5-star PF Anthony Davis
5-star SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
5-star PG Marquis Teague
5-star PF Kyle Wiltjer
The best class of 2011 belonged to a familiar team- the University of Kentucky. Head coach John Calipari inked the school's third consecutive top-ranked recruiting class by building on the momentum of his two previous groups of freshmen.
This group featured just as many five-star prospects as the 2009 and 2010 classes, but there was something more special about this group. From the moment that they stepped foot on campus, the freshmen proclaimed that they would lead the Wildcats to a national title. Once the season started, they proved that they were not kidding.
The trio of Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marquis Teague started for the 2011-12 squad, joining returning sophomores Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb. Meanwhile, Kyle Wiltjer played a key role off the bench and quickly became one of the team's best three-point threats.
The young Wildcats steamrolled through the regular season, only losing one game and posting a perfect 16-0 record in the Southeastern Conference. This feat had not been accomplished since the 2003 team pulled it off under head coach Tubby Smith.
Along the way, the freshmen led Kentucky to victories over Louisville, North Carolina, Kansas and Florida, all of whom ended up reaching the Elite Eight during the 2012 NCAA Tournament. This experience against top-flight competition gave the Wildcats an edge that saw them buzz saw their way through March Madness and reach the 2012 Final Four in New Orleans.
Led by Anthony Davis and senior Darius Miller, Kentucky then won the "Game of the Century" when they squared off against the Louisville Cardinals in the Final Four. Davis then put together another strong defensive performance in the national championship game, along with fellow freshmen Kidd-Gilchrist and Teague. Kentucky won the national title by defeating Bill Self's Kansas Jayhawks team.
This group of freshmen tied a NCAA record by winning 38 games during the season. Meanwhile, Anthony Davis won every award imaginable and is set to become the first overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. In fact, he will be joined by fellow freshmen teammates Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marquis Teague, all of whom are expected to go in the first round.
Meanwhile, Kyle Wiltjer chose to remain at Kentucky and play a bigger role next season. All four of these players seem to have been great commitments for the Kentucky program and have a bright future ahead of them.