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Don’t worry about recruiting rankings, Calipari’s Cats will be fine

Keion Brooks could be a steal for Kentucky.  (USA Basketball Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

During John Calipari’s years at Kentucky, star-studded recruiting classes have been the norm. That’s why only at Kentucky could it seem a “down” year when UK’s highest ranked signee in the 2019 recruiting class is No. 10 Tyrese Maxey, a point guard.

The top 100 prospects in the 2019 recruiting class were ranked by 247Sports Monday.

Maxey actually moved up to two spots after averaging 22.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.7 steals per game for South Garland (Texas) last season. The 6-3 Maxey was a consensus All-American and played in four high profile all-star postseason games.

From what I’ve seen, I can’t imagine a program in the country that would not be thrilled to have Maxey.
Kahlil Whitney dropped out of the top 10 to No. 11 despite averaging 19.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.1 steals per game for Roselle (New Jersey) Catholic. He was a McDonald’s All-American, co-most valuable player at the Iverson Classic after scoring 38 points and Jordan Brand Classic participant.

He’s a 6-6 athletic whiz who draws praise for his “dog” mentality.

I think the real steal of UK’s recruiting class may turn out to be five-star win Keion Brooks, who came in No. 14 in the rankings after averaging 20.1 points and 7.5 rebounds per game La Lumiere (Ind.) — the team that reached the GEICO High School Nationals final game. Brooks scored 15 points in the Jordan Brand Classic on April 20 in Las Vegas and 25 in the Iverson Classic on April 26.

Then don’t forget Kentucky Mr. Basketball Dontaie Allen of Pendleton County, who was averaging 42.9 points and 14.2 rebounds per game before he went out with a season-ending knee injury in December but still moved up to No. 91 in the final rankings.

Throw in grad transfer Nate Sestina and then I think No. 30 Johnny Juzang and UK’s class looks even better.

But don’t worry. When the season starts, Calipari always has a loaded roster and even if next year’s team might not be as highly regarded as some others starting out, I have a feeling Calipari is really going to like this roster.

 

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  1. Krzyshitski proved that an exemplary recruiting class does not guarantee a championship.

  2. Don’t worry about recruiting? It’s bad enough that Coach K was able to give Cal a “in your face” for his recruiting success,and now Penny comes out of no where and repeats the act.

  3. The whole recruit ranking system is mostly a complete joke…CBS and especially ESPN! IMO, “Click Bait” pretty much sums up this whole process. Coach K has been getting all the pub and has done nothing outstanding with the overall #1 class the last two years, and now we’ll get to see if Penny is worth all the uproar. Can hardly wait to see how Cal closes out the 2019 class.

    1. Ditto hfb.

    2. I enjoy the recruiting wars, especially when Cal beats Krzyshitski :-)))

  4. Mike, if you think coach K is out master coach Cal in recruiting sure has not add any more rings to his fingers

  5. I think it is fair to say that Coach K does an excellent job when he has experienced players, however, he has earned and deserves the title of, “he just rolls the ball out on the court” with one and dones! Coach Cal is uneqivicabably “The Master” of one and dones-IMHO, nobody does it better!

    1. Can’t really prove it, but I personally think Coach K (Duke) and UNC both cheat They just have not been caught yet. You are right hfb, Calipari is the master of recruiting top basketball talent to UK, he plays second fiddle to no one.

      1. Pup you are right about them cheating, UNC was caught redhanded and the NCAA said they didn’t care. It would be the same for Duke…CBS would do all it could to make Duke dirt disappear.
        The problem we have is not having talent…its been not getting the most from that talent. Travis was a better post player than PJ, but the offense was geared to PJ instead. Travis showed he was the better player when PJ got hurt. PJ never brought it for 40 minutes in any game and we came up short because of it. There was no way we should have lost to Auburn, especially with their starting big man out, but we did. Cal just isn’t an X and O tactician.

        1. Yes, UNC cheated for decades, but nothing happened. On the rest of your post, I say whatever! What will you say when Calipari wins No. 9 in the 2019-20 season.

          1. Pup, I would be so happy that I would kiss you. If we can get Blackshear, that could be within the realm of possibilities, especially if Nick and EJ come back and improve their games. I really don’t understand what has happened to Cal. He was a hell of a coach at UMass and Memphis. Of course, in those schools he was coaching to win. He had to since he didn’t have the talent that he has here. Now he has this philosophy of getting kids into the NBA over winning for the program. He focuses on one or two kids at the expense of the others. That has cost us a minimum of 2 national titles. That is why I am down on Cal.

  6. Very little doubt in my mind that shoe company money, and ESPN/CBS/NCAA control of media and unfair disciplinarian tactics give the ACC teams an advantage…really nothing new here. All the click bail about Cal losing his recruiting edge gets shot to hell and back when you realize that recruits like Edwards, Anthony, and Hampton, who rank higher than some of our recruits, would never fit Cal’s team system…they all have to be “the man”, just like R. J. Barrett at Duke, and we all saw what happened in that scenario. I fell in love with Wiseman, Lewis, Steward, Tshiebue, but it wasn’t to be…they all ended up at different university, but i’m blown away with the potential TEAM TALENT that Cal has in Brooks, Whitney, Allen, Maxey and hopefully, Juzany. If we end up getting Mcdanell, and Blackshear, I’m simply going to be ecstatic…someone, anyone, show me a better haul than this for 2019…lost his recruiting edge, your arse!

  7. Getting old, forgot to mention Nate Sestina…a real gem!

  8. Guy’s if he gets Johnny Juzang today and McDaniel down the road we won’t be having this discussion . The word is we got them both, so the team is built to make a run for no.9

  9. For those who may be suffering with Acute CDS…
    When it’s all said and done, Cal may end up with the #1 Class.
    FINGERS CROSSED x

    1. Tell em Hornet!!

  10. Its a solid class. Juzang and Brooks will be stars. Sestina and Maxey will be solid. Dontaie Allen is the wildcard in this group. If he is fully recovered from his knee injury, he could be a difference maker. Whitney will be on the All Hustle team but needs to work on his shooting. If Immanuel gets better at the 2 spot as a backup and EJ and Nick can combine for 15 and 10, we will be competitive even without McDaniels or Blackshear. I look for Hagans to go the way of Qudre Green, so Immanuel will see time as a backup 1 too…unless Cal tries to let Brad have a shot at that.

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