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By LARRY VAUGHT
Once center Dakari Johnson put Kentucky in his list of final three schools, ESPN national director of recruiting Paul Biancardi (@paulbiancardi) knew there was a great chance he would pick the Wildcats over Georgetown and Syracuse.
“More often then not when they are a finalist, they are the favorite,” said Biancardi. “When you look at the rest of the Kentucky class, Johnson fits so well because he is so different. As one of the final pieces to this massive and extremely talented class, Johnson will have as much as he can handle of producing in the paint with (signee) Marcus Lee.”
Lee is one of the five players who signed with Kentucky in November and will join Johnson as part of what Biancardi says is already guaranteed to be another No. 1 recruiting class for coach John Calipari whether UK does or does not add Andrew Wiggins and/or Julius Randle, the top two players in the 2013 recruiting class who may now both be leaning to the Wildcats. Randle should make his choice in the next two weeks while Wiggins will likely decide early in April.
Biancardi says rebounding in the strength of Johnson’s game.
“Although he is improving on the inside, by catching the ball and scoring with an angle to the rim, he rebounds regardless of how he is scoring the ball,” Biancardi said. “The first way to get the fast break going is to secure the defensive board, which he will provide. His rebounding on the offensive end will provide second chance points for himself and his team.”
Biancardi says no one but Wiggins or Randle can really know how Johnson’s commitment could impact their feeling about UK, but he says from his point of view it can only help.
“Every championship team needs a center to enhance the perimeter game,” Binacardi said. “As for Wiggins, it would give him a presence in the paint when it comes to rebounding, changing and or blocking shots, as well as being a legit scoring threat to open the floor. For Randle, it would allow him to roam more at the high post and collectively be a front court force with Johnson.”