Kentucky Basketball: Ranking the Biggest Recruiting Needs for 2014 Class
John Calipari doesn't craft perfect recruiting classes each season. Epitomized this season, Kentucky basketball struggles when certain needs are not filled.
Players leave every year, but with Calipari's recruiting style, great players leave after each season.
The struggles of the 2012 recruiting class have been well documented. With an epic 2013 recruiting class all but wrapped up, the Big Blue Nation may be looking forward to next season.
As the 2013 recruiting class comes to a close in the coming months, Calipari's focus will quickly shift to the 2014 class, where he already has one 5-star commitment.
Here are my rankings for the Wildcats' recruiting needs for 2014.
5. Low-Post Scorer
Dakari Johnson, Marcus Lee and Derek Willis are all post players in Kentucky's 2013 recruiting class. Karl Towns, the No. 5 prospect in the ESPN 60, will be in the fold in 2014.
Add Willie Cauley-Stein (who would be a junior in 2014) and Kyle Wiltjer (senior in 2014), and John Calipari could have a surprisingly deep frontcourt in two years.
That said, Cauley-Stein could leave after this season. Johnson and Lee, depending on how their season goes, could both leave for the NBA as well.
Which means Towns, Willis and Wiltjer will likely be in Lexington in 2014. An additional big man would be ideal.
Jahlil Okafor, Trey Lyles and Cliff Alexander (ordered by rank) are all post players that have received scholarship offers from Kentucky.
With Towns' commitment, however, the Wildcats do not have a dire need in the post.
4. Perimeter Shooter
Kyle Wiltjer will be in town, but what other shooters will be on the Kentucky roster in 2014?
James Young and Aaron Harrison, members of the 2013 class, have NBA range.
But their NBA talents could be with an NBA team in 2014, which means Kentucky would need a perimeter shooter.
Karl Towns has shown range from 20-plus feet in high school, but relying on two big men for spacing is not a recipe for success.
Rashad Vaughn may be the best catch-and-shoot perimeter player in the 2014 class, and Stanley Johnson is another strong wing scorer. Both would fill a perimeter need for the Wildcats in 2014.
3. Point Guard
If he stays in school, Ryan Harrow will be a senior when the 2014 recruiting class comes to Lexington.
That's a pretty big "if".
Harrow has struggled this season at the point. Next year, Andrew Harrison will (likely) be the Kentucky starting point guard. There will be more competition for Harrow, which means he may not stick around for two more years.
Regardless of who stays in school, the 2014 class has two elite point guard talents. Believe it or not, both of these guards have Kentucky on their list.
Tyus Jones and Emmanuel Mudiay are No. 2 and No. 3 overall in the ESPN 60. Jones is more of a finesse guard compared to Mudiay's brute strength.
Both have the leadership qualities that John Calipari needs in his point guards.
2. Glue Guy
The lack of a "glue guy" has proven to be a hole in the 2012 recruiting class.
Kentucky, however talented, needs a "do-it-all" player that provides grit to a team composition.
Darius Miller filled that role to perfection for three seasons in Lexington, and his graduation left a hole that has not been filled.
A member of the 2013 recruiting class (Marcus Lee comes to mind) could evolve into a "glue guy." If one does not emerge (or if they leave for the NBA), Kentucky will need to fill that role.
Theo Pinson and Leron Black, two top small forwards in the 2014 class, could be what Kentucky needs.
It was John Wall in 2009-10. It was Brandon Knight in 2010-11. It was Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in 2011-12. Darius Miller was a leader as well.
This year, it was Nerlens Noel. But he was hardly a leader for the entire season, and he wasn't a leader like his aforementioned predecessors.
Depending on who stays and who leaves in the coming years will determine just how important it will be for John Calipari to add a "leader" to the 2014 class.
But if this season is any indication, a leader is needed. Calipari teams will always be young, and young players need guidance from one of their peers.
Who knows? Karl Towns may fill that role.
Kentucky needs a leader every year.