LEXINGTON, Ky. – On April 1, 2009, at his introductory press conference as the Kentucky men’s basketball head coach, John Calipari told the world, “I’m here because I can recruit the best of the best.”
He’s kept his promise.
Now 10 seasons into the job, Calipari has delivered yet again with another heralded recruiting class. For the 11th straight year, Calipari and his staff have signed a consensus top-three class. The Recruiting Services Consensus Index, which tallies major recruiting rankings and plugs them into a formula to calculate a consensus ranking, rated UK’s 2019 class the second best in the country.
UK has ranked in the top three in all 11 seasons under Calipari in the RSCI rankings.
The 2019 class consists of guard Tyrese Maxey (No. 10), forward Kahlil Whitney (No. 11), forward Keion Brooks (No. 24), guard Johnny Juzang (No. 34), guard Dontaie Allen (No. 92) and forward Brennan Canada (unranked walk-on). The individual player rankings are RSCI rankings and do not include Bucknell transfer Nate Sestina, widely regarded as one of the top graduate transfers for the upcoming season.
Five of UK’s six players in the signing class are considered consensus four- or five-star prospects. Two (Brooks and Maxey) were McDonald’s All Americans and three (Brooks, Maxey and Whitney) played in the Jordan Brand Classic.
The RSCI includes individual player rankings from all of the major recruiting services, which this season featured Rivals, ESPN, 247Sports and longtime recruiting analyst Van Coleman. The RSCI formula uses each of those services’ rankings (only the top 100) players to assign a point value to each recruit. Using the point totals for all the five major services, it then adds the totals for all players in a class for the team’s final score.
Kentucky’s heralded signing class will certainly be put into action in 2019-20. UK will once again have to reload its roster with PJ Washington, Tyler Herro, Keldon Johnson and Reid Travis all eligible for the 2019 NBA Draft.
Forwards Nick Richards and EJ Montgomery are also available for the draft but have not ruled out the possibility of returning to Kentucky. They have until May 29 – 10 days after the NBA Draft Combine – to make a final decision.
Regardless of what Richards and Montgomery decide, the Wildcats are slated to lose their top four scorers, top four rebounders and top three 3-point shooters from the 2018-19 squad that went to the Elite Eight.
With another highly regarded signing class, Kentucky has signed 53 top-50 recruits, 44 top-25 players and 24 top-10 players (according to Rivals) in Calipari’s 11 recruiting classes at Kentucky.