By LARRY VAUGHT
Today could turn out to be a really important recruiting day for Kentucky coach John Calipari.
Jeff Goodman reported that Calipari would be visiting Terrence Clarke, a top three player in the 2021 class who not only will make his college choice later this week but could also be reclassifying to the 2020 class.
National recruiting analyst Jake Weingarten of Stockrisers reported that Calipari and assistant coach Kenny Payne would also have an in-home visit with four-star senior forward Lance Ware today. Weingarten also reported that Calipari visited five-stars Cade Cunningham and Scottie Barnes today even though UK is not perceived to be the leader for either elite 2020 prospect.
The 6-6 Clarke obviously is the immediate concern because this week he’ll announce for either Boston College, Memphis, Duke, Texas Tech, UCLA or Kentucky even though many feel he’s a strong UK lean. Clark is a top three player in the 2021 class and from what I have seen will be no worse than a top five player in the 2020 class if he does reclassify.
“He’s (currently) a top three prospect in his class for a reason,” said Krysten Peek.
What about the feeling that if Clarke picks UK it might cost the Cats a chance to get top five 2020 guards Jalen Green and Josh Christopher? Kentucky already has a 2020 commitment from B.J. Boston and could also have several guards returning next year off this season’s team.
“If Clarke reclassifies and commits to Kentucky, that pretty much ends things for Jalen Green and Josh Christopher with Green most likely ending up at Memphis and Christopher landing at either UCLA or Missouri,” Peek said. “Can the three of them co-exist on the same team with B.J. Boston? Sure. Would Calipari take all three? In a heartbeat. I just don’t see it happening.”
Ware is a 6-9, 220-pound power forward from New Jersey. With the way Kentucky has missed on power forward/center recruiting targets the last few classes, landing Ware could be a big boost to the 2020-21 Cats.
With the success Calipari has had with Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Karl-Anthony Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein, Julius Randle and others, why is he now having trouble consistently landing top bigs?
“I think the problem coach Cal is running into with recruiting bigs is he already has so many talented guards on the team and forwards/centers are worried about touches on offense,” Peek said. “It’s a head scratcher, especially when you’ve seen Kentucky’s track record with NBA bigs.
“That being said, Kentucky looks to be in a good spot with four-star forward Lance Ware, so the drought could be ending soon with the possible addition of Ware and (verbal commit) Cam’Ron Fletcher coming in for the 2020 class.”