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By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky has only one verbal commitment in its 2014 recruiting class — New Jersey power forward/center Karl Towns.

Yet perhaps the best indicator that Kentucky coach John Calipari is convinced he can put together an elite recruiting class again is looking at who is not coming to UK, especially since several sources close to Calipari have indicated that UK will likely sign six players in 2014 because of anticipated departures to the NBA.

Start with Angel Delgado, a 6-8 power forward with multiple ties to Kentucky who has committed to Seton Hall. He is a consensus top 50 player. Dana Dingle, one of Calipari’s former players at Massachusetts, is Delgado’s AAU coach. Dingle was also a high school teammate of UK assistant coach Orlando Antigua.

He had offers from Louisville, Miami, Virginia and several others before committing to Seton Hall.

Next there is 6-8 power forward Craig Victor, who committed to Arizona over the weekend.

He’s a top 25 prospect from Louisiana and had UK in his final five even though the Wildcats had not offered a scholarship.
In case you may have forgot, Victor is the player who said during the summer that”Kentucky is America’s team for all high school players. That’s the dream to play at Kentucky.”
He said high school players respect the job Calipari has done developing players and putting them quickly into the NBA. However, he apparently figured out a UK offer was not coming despite his lofty recruiting ranking.
Colorado four-star point guard Josh Perkins, who will play at Huntington (W.Va.) Prep this season, has UK in his final five along with UCLA, Minnesota, Gonzaga and Connecticut. He’s set to make his college choice Sunday, but still has no Kentucky offer.
While ignoring players that good would be puzzling for most schools, it’s not for Calipari and Kentucky.
Most recruiting analysts believe 6-4 Dallas point guard Emmanuel Mudiay, ranked No. 1 in the 2014 recruiting class by one recruiting service, is leaning to UK. He’s athletic, finishes at the rim and has a good mid-range jump shot.
California wing forward Stanley Johnson is a superb shooter from 3-point range who also has a terrific inside game. He’s also a potent rebounder.
Mississippi guard Devin Booker is a shooter/scorer who could play either guard spot.Chicago center Jahlil Okafor,  a top three player, continues to insist he is not a Duke lean and will visit UK in early September.Point guard  Tyus Jones, who wants to play with Okafor and is ranked only slightly behind Mudiay, can get inside to dish and finish shots. He’ll visit UK, too.

Former Indiana commit Trey Lyles, a power forward and top 10 player, will visit UK and might even be a UK lean. Chicago center Cliff Alexnader continues to have UK  high on his list. He was at Big Blue Madness last year and also came to the UK-Florida game.
Texas scorer Kelly Oubre got his scholarship offer in July. He’s not set a visit date.
Rashad Vaughn, a 6-6 wing player who will play at Findlay Prep in Las Vegas with Oubre,  has unlimited shooting range and some think he’s much more interested in UK that he has let on since he has yet to narrow his college choices.

And now there is Indiana guard James Blackmon Jr., the son of former Kentucky player James Blackmon,. He originally committed to Indiana when he was a freshman but has  decided to open his recruitment. He is a prolific shooter and made it known quickly he wanted the offer from UK that he got.

That list of prospects is why having Delgado, Victor and Perkins pick other schools is not seen a problem by Calipari because he believes he’s well positioned still to make another run at a No. 1 recruiting class.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2013/08/17/2771362/cats-recruit-delgado-picks-seton.html#storylink=cpy

10 Responses to Prospects not picking UK actually shows how strong Calipari’s next recruiting class could be

  • Larry Pup says:

    Coach Cal will get er done!

  • LindaS says:

    very interesting…I just thought it wasn’t a big deal no one had committed yet because it was too early…a basketball story, I’m going to have a heart attack! Nah, it’s ok, the excitement for the football program is superfantabulousglorious. Glad the football groupies have something to look forward to now. I hope Mitch has it right this time.

  • King Ghidora says:

    Walking the high wire seems to be a great way to make a living for Cal. My nerves couldn’t take it. If just once he misses out on an entire crop of top recruits and has to pick up whoever he can find it could bring the whole system crashing down. But that hasn’t happened so far and Cal doesn’t even seem to worry that it might. It’s really unbelievable that he has accomplished what he has and he could keep right on doing it for another decade at least.

    Cal may be the best college coach of all time IMO. Sure Wooden won more titles but he cheated. Rupp won more titles too but he had a stable setup at UK for 40 years. Yes Rupp built that situation at UK. But Cal came out of nowhere to conquer the sport in a time when a lot more people pay attention.

