Kentucky Basketball Recruiting: Meet the Wildcats' 2013 Class

Nick NafpliotisCorrespondent IApril 19, 2013

Kentucky Basketball Recruiting: Meet the Wildcats' 2013 Class

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    John Calipari and the University of Kentucky still might be waiting on the decision of standout prospect Andrew Wiggins, but the best recruiting class of 2013 (and perhaps in school history) is locked in to arrive on campus this fall.

    The following is a quick look at each of the Wildcats' incoming freshmen who hope to help propel UK back to the Final Four and reclaim the national championship crown. 

Julius Randle, PF

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    Officially signed April 18

    At 6'9" and 225 pounds, Julius Randle provides next year's Wildcat squad with a dominating physical presence on both ends of the floor. Besides having an excellent post-up game, Randle is an absolute monster on the glass.

    You won't see him shooting much from outside (hopefully), but UK fans should expect to see outstanding defense and rim-shattering dunks taking place on the low block. 

Derek Willis, PF

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    Officially signed Nov. 14, 2012


    After decommitting from Purdue (per last August, Derek Willis became John Calipari's first verbal commitment of the heralded 2013 class.

    He might not get the same fanfare and hype as others, but don't be fooled. Besides having an outstanding offensive game, he also isn't afraid of contact. If you watched him in high school, you'd notice that he was often the one initiating contact by hustling for every rebound and loose ball.

    His perimeter defense still needs improvement, but his work on the interior should provide the Wildcats with an excellent option for size and offense off the bench.

    And if you're worried about Willis copping a bad attitude due to not being the biggest fish in the Big Blue sea, you can put that out of your mind. In his own words, Willis "didn't go to UK to start...I went there to win." 

Dakari Johnson, C

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    Officially signed April 18


    Dakari Johnson might not be the most athletic guy on UK's roster next fall, but he will most likely lead the team in rebounds.

    The 6'10" 250-pound center combines great hands and an uncanny nose for the ball. He almost always seem as if he is clearing the boards on both ends of the floor.

    Combine that with a decent inside scoring game, and the Wildcats should once again have a dominating presence in the paint on which to anchor their defense. 

James Young, SF

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    Officially signed Nov. 15, 2012


    James Young and his massive wingspan will help bring a dose of explosive offense from the small forward position.

    He can slash toward the basket or catch and shoot from beyond the arc. Young still needs to work on how to create his own shot, but add in his solid defensive play, and it's easy to see why Kentucky's frontcourt looks to be arguably the best in the country next season. 

Andrew Harrison, PG

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    Officially signed Nov. 15, 2012


    With the commitment of Andrew Harrison, Kentucky returns to a recipe for success that has worked for them—have the No. 1 freshman point guard in the country lead your team.

    For those who were frustrated with Ryan Harrow's lack of vocal leadership on the floor, that won't be a problem for Harrison. He is an aggressive player emotionally and physically who also can create shots for himself and his teammates.

    His size (6'5", 210 pounds) also makes him a matchup nightmare for smaller point guards. 

Aaron Harrison, SG

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    Officially signed Nov. 15, 2012


    Aaron Harrison represents the more scoring-oriented half of the phenomenal Harrison twins. Besides being an outstanding slasher and finisher, he also is an excellent shooter from three-point range.

    Combined with the scoring ability of Young, Wildcat opponents can look forward to being scorched from the wings or sliced up under the rim from the shooting guard and small forward positions.


Marcus Lee, PF

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    Officially signed Nov. 14, 2012


    Marcus Lee might not be lighting the world on fire offensively, but the 6'9" 200-pound forward will provide the Wildcats with a defensive presence under the basket.

    His length and athleticism make him a dangerous shot-blocking threat. If Calipari can help develop his scoring ability, he could end up being one of the most complete forwards in the country.

Dominique Hawkins, PG

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    Officially signed April 18


    Being a point guard on a team with Andrew Harrison would normally mean a virtually permanent seat on the bench. But Dominique Hawkins' ability to play the two-guard spot means that he could enjoy decent minutes during his freshman season.

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