Nerlens Noel and Shabazz Muhammad Would Make Kentucky the No. 1 Class. Again
Nerlens Noel. Shabazz Muhammad. The No. 1 and No. 2 ranked college basketball prospects (according to ESPNU) could be the next highly touted recruits to play for Coach Cal and Big Blue. The idea of signing both Noel and Muhammad has to ease the minds of Kentucky fans, who will likely watch NBA teams select their fabulous freshman forwards Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in the lottery portion of this year's draft. Noel, a 6'10" shot-blocking machine and the No. 1 ranked center, and Muhammad, a versatile 6'6" small forward who is an elite scorer and tenacious defender, would go a long way in reloading the roster and replacing Davis and Kidd-Gilchrist.
Although both Noel and Muhammad are currently undecided, both players have Kentucky firmly within their top three schools. Noel is also considering Georgetown and Syracuse, while Muhammad is looking at UCLA and Duke. And while many highly ranked players will choose not to go to the same school so they can each be "the guy" on "their team," the idea that both could end up at Kentucky shouldn't surprise anyone, given John Calipari's past recruiting successes.
In fact, since becoming the head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats in 2009, Coach Calipari has locked up the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation each of the past three years. In 2009, he signed four of the top 25 recruits, including the No. 1 and No. 2 recruits in PG John Wall and C Demarcus Cousins. In 2010, Coach Cal matched his 2009 success by again signing four of the top 25 recruits, headlined by PF/C Enes Kanter and PG Brandon Knight. In 2011, Coach Cal had his best class yet, with three top 10 recruits: PF Anthony Davis, SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and PG Marquis Teague and a fourth in the top 25 (according to Rivals.com).
As it stands, Kentucky's 2012 class is comparatively weak when viewed in the context of the past three classes and is currently ranked as low as the 20th-best by some recruiting publications. But don't cry for Kentucky. The Wildcats have received commitments from 4-Star center Willie Cauley and 5-Star recruits Archie Goodwin (shooting guard) and Alex Poythress (small forward/power forward) though none of them are ranked in the top 10. Adding Noel and Muhammad would give Kentucky the headliners that this class lacks.
Many have pegged the Wildcats as the favorites to land both Noel and Muhammad. Both players have stated that they will announce their decisions on April 11th. Additionally, PF Anthony Bennett, another 5-Star top-10 recruit has Kentucky on his final list of five schools. If Calipari, who has proven that he is a wizard when it comes to recruiting, can work his magic to land Noel, Muhammad and Bennett, the "Super Six" would replace the Fab Five as the greatest recruiting class of all time.
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