  • King Ghidora says:

    BTW I don’t consider coaches like K to be anywhere near the top. His winning percentage is far below Rupp’s and he has had the help of ESPN/ACC for decades. Their constant promotion of all things ACC makes recruiting much easier for him. And IMO Cal has landed more top players just at UK than K has ever landed in his entire career. Dean Smith got more benefit from the ESPN system than anyone. The NCAA gave him a big boost too mainly because there was lots of money to be made in that area. They cake walked him into his first title. Alabama had the Heels beat but the NCAA had other ideas. The Tide was up by 5 I think with about a minute to go when the the calls started getting crazy. UNC was handed the ball at least 5 times on horrible calls in that last minute of that game. UNC came back to tie the game and send it to OT where they won. But that game made the Russian Olympic gold medal game look like it was called by John the Baptist. It was HORRIBLE! UNC had failed to win it all the previous year losing in the title game. The knock on Dean was that he couldn’t win it all despite being a “great” coach. Well the NCAA decided 1982 was their year and they made sure no hick SEC team was going to beat them. So all that crud we hear about how great MJ was at UNC is bunk. Bama had them beaten but UNC got help from the guys in the stripe shirts and they pulled it out. They didn’t deserve that title at all. And if Deano didn’t win that year maybe he would never win and UNC would still be sitting on ONE tournament win like they were at that point.

  • Gene says:

    Normally this type of comment is something I might either disregard completely or simply laugh at and move on. But……………………………….after the Enis Canter debacle and the miserable tournament “seeding” UK saw early in the Calipari years it should be something all of the BBN keep in mind when hearing of the imperial judgments emminating from Emmert’s throne room.
    The ruling on the kid who served his country for four years in the USMC and then being forced, by Emmert fiat, to sit out a year before being declared “eligible” to play in Saint Markie’s hallowed organization has brought the hypocrisy of the NC2A to a head that all should recognize. They (NCAA) have, long ago, outlived their marginal usefulness. They are no more than a money grabbing unit and always have been just that.

  • LindaS says:

    As I have said, botox mark and his band of merry men need to be investigated. I think they sit in their leather massage chairs, smoking $1000 cigars, sipping the most expensive brandy in the world and throw darts to make decisions. They are inconsistent, unfair, liars and have no ethics or integrity. They all need to take a slow boat to the north pole and never come back.

  • grant says:

    If he gets them he gets them , far from the end of the world if he does not.

  • King Ghidora says:

    End of the world? Did you notice how much flak UK caught for last year? What do you think would happen if they went .500 for a season under Cal? I don’t think it would be the end of the world but it would put a big chink in Cal’s armor. I’m sure it would take more than one bad year to bring the program down but there’s a snowball effect with recruiting. We certainly saw that with Smith. He started out recruiting some great players. By the time he was done most top recruits wouldn’t even talk to him. That was the biggest reason he left UK.

    Success breeds more success and failure brings on more failure. That’s how it goes in the world of recruiting. As long as Cal puts players in the NBA he will likely continue to bring in good players. But one real good slip up year and things could change drastically. I’m amazed that he’s able to maintain the level he has anyway. Yes it is UK and the tradition will carry him through several years of sub-par ball but a .500 season could really slow down the Cal train.

    Like the latest and greatest rock stars their fans are a finicky bunch. You can be one top one day and on the bottom the next. The recruits look at coaches like fans do sometimes. If they sense you’re losing your mojo they will look elsewhere. That’s just how it goes with recruiting. How long did it take Donovan to get past his half step to the pros with potential recruits? Has he really done that yet? He was on top of the world until that happened. Now he’s lucky to get a top 20 team on the floor. He’s done well this season but he certainly hasn’t brought in the level of talent he was getting. He won back to back titles but he hasn’t had a really good team since then. Recruiting is a game of momentum and if you lose it you can lose it even more the next year.

  • Kokamo Joe says:

    Calipari was recently named the country’s best recruiter. And why not? He has delivered each year that he has been at UK, at least in the ranking of his recruiting classes. As we know his system is based on getting the best recruits in the country and sending them out the door as soon as possible. Of course, one of these parts of his system depends on the other. We get the excitement of the chase for recruits as this article illustrates and we get to start off each year with an entirely new team and it’s “can they win it all” drama. No other fan base in the country can boast of such excitement. Other programs may have great seasons and even win a national championship, but none can compare with the drama of UK basketball.

    The advantages are obvious. The one downfall of the Calipari system is that we really don’t get to know the players since their stay in Lexington is short. Personally I get around this by concentrating of the program and not the players. In other words I see the Kentucky team is the thing that I pull for. Players are plug ins. They come and they go, but one thing is constant. Talent and the threat to win it all.

  • Kokamo Joe says:

    I have to put Rupp above all other UK coaches. He built the program. He sat the standard. It is true that he did it in another time when Kentucky bred players were often the backbone and before there were special high school basketball factories and there were not AAU championships for 6 year olds.

    I see Calipari’s strength at recruiting. Take away the number one recruiting classes and we might see more seasons like last year. But the recruiting is feeding upon itself and is not likely to change. Rupp built teams. Calipari recruits teams and every year is a rebuilding experience. Both were and are successful. They used different methods. I doubt that Rupp would shine today, and I believe that Calipari would be a decent, but not great coach in Rupp’s day.

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