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Kentucky Basketball: 6 Recruits Coach Calipari Must Shift His Attention to

Colin KennedyFeatured ColumnistOctober 3, 2012

Kentucky Basketball: 6 Recruits Coach Calipari Must Shift His Attention to

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    An eighth NCAA Tournament title for the University of Kentucky helped secure yet another top recruiting class for 2012. However, with the current squad set, it is time for Coach Calipari to shift his attention toward 2013. 

    Jabari Parker continues to move out of Lexington's picture, and the Harrison twins are set to make their decision this Thursday according to a tweet from Jeff Ermann of insidemdsports

    So with just more than a month until the college basketball season kicks off, a handful of other premier high school players continue to ponder if Lexington is the right fit for them. 

    Calipari's recruiting skills are second to none. His ability to attract NBA-ready players to Kentucky has made the Wildcats a national championship contender since his arrival in 2009. 

    No. 1 overall prospects such as Brandon Knight and Anthony Davis can attest to that fact, and the first round of the 2012 draft exemplified Calipari's ability to recruit and fashion NBA talent. 

    As two of the country's top ten prospects, Andrew and Aaron Harrison would be a huge addition to Kentucky's 2013 class without question. 

    But will their decision make or break Calipari's product? 

    Here are six other players that should attract much of his attention in the coming months.

Aaron Gordon

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    As California's top prospect, it might be a stretch to suggest Aaron Gordon will leave the West Coast to play at Kentucky. 

    But if anyone can convince him to leave home for Lexington, it is Coach Calipari. 

    The 6'7" power forward has drawn comparisons to Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin because of his raw athleticism and ability to finish at the rim. 

    Additionally, solid fundamentals have helped the California product become a consensus top-10 recruit. 

    As of now, Gordon's first choice appears to be the University of Washington; however, the decision to use one of his five official visits on Kentucky could be a good sign for the Wildcats. 

Julius Randle

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    A freakish combination of size, skill and athleticism has made Julius Randle the No. 1 recruit in the country according to Rivals.com

    The Texas native stands as one of Coach Cal's top targets for the class of 2013. But other powerhouse schools, including Kansas, Florida and Texas, also seek Randle's services. 

    At 6'8" and 235 pounds, the small forward from Prestonwood Christian Academy already possess the NBA-ready body that Kentucky constantly recruits. 

    An official visit to Lexington in September makes many think that the Wildcats are a favorite to land Randle.

    But with as many as five other teams interested and several months to decide, Coach Calipari still has some work to do. 

Jermaine Lawrence

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    Kentucky is one of seven schools on Jermaine Lawrence's list of potential suitors. 

    The only problem? 

    Lawrence hasn't yet made Kentucky's list. 

    As the Wildcats await the decision of Julius Randle, among others, they haven't extended a scholarship to one of New York's most highly touted prospects at this point. 

    The 6'9" combo-forward has received offers from every other team on his list; however, an invitation from Kentucky may hinge on decisions from their other targets. 

    Lawrence's versatility and combination of post and perimeter play have him in the top 20 on nearly every scouting board.

    His length and athleticism have created comparisons to former Wildcat Terrence Jones.

    The Queens native won't make his decision until the spring according to Cats Illustrated. But if Coach Calipari knows what is best for him and his team, he will make an effort to keep Lawrence around as an alternative if Julius Randle goes elsewhere. 

Marcus Lee

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    Marcus Lee has narrowed his options down to three schools. At the moment, I would think the hometown choice—the University of California—tops a short list, which also includes Louisville and Kentucky. 

    But the Wildcats have extended a scholarship offer to the California native, and a recent in-home visit from Coach Calipari leads many to believe Kentucky may be inching closer. 

    Lee's love for defense makes the 6'9" power forward a perfect fit for Coach Cal's style of play, and his passing abilities are extremely rare for someone his size. 

    Fans of the Wildcats must hope that an official visit to Lexington for Big Blue Madness next weekend sways Lee in Kentucky's favor. 

James Young

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    As another consensus top-10 prospect, James Young figures to take his time in deciding between five premier schools. 

    Michigan State, Kansas, Arizona and Syracuse are also in contention for Young's services and each has already extended a scholarship offer. 

    At 6'6", the guard/forward from Michigan stands as one of the premier perimeter players in the nation for his class. 

    An NBA-ready jump shot and solid ball-handling skills make Young the prototypical one-and-done type player that Kentucky has become famous for landing.

    None of the five schools have been established as a clear favorite for Young's signature at this point, but you know Coach Calipari will be doing everything he can to ensure the Wildcats recruit one of the nation's most highly touted players.  

Kennedy Meeks

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    Kennedy Meeks' size and skill set makes him one of the more unique recruits in all of the country.

    A 6'9", 297-pound frame has caused some positional confusion among coaches, but Meeks has solidified himself as one of the nation's premier centers because of his sensational rebounding ability. 

    Plenty of teams have expressed interest in the Charlotte, NC native. No fewer than 18 Division 1 schools have offered him a scholarship.

    But Kentucky stands as one of the favorites among teams such as UNC, Georgetown and Florida. 

    Though his height and weight might be an issue at the NBA level, it should serve as an asset in the NCAA. 

    Above-average passing abilities and post-play has made Meeks the top-ranked center according to ESPN.

    Only time will tell if Lexington will house Kennedy Meeks in 2013, but the Wildcats have to like their chances with Coach Calipari at the helm. 

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