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ESPN recruiting director Biancardi on James Young and possible best ever recruiting class for Calipari


Paul Biancardi, ESPN basketball national director of recruiting, has seen Kentucky coach John Calipari land twins Aaron and Andrew Harrison of Texas and James Young of Michigan in the last two weeks when the players made their commitments live on ESPNU. He shared these thoughts on Calipari’s recruiting.

Question: What do you like best about James Young’s game?
Biancardi: “His ability to score and shoot the basketball . When you study his game you see he is very comfortable making 3’s both off the catch and off the dribble . When he is not making shots he is slashing his way to the time . Does a great job at creating fouls with his dribble penetration into the lane.”

Question: How does he fit into the Calipari system?
Biancardi: His scoring skills will be use in many ways. Coach Calipari does an excellent job every year shaping his offense to  his talent. With James Young you will see more ball screens and dribble hands off to Utilize his shooting ability. Young will have to learn how to defend Kentucky style which mean intense heat and pressure. He will be fantastic if the pace of the game gets faster as Kentucky scores very well  from their defense.”

Question: With the Harrisons and Young, could Calipari be on the verge of landing the highest rated recruiting class ever?
Biancardi: “As far as ratings go if they land one or two more top recruits, yes it could be his highest rated class. Don’t forget the  2011 class with Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marquis Teague as they were three top ten players and Kyle Wiltjer, who was a top 25 player. They became the best and the highest rated class ever by John Calipari
“Remember ratings are hype  based on potential.  We at ESPN take time to write detailing evaluations which are far more important. We  find out more about recruiting class after they have played in college.”

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  1. King Ghidora

    Talk about waffling. Cal already has 3 top 5 players and the potential to land more in the top 5. Someone is going to want to play the front court for a back court like next year’s team will have. I can see a returning player or two and UK having an incredible team. But at this point Cal is right on the verge of having the highest rated class ever, not just “his” highest rated class ever. I realize that’s a pretty high standard but no team has ever landed 3 of the top 5 so already he has done incredible things. I think Bancardi is slow to give Cal the credit he deserves to be honest. The Fab 5 at Mich. are considered the best recruiting class ever. I think that can easily be topped by UK if they get Randle and possibly Wiggins plus maybe Gordon or some of the other players on their recruiting radar. The fact this guy won’t admit that guy says a lot about him, not Cal. Changing the question to make it about Cal’s best recruiting class was a real dodge IMO.

    1. larryvaught

      Would not shock me to see Marcus Lee added to the UK list this week

      1. TheProfessor

        There has been chatter that Lee has already given that infamous “non-verbal” commitment.

        Time will tell.

    2. ukfan197tone

      Fab 5 was higly rated and were paid very well for that. Good day. :)

  2. Hugh Ward

    When the Super Kitten class of Grevey, Guyette, Lochmueller, Conner, etc. came along, I wondered if UK would ever have a recruiting class similar to that one. Of course, UK has had a lot of great classes since then, and Cal has set a new standard for continuing to recruit highly rated classes. If Lee commits, and Randle decides to commit to complete the front line, this class would be almost impossible to top – except by Cal! UK already has a fantastic backcourt with the Harrisons and Young, now they just need to add to the front line. (Like most UK fans, I always want more!)

  3. King Ghidora

    I’ve been expecting Lee to commit (like everyone else) but he could end up being a reserve possibly. He appears to be a great player but UK has some super talented players on the horizon that I think they will sign that it will become that embarrassment of riches thing we got used to seeing back in the days of Joe B. Yes the Kittens were spectacular and once they finally got rolling they were simply amazing to watch. I guess the most exciting UK game I’ve ever seen was the revenge game against Auburn in 1975. After losing down south to the Tigers the Cats put a 43 point drubbing on them in Lexington. It was 119-76 with Grevey tossing in 37 points. The fans at Memorial went out of their gourds for that game. I’ve never heard any crowd be as loud as that one.

    Joe really lined up some great talent in his time at UK. He didn’t really have to land so much talent in a single year as Cal has to but he brought in some great players anyway. Robey, Phllips, Givens, Lee, and Hall was an excellent class whether they were ranked at the top or not. Then there were classes like Bowie, Hurt, Minniefield and Hord which were all McD All Americans. Hall followed up the next year with Master, Turpin, Beal, and Bearup which were all super players even if Bearup did transfer and Beal got his leg hurt. If he had kept the speed he had before the injury he could have been one of the all time greats. His speed was amazing. He rates right up there with Dwight Anderson, Wall and Rondo IMO when it comes to pure speed. After that Hall didn’t have any single classes that stood out but he certainly kept the shelves stocked with talent. I guess the biggest tribute I ever saw to the total dominance of a team’s talent was when Cincinnati started the trend of playing stall ball against the Cats because they knew they had no chance to win any other way. I’ve been calling it chicken ball for a very long time because that’s what they did – they were scared to play so they ran and hid with the ball. It was pathetic to see them cower like that but at the same time what greater compliment could they pay to the total dominance of UK’s talent?

    UK has loaded up on talent for a very long time IMO. The class with Issel, Casey and Pratt was certainly a tremendous class that should have ended with a championship if not for a broken leg. But here comes Cal threatening to set all new standards even at UK. That is just an amazing thing that he is able to reach that level. And he seems to get better every year. It makes me wonder just how good it can get. But I think he will have a very hard time topping the 2013 class simply because it’s hard to beat perfection. Only Parker seems to be in the way of absolute perfection for this recruiting class and a guy named Wiggins could change that. I don’t know how anyone could possibly ever top what he’s maybe about to do. I don’t even think Cal can do that but he keeps surprising me. We’ll see.

  4. Louisville Kentucky Mortgage

    Calipari is a great recruiter, but also a great coach.

  5. Paul Higdon

    The “Bearup” referred to in King Ghidora’s post was Bret Bearup. I don’t think he transferred from UK. His brother, Todd Bearup, played for UK for awhile and he may have transferred.

    1. King Ghidora

      It was Todd that transferred. My memory is playing tricks on me.

  6. eric stevens

    randle and lee will commit to kentucky soon

  7. Anonymous

    Todd Bearup actually started at Utah St, transferred to KY and then left to BYU

    1. larryvaught

      You are exactly right about Bearup

  8. ukfan197tone

    Gordon is one that I would like to see at UK as well. That kid is a monster.

    1. larryvaught

      Indeed Gordon is but even Cal can’t get them all

      1. UKFAN197TONE

        This is true, nor does he want them all.

  9. LindaS

    Cal can have the pick of the litter and every other coach might as wait until he is done. They can sit and stew, boil and burn until he is done! LOL

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