will be a leader in a less intense way than the Harrisons or Randle. Poythress may not be a vocal leader, but he’ll be a better player. And Wiltjer’s experience on and off the court could be invaluable to the freshmen.

Wiggins would have been a terrific addition. But let Blue Ribbon Basketball Yearbook editor Chris Dortch put this in perspective for UK fans. Here’s what he said when I asked him what impact not getting Wiggins would have on UK: “Zero. It’s still the best class of all time.”

And still likely more than enough to have UK ranked No. 1 going into next season — even without Wiggins.

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://vaughtsviews.com/dortch-on-impact-of-no-wiggins-zero-its-still-the-best-class-of-all-time/

15 comments

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  1. Larry Pup

    Hey everything is ok. UK is loaded and ready to go. Now these stars have to get it done on the court.

  2. Juan4UK

    I’m fine with it. It would have been great for the hype. Cushioned our depth even more. And added to the pace of the games. But, I’m fine with out him. We have enough. And minutes would really be stressed if we had yet another person to get a significant chunk of them.

  3. Gene

    I’m not a big fan of this “Kentucky Boy” label used by some .
    Many use it to try and justify playing time at D-1 schools in the Commonwealth…….BUT !!!
    The messers Hawkins and Willis, while not being graced with “stars” as are most of this class, will be major contributors (and surprises) in this seasons pursuit of #9.
    Had Wiggins picked UK it would have been the cherry on top of thse sundae but as many have said “Cal really didn’t need him”.

  4. Larry T Clemons

    ” Time to talk about OUR WILDCATS ” and not a Jayhawk, “whatever his name is…

  5. R moreland

    wiggins is a great player and should be very successful at KU. he would of been nice to have but by no means a back breaker. people sending the kid negative messages via twitter need to grow up & STOP! wiggins would not of gotten the playing time at UK that he will get at KU. things like this always seem to work out over the course of the yr. Self has always had a veteran team, will be interesting to see how he handles this group. I take Cal with young kids anyday, he has PROVEN he can win a title with a freshman at the point. i dont beleive teague was as highly regarded as the harrison kid. gonna be a fun yr for hoops in the state of KY.

  6. Karen Sprinkle

    I think we’ll be fine, even having to muddle through with “only” 8 McDonalds All-Americans. ;-) I’m really excited about all of these guys, and I’m very happy that Hood and Polson will be getting scholarships for their senior years (per Cal’s press conference today). As the old saying goes, when one door closes, another opens.

  7. Kokamo Joe

    For over a year the BBN has been salivating over Wiggins. Most of us, including me, was thinking that Wiggins would be a Cat and that he would be crazy to choose any other school but UK. We were sure, again including myself, that Calipari was magic and that no hot shoot recruit could resist both Calipari and the so called gold standard that we believe UK to be.

    A lesson can be learned here. No recruit or any collection of short time recruits are more important than the program. We should learn from this. Those that we want and those that we get must first come here and prove that they are worth our worship. That includes the bunch that will soon come to the campus.

  8. Kokamo Joe

    Re: Cal did not need him. Calipari collects stars like other people collect stamps, coins, or girl friends. Both Calipari and our fan base felt that we needed him. He choose another school. Would Wiggins made an impact on UK? Of course, he would have been the cherry on top of the ice cream delight. Will the program survive and prosper? Of course.

    I am afraid that I have to disagree with you about Hawkins and Willis. Unless Calipari changes his cat stripes, he will play a limited number of players. In the past it has been 6 or 7. There will be more because he has more than 6 or 7 players who want to leave as soon as possible. But these Kentucky kids, will play little, if any this year. The two in the roster last year would not have played if last year’s super recruits had panned out. Calipari is hard at work recruiting 2014′s number one class. He will continue to recruit over these two Kentucky boys. IMO, what they will become is a token to satisfy those who think that a Kentucky team should have Kentucky boys on the roster. If this is right, these kids could have become very good college players at schools like Butler, Western Kentucky or maybe even at UL, but will sit on the end of the bench at UK.

  9. Toicat

    I was surprised that Andrew Wiggins chose Kansas over North Carolina, but that just goes to show you how important chemistry is with the coach and staff. Looking forward a couple of years from now, he is going to be fun to watch in the NBA.

    As for Coach Calipari, great job on recruiting! I can’t wait to see how this class comes together. The lineup and substitution possibilities are endless. With such a talented front court, I suspect that Kyle Wiltjer will re-emerge as a perimeter threat. This class certainly has the raw material to hang #9 at Rupp. I’m already excited…!

    Go Cat’s Go !

  10. Scott

    I’m only disappointed for selfish reasons. KU will replace Gonzaga as Canada’s team next year, and they’ll get a ton of publicity up here that I wanted UK to receive.

  11. Larry Pup

    I say Hawkins and Willis play some min. They were not signed because they were just ole Kentucky boys. They have talent that can help this team, or Cal would not have signed them. And no I don’t agree with you Joe that they would have been better off at Butler, or WKU, or especially Louisville. Had they gone to Louisville, they would have been practically in the same boat as you say they are at UK. They went where they wanted to go and where they were wanted. Nobody is saying the UK program will fall flat on it’s face without Wiggins, what we are saying is it would have been great had he signed with the CATS, but UK is in fine shape with the guys we have and the guys we have coming in. We might just hang No. 9.

  12. don

    Frankley, I hope we are ranked preseason #3 or 4. I think it would give them more incentive and take a little pressure off. The early season with Michigan State will be brutal. Hopefully a little later we will be settled in when we meet Carolina and Louisville, if all goes well after that lookout!!!

  13. Kokamo Joe

    I hope you are right. I would love seeing these two young men become a real part of the program. But if Calipari does what has been doing and what we hope he will be doing in the future in the area of recruiting, he will be bringing in players much like this year’s recruits. If we are going to continue getting these players they have to be the headliners and they must be given ample playing time. They have a dream and it involves big money and a short college career. Super one and dones begat more super one and dones. Stop the conveyor belt and our ride will be over. Unless some of our future players don’t pan out I don’t see playing time for either of the Kentucky boys.

    Why do I think…if I am right about Calipari continuing to recruit over these players….that they would be better off playing elsewhere? I was thinking of a couple of kids….one from Lexington Bryan Station and the other from Clark County. Both because great college players, one at UL and the other at Butler. Neither would have developed under Calipari and I seriously doubt that Calipari would have offered a scholarship to either.

  14. Larry Pup

    You are right about Cal and his conveyor belt, but he found out last year what can happen without a bench. He will not get caught like that again. He will build bench strength.

  15. Kokamo Joe

    But will his bench be super freshmen and sophomores like next year’s team will have? Or will he back off and count on these and other less spectacular players and allow them enough playing time to develop and be real contributing members of the team. Since Calipari came to UK he has not recruited and developed role players. He inherited gifted role players from Gillispie and molded them with great recruits and succeed. But now he must develop his own, and in order to do that he must play them. Personally I would love to see a combination of recruiting and playing kids who can be very good college players and mixing them with top recruits who will be one and dones. But if he does that he must recruit less one and dones and more college level talent.

    It seems that we and Calipari are addicted to the high profile athlete. Our excitement and disappointment (even though we are still loaded with players who will be short timers) over Wiggins illustrates that. We can’t wait to see how these talented newcomers will chew up next year’s schedule and we are eager to follow the recruiting trail with Calipari. Would we not be disappointed if by the fall Calipari has not rounded up next years number one class, and if he does…how will our Kentucky kids get to play?

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