Kentucky Basketball: Strengths and Weaknesses of 'Cats 2013 Recruiting Class
It may be time to start looking forward to next year for Kentucky basketball fans.
The No. 2 2012 recruiting class (according to ESPN) didn't quite live up to the hype but, then again, neither did any ranked in the top four.
Kentucky has struggled this year, more so than any other season under John Calipari.
Now is a great time to note that rankings do not define a season. How teams and players perform on the court is infinitely more important than the rankings that should be taken as opinion, nothing more.
Take this slideshow of the Wildcats' 2013 recruiting class (which is currently the No. 1 class on ESPN) as such.
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John Calipari has his eye on three more recruits: Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle and Aaron Gordon. The acquisition of any would only further improve the athleticism of the current 2013 class.
Marcus Lee (pictured) is a shot-blocking machine with his length and athleticism.
Aaron and Andrew Harrison are two guards that pride themselves on their physical ability. James Young is an athletic, explosive wing.
Dakari Johnson and Derek Willis may not be oozing athleticism like their future teammates, but both are more-than-capable individuals.
This is a pretty obvious weakness, although what Kentucky lacks in quantity here than more than compensate for in quality, as they boast a class that every other program in the country envies.
But, as it stands, Jarrod Polson could be the No. 2 point guard on the Kentucky depth chart next year. The team may not have a backup center behind Dakari Johnson.
Of course, if multiple players stay after the 2012-13 season, John Calpiari won't have to worry about depth being an issue.
If some (or all) freshmen leave Lexington after this season, depth might be an issue.
Calipari can still add to his roster, though. Wiggins, Randle or Gordon would emphatically cap off the 2013 class.
Five freshmen could start next year for Kentucky: Andrew Harrison, 6'5"; Aaron Harrison, 6'5"; James Young, 6'6" and Marcus Lee, 6'9." Also, Dakari Johnson, 6'10"; Kyle Wiltjer, 6'10"; and Willie Cauley-Stein, 7'0" would be coming off the bench.
Not many teams could match up with that size.
The Harrison twins are known to bully opposing guards with their strength and their size is ideal for the NBA. Keep in mind that they are still teenagers.
Johnson is a force in the paint and Lee has the length to disrupt shots anywhere on the court. Young may be a shooting guard in the NBA someday, but his frame should allow him to play small forward in college.
Lack of perimeter shooters seems to be a recurring theme in Calipari's recruiting classes and is now a growing concern.
James Young and Aaron Harrison are the only real outside threats for the 2013 class, and Young is the only "pure shooter" in the class.
Free throws will almost certainly be an issue.
This year, the lack of a mid-range game has hurt the Wildcats. Archie Goodwin and Alex Poythress might have mid-range ability, but it is rarely seen.
The 2013 class has few weaknesses and the flaws they do have are far from fatal. The class may have weaknesses, but their strengths are so impressive that other traits (shooting, for example) are overshadowed.
James Young (pictured) can play any perimeter position.
Aaron and Andrew Harrison are interchangeable at the guard positions.
Marcus Lee is a combo forward and Dakari Johnson can play power forward beside another big man, in Willie Cauley-Stein, perhaps.
The 2013 recruiting class does not lack versatility. Because of their athleticism and size, switching on defense will be a breeze.
There will always be a mismatch primed for exploitation with this young squad. With talent across the board, few teams will be able to hang with the Wildcats from a talent standpoint.
But will the 2013 class prove their worth on the court? Who will emerge as its leader?
One thing is certain: The 2013-14 basketball season, along with the arrival of these recruits, can't come soon enough for the Kentucky Wildcats.