Kentucky Basketball: Analyzing Each 2013 Recruit's High School Senior Season
If Kentucky's top six recruits for the class of 2013 bring their high school games to Lexington, the NCAA needs to watch out, as 40-0 could be a real possibility.
We've all heard of the individual talent of each player, but the other thing this class is bringing to Kentucky is a championship gene. Each recruit played deep into their state championships, and in some cases, brought the gold home.
We'll take a look at the seasons of Marcus Lee, Dakari Johnson, Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, Julius Randle and James Young, and what they will be bringing to the Wildcats in 2013-14.
Out of the six major recruits for Kentucky, Marcus Lee might be the most overlooked due to his quiet personality and lowest class ranking, coming in at No. 18 according to Rivals.com. However, that's not to see Lee did not dominate the 2012-13 season at Deer Valley High School in California.
The 6'9" power forward averaged a mind-blowing 19.2 rebounds per game to go along with 17.9 points per game and 6.9 blocks. He also helped lead Deer Valley to the NorCal finals, where it lost 73-60 to Pleasant Grove.
Lee was always known for his shot-blocking capability, as he averaged nine per game as a junior and showed his ability to be a two-way player during his senior year. Lee upped his scoring per game by almost five points and rebounds by over six per game.
Lee grew into his body and became one of the more athletic big men in the 2013 class. Expect him to be a more polished Nerlens Noel when he puts on the Kentucky jersey. He possesses the same defensive skills that Noel did and can score easier than Noel.
Dakari Johnson had the best season out of the six recruits from a team angle. His Montverde Academy team won the National High School Invitational on Saturday thanks to a buzzer-beating three by teammate Jalyn Patterson.
Johnson earned his All-American status though by averaging 17 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks per game this year for Montverde.
Johnson showed his strength and ability to play away from the basket as well, thanks in part to his athleticism and footwork. At 6'11", 250 pounds, Johnson usually bullied his way in the post and used an array of moves to beat his defender at the rim.
However, he was also able to step to the top of the key and set a ball-screen before rolling to the rim and catching the ball and quickly finishing. Johnson will remind Kentucky fans of DeMarcus Cousins when he comes to Lexington and will bring that national championship spirit with him.
James Young might be the most must-see player of the recruiting class coming to Kentucky. This is in large part due to his 6'6" frame and ability to fill up the basket from long range and with thunderous dunks.
Young led his Rochester High team to its first regional title since 1950 while averaging over 27 points, 16 rebounds, five steals and five assists per game. That incredible stat line also helped Young be named the Class A Player of the Year in Michigan.
After this season and jumping up to No. 5 in the ESPN rankings, Young might come to Lexington with the most questions entering the season. Will Young come off the bench or start? I expect Young to have a little Eric Bledsoe in him with his game, but be a much better shooter.
Don't be surprised if James Young leads the team in scoring next season, whether he starts or not. This kid can shoot from anywhere in the gym.
Aaron Harrison did his best to let everyone know he's just not Andrew Harrison's twin brother this year. While, the twins will always be linked together for obvious reasons, Aaron did his best to show how diverse of a player he is when his brother was injured.
Aaron averaged 25 points, six rebounds and four assists as he helped lead Travis High School to a Texas 5A Championship. He was able to show his ability to play both guard positions and is labeled as a true combo guard now, after being just a shooting guard coming into his senior year.
With his brother injured and missing a handful of games, it was up to Aaron to take control of the team and handle both the scoring and passing loads. Aaron, much like James Young, has the ability to finish both at the rim and from well behind the three-point line.
Andrew Harrison was forced to miss part of his senior year with a hamstring injury, but that didn't prevent him from cementing himself as the best point guard in high school basketball this season.
Andrew averaged 16 points, seven rebounds and seven assists while helping Travis High School win the 5A State Championship, after losing in the championship game as a junior.
Andrew played every game, showing his ability to control a game from the point guard spot. He made sure to get his team involved, especially his brother, while also picking his spots to attack and score. Andrew understands where the mismatches are and knows how to exploit them.
Outside of the injury, it was the season both Kentucky fans and Andrew Harrison wanted to have. After missing a true leader at point guard this past season, Wildcat fans are salivating at the thought of having Andrew lead their team next season. As for Harrison, he was able to capture the state championship while not missing a beat and continuing to grow as a point guard.
Andrew Harrison has been compared to Tyreke Evans, due to his size and ability to score; however, that may be unjust to Harrison due to his passing ability. Expect Harrison not to be a dominant scorer next season, but be the team leader and make sure to run the team to win.
Julius Randle didn't have the most ideal senior season, but it did end up with a state championship in Texas. The Prestonwood Christian Academy product missed the majority of his senior year with a foot injury and was able to only play in seven games.
The seven games came at the end of the season, where he averaged 25 points and 13 rebounds. He also showed his diversity, connecting on 39 percent from the three-point line. At 6'9" and 245 pounds, it almost makes it impossible to guard Randle.
On top of his shooting ability, Randle is an outstanding rebounder and causes even more trouble due to his ability to create a shot for himself off the dribble.
Despite in playing in only seven games, Randle didn't miss a beat and showed no sign of slowing down when he came back from the foot injury. Randle was named to both the McDonald's All-American Game and Jordan Brand All-American Game.
Randle will remind Kentucky fans of a better Terrence Jones with his size and ability to step away from the basket. With John Calipari's dribble-drive offense, expect to see Randle all over the floor and continuing to show his versatility scoring both inside and out.