Kentucky Basketball Recruiting/Roster Update: Possible John Calipari Additions

straitpinkieCorrespondent IApril 2, 2009

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 21:  Head Coach John Calipari of the Memphis Tigers points a finger from the sideline during their second round game against the Maryland Terrapins in the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Sprint Center on March 21, 2009 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Tigers defeated the Terrapins 89-70.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

These are the high school seniors who are either unsigned or former Memphis commitments and signees who will likely be pursued by John Calipari to come to UK.  BIG time players and would likely contribute immediately.

It really is amazing that hiring Coach Cal has moved UK to the top of each of these players’ lists after being an afterthought.

-John Wall(#2 overall according to, #1 point guard)—This is a guy who was a Memphis lean before Calipari. He fits perfectly into Calipari’s dribble drive philosophy and Calipari has two huge selling points (Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans) that he can point to since Wall is likely eyeing the NBA in the 2010 Draft. Bob Gibbons reported at the McDonald’s game last night that Wall is a UK lean and is expected to make a decision next week (beware, this link is to Kentucky Sports Radio…there’s maybe a 50/50 shot the site is up right now). Remember that UK was involved with Wall before seeming to back off, in fact, he was on campus for Midnight Madness, so he likely knows enough about UK to make a decision.

This is the guy I really, really want. If he comes on campus, he’s starting right away at the point. Besides, it’s always nice to steal a kid from out of North Carolina. Duke, Baylor, Miami, and NC State are involved, and they probably thought their chances were boosted by Cal bolting to UK, but will Wall follow Calipari?  I think chances are pretty good.

-Xavier Henry(#4 overall, #1 shooting guard)—Xavier plays on the AAU team Athletes First in Oklahoma, and it’s likely coming down to Kansas or Kentucky, for both. Henry’s dad is a former Jayhawk, and his brother, CJ, is a former Yankees minor leaguer who walked on at Memphis. He spoke Tuesday at the McDonald’s All-American game, and he represents himself very well.

He signed with Memphis, but his LOI had an addendum that freed him if Calipari left, so he can go anywhere he wants. The scholarship situation is tough, but this is a kid that you make room for. A lot of UK fans are getting visions of Ron Mercer watching him. He’s more of a scorer than a shooter, and would look REALLY good splitting time with Meeks, Hood, and Miller at the 2 and 3. Wow. In the end though, I think he ends up at Kansas, but if UK gets him on campus (which is a possibility) look out.

-DeMarcus Cousins (#6 overall, #2 center)—The Mobile, Alabama native committed to Coach Cal at Memphis, but had not yet signed a Letter of Intent. If you saw the McDonald’s game you saw what kind of player he is. He’ll make an immediate impact wherever he goes. He is listed as a center, but I see him as more of a power forward at the college level. He has ball skills and can play with facing basket or with his back to the hoop. He is not the defensive presence that Daniel Orton is, but he likely fits better into Calipari’s offense. Part of me thinks that it’s going to be one or the other between Orton and Cousins, not both, but we’ll see.

He said during the McDonald’s game that he would think about college after enjoying the game and had not yet spoken with Calipari. He previously committed to home state UAB, and could entirely reopen his recruitment now (Kansas State and Washington have been mentioned…random). I don’t think Coach Cal’s decision has really sunk in for him, and we’ll know more next week once he has some time to think.

-Nolan Dennis(#46 overall, #10 shooting guard)—This is another kid who was a Memphis signee, who now can look elsewhere. He’s coming to the Derby Festival Classic and his name was the first, to be brought up as possibly following Coach Cal. However, I would be very surprised to see him at UK next year. Like I said, roster spots are hard to come by, and I just don’t think the space is there. He’s a nice player, but he’ll likely end up elsewhere.

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