Kentucky Basketball Recruiting: Updates on Wildcats' Top Targets
Recruiting season is in full swing and John Calipari and the Kentucky basketball program hasn't missed a beat in four years.
After building arguably the greatest recruiting class in the class of 2013, many people wondered what Calipari and the Wildcats would be able to do the following year.
Kentucky already has offers to the top four players in the 2014 class and with Big Blue Madness just two months away, and the list is expected to grow.
Signed Up for Big Blue Madness
Big Blue Madness is scheduled for October 18 and the list of attendees is already impressive for Kentucky.
The following recruits have already announced they will be be in Rupp Arena for Big Blue Madness: Emmanuel Mudiay, Stanley Johnson and Devin Booker.
Mudiay is a 6'4" play-making point guard from Texas who is wildly regarded as the top point guard in the class. Mudiay comes from the same mold as John Wall and Andrew Harrison in that he is a great finisher at the rim, but can also hit a pull-up jumper if that's what his defender gives him.
Johnson is an athletic wing forward, who is knock-down shooter from behind the arc who can also attack the rim. The Fullerton, Calif., native also has a knack for being a great rebounder for his size, after pulling down 15 rebounds in the 2012 California state championship game. Johnson is also considering Arizona, Florida, USC, Oregon and Kansas.
Booker recently announced his list is down to five schools and in no particular order they are Kentucky, Missouri, Florida, Michigan and Michigan State. Booker is another sharpshooter who is the lowest ranked player out of the three recruits, ranked at 27 by Rivals.
Announced Visits Outside of Big Blue Madness
Recruiting is a season all in itself, and while the list for Big Blue Madness is impressive, there are still plenty of high-profile players set to visit throughout the year.
The No. 1 player in the class, Jahlil Okafor, is set to take his visit on September 9, the same day of the UK charity game, which includes players from the 2010 and 2012 teams. Okafor is one of the most dominant big men in high school basketball and was the only junior to be named first team All-American by USA Today last season. Okafor is also considering Duke, Ohio State, Michigan State, Kansas, Arizona, Illinois and Baylor.
Those who don't think Emmanuel Mudiay is the best point guard in the class often lean toward Tyus Jones. Jones is scheduled to visit September 27 and has often said he wants to play with Okafor in college. Jones is another point guard who often finds himself in the lane and finishing open shots. Jones is taking visits with Okafor to Baylor, Kansas and Duke.
Up in the Air
Other Kentucky targets that haven't finalized a date for a visit yet or are unsure if they will take an official visit includes Cliff Alexander, Trey Lyles, James Blackmon Jr., Rashad Vaughn and Kelly Oubre.
Alexander has said before that he is unsure if he will take an official visit to Kentucky, however, he has already taken an unofficial visit. Alexander was a guest at last year's Big Blue Madness and has said he will use his fifth official visit on either Kentucky or Florida. He is scheduled to visit Kansas, Arizona, Memphis and Louisville.
Oubre received a scholarship offer from Kentucky following July's Peach Jam, but has not set a date for his visit yet. It is likely he ends up visiting during Big Blue Madness, but it's not set in stone. Oubre is from Texas and a prolific scorer, who will play his senior year at Findlay Prep with fellow UK recruits Rashad Vaugn and Craig Victor.
Vaughn is another player who has said he plans on visiting Kentucky and is considering coming on October 18, but it's not official. Vaughn is a 6'6" wing player, who has range once he steps in the gym. He has yet to make cuts to his list and is still considering 10 other schools besides Kentucky, including North Carolina.
Lyles is a former Indiana commit who is currently being heavily recruited by Kentucky and Louisville. Lyles had already visited Kentucky for the 2012 Big Blue Madness and last year's Kentucky-Florida game. Lyles is a 6'9" power forward who has the tools to take his defender off the dribble and also finish at the rim with power. He is considering another visit to Big Blue Madness.
Blackmon Jr. might be the sixth recruit to be at Rupp Arena on October 18 to take in Big Blue Madness. He is the son of former Kentucky player James Blackmon, who originally committed to Indiana his freshman year of high school. He recently decided to open his recruitment back up and is wildly regarded as one of the best shooters in the class.
Karl Towns has already verbally committed to Kentucky and is the one member of the class of 2014 to do so. He has a strong relationship with John Calipari that stems from spending time on the Dominican Republic national team.
Towns is 7'1", but that doesn't mean he is automatically a center. He is a unique player who can stroke a jumper from the outside, handle the rock as well as finish at the rim.
He is currently playing at St. Joseph's in Metuchen, N.J., where he won Gatorade Player of the Year in the state last season. His commitment is expected to stay with the Wildcats due to his relationship with Calipari and is the cornerstone for the next great recruiting class at Kentucky.