By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky coach John Calipari has indicated he wants to sign six players in 2014 because of expected early defections to the NBA again.
Despite the loss over the weekend of point guard Emmanuel Mudiay to SMU, he’s already got a good start with 7-foot Karl Towns of New Jersey, a consensus top 10 prospect in the 2014 class who has a wide array of skills and potential.
Kentucky seems well positioned with Indianapolis power forward Trey Lyles and is now a player for Indiana shooting guard James Blackmon. Both were Indiana commits at one time before re-opening their recruitment.
California small forward Stanley Johnson, like Lyles, is a consensus top 10 player. He was the first small forward in the 2014 class Calipari offered and doesn’t seem deterred by offers Calipari recently made to five-star Houston area small forwards Justise Winslow and Kelly Oubre. B
Johnson doesn’t plan to sign until the spring, but could give a verbal commitment sooner. He has Florida, Arizona, USC, Kansas, Oregon and UCLA on his final list with UK and most recruiting analysts think it will come down to UK or Arizona.
And don’t forget Mississippi shooting guard Devin Booker and Chicago centers Jahlil Okafor and Cliff Alexander. Plus, Calipari had already offered Chicago point guard Tyler Ulis before Mudiay picked SMU.
Calipari has been so successful recruiting that losing Andrew Wiggins to Kansas last spring and now Mudiay to SMU could indicate a dent in his recruiting prowess to some. And there’s no way any coach can land six McDonald’s All-Americans again like Calipari did in this star-studded recruiting class that is now all on campus with the arrival of James Young along with twins Aaron and Andrew Harrison.
Losing Mudiay was a surprise, but it won’t be the end of Calipari’s recruiting success.