Kentucky Recruiting: How Much Hope Is John Calipari Placing in the 2013 Class?

Matt OveringContributor IIIJune 16, 2012

The man with a plan, John Calipari.
The man with a plan, John Calipari.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

In Cal we trust.

The motto of the Big Blue Nation is often referred to when head coach John Calipari makes a questionable recruiting decision. Chances are, Calipari has a larger design at work when he doesn't go after a prospect, or sends a scholarship to a more unheralded recruit.

One recent case where Kentucky fans might have questioned Calipari's recruiting tactics was with Montrezl Harrell. He was seen as a potentially great addition to the 2012 recruiting class, but Kentucky expressed preliminary interest and no more. Now, Harrell is with in-state rival Louisville.

We don't know what exactly went on during the recruitment, but Calipari didn't see Harrell as a fit in Lexington. While some people, myself included, thought Harrell would be a great fit behind Kyle Wiltjer at power forward, Calipari clearly did not.

Derek Willis is a great example of an "unheralded" recruit that Calipari has landed. He won't be one-and-done, and I doubt he'll be a McDonald's All-American. But Calipari has kept his scholarship offer on the table, making Willis the only Kentucky recruit for the 2013 class thus far. He may be the first Calipari recruit that is ranked outside of the top 100.

Calipari knows what he is doing. Harrell could help this year, but chances are he'd continue to split playing time with incoming freshmen. Willis, on the other hand, may be more willing to split time. Not to mention, every Kentucky team needs a home-grown project to cheer for.

What appears consistent in Calipari's recruiting is one thing: he's focused on the future. The 2013 class could be one of the best ever. Jeff Borzello of says Kentucky could wind up with four of the top eight players in the class. 

That'd be nice.

But what if, in some wild scenario, Calipari misses out on these top recruits? Kentucky fans may mock that very idea, but it is a possibility. Calipari has, and always will, bank on landing top recruits every year.

It seems like 2013 may be a special year for Kentucky recruiting. A game in Cowboys Stadium for the 2013-14 season caters to top Texas prospects like Julius Randle, Aaron Harrison and Andrew Harrison. 

Playing in larger venues is exactly what Calipari wants. Not only does it help the team prepare for domed games in the SEC and NCAA tournaments, but it also helps him recruit. He can now sell to the Harrison twins a game in their home state that may set a record for attendance.

That is what is riding on the 2013 class. Playing at Cowboys Stadium is nice, but it would be much nicer with (at least) two Texas natives playing in Kentucky Blue.