Kentucky Basketball Recruiting: Where Wildcats Stand with Top 2014 Targets
John Calipari and Kentucky basketball have followed up their 2013 recruiting efforts with a hot start to building their 2014 class.
The Wildcats already had an offer from a top-10 player in 7-footer Karl Towns and recently picked up a commitment from 4-star point guard Tyler Ulis out of Chicago. With the early signing period rapidly approaching, we'll take a look at what's going on in Kentucky's recruiting efforts.
Just because Calipari has picked up two early commitments, don't expect him to take his foot off the gas pedal anytime soon. It's expected that he will have to replace anywhere from six to eight spots and will only go after some of the best in the country.
Read on to see where the Wildcats stand with some of their top prospects.
John Calipari visited two of his top recruits in the last week in Stanley Johnson and James Blackmon.
Johnson has been high on Calipari's radar for quite some time, gaining so much interest that up until recently he was the only small forward that Calipari extended an offer to. Calipari's visit to California seemed to pay off as Johnson recently cut his list to five schools.
In those five schools are the Wildcats along with Arizona, Florida, Oregon and USC. Johnson cut Kansas and UCLA from his list. Johnson is scheduled to visit Kentucky for Big Blue Madness on October 18.
Calipari quickly turned around from his visit to California and Johnson to visit Blackmon in Marion, Ind. Blackmon is the son of former Kentucky basketball player James Blackmon Sr. and is currently the No. 23 ranked player according to Rivals.
Blackmon decommitted from Indiana and was almost immediately offered a scholarship from Calipari. He is wildly regarded as one of the best shooters in the class and would be a nice pick up for the Wildcats as he helps stretch the floor with his range.
Calipari also made in-home visits in the last two weeks to Tyus Jones, Myles Turner and Stephen Zimmerman.
Leaning Toward the Blue and White
Kelly Oubre, much like Tyler Ulis, has been rapidly moving up the recruiting rankings. He currently ranks somewhere in the top-20 across all major recruiting experts and recently received a visit from John Calipari.
He was the first small forward to receive a scholarship from Calipari whose name wasn't Stanley Johnson and fits the mold in players Calipari likes at that position. Oubre's size and ability to attack the basket is what helped Calipari pull the trigger on him.
Jeff Borzello of CBS Sports recently sent out a message saying it is a two-horse race between Kentucky and Kansas for Oubre, but Kentucky is in the lead.
After Borzello sent out that tweet, Johnson also sent out a tweet, which has been recently deleted. Johnson said that if Oubre commits to Kentucky "it just betters the situation" for him. Now, the real question is whether that means they could be a packaged deal or if the commitment of another small forward could cause Johnson to push Kentucky to the back of his mind.
247 Sports' Jerry Meyer did send out a tweet to help clarify the situation and to please Big Blue Nation, he says it will only help Johnson to Kentucky