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.