John Calipari has taken Kentucky basketball recruiting to a new level since he arrived in Lexington, and if Andrew Wiggins picks the Wildcats, the 2013 class will be Calipari’s best.
Wiggins, a 6’7” wing originally from Canada, has been named the 2013 Naismith Prep Player of the Year, and he is the top high school player in the country according to every outlet who covers recruiting. Right now, Wiggins is considering Kentucky, Florida State, North Carolina and Kansas.
Here are Kentucky’s five biggest selling points for Andrew Wiggins.
When it comes to college basketball tradition, Kentucky is second to none. The Wildcats are first all-time in wins, winning percentage and NCAA tournament wins, and they are second only to UCLA with eight national championships.
At Kentucky, the players are treated like rock stars, and Rupp Arena will be filled for every game as well as Big Blue Madness. While there is a lot of pressure playing in front of Big Blue Nation, no fanbase in the country is more loyal to its team and players.
John Calipari has put together some historic recruiting classes since arriving in Lexington, but if Wiggins picks the Wildcats, this class might top them all. Brothers Aaron and Andrew Harrison as well as James Young anchor a recruiting class that currently has five players among the top 20 high school players in the country.
Then there is the possibility of adding that recruiting class to the returning players. Kyle Wiltjer and Ryan Harrow will be juniors and effective role players. If any of the freshmen decide to return, particularly Willie Cauley-Stein, then Kentucky will be absolutely loaded in 2014.
Ever since the one-and-done rule was implemented by the NBA, there was a notion that it would not be possible to win a national title with a bunch of freshmen leading a team. However, that now looks foolish after what Kentucky accomplished last season, winning a championship with a 38-2 record.
Even without Wiggins, Kentucky would be one of the favorites to cut down the nets in 2014. With Wiggins, the Wildcats could have the potential to be one of the more dominant teams in recent memory.
After Calipari's first three years at Kentucky, the Wildcats have had an astonishing 15 players selected in the NBA draft. Of those 15, 11 have gone in the first round and seven were lottery picks.
Now, the majority of those players would have been NBA draft picks no matter where they decided to go to college. However, Calipari’s players have shown they are ready for the NBA once they do get there, as evidenced by the fact that two of the last four NBA Rookie of the Year winners played under Calipari (Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans).
No one has shown the ability to coach one-and-done players better than John Calipari. He does not coddle his players, and he has shown on multiple occasions (Terrence Jones in 2011, Archie Goodwin this year, etc.) that he is not afraid to give his players a little tough love.
Despite the stereotypes of Calipari being strictly a recruiter, he gets his players to play as hard as anyone in the country. His teams are consistently among the best in the nation in defensive efficiency, ranking in the top 15 seven of the last eight years, according to KenPom.com. Offensively, Calipari runs a system that allows for everyone to contribute and make his mark.
If Wiggins commits to Kentucky, Calipari will get the best out of him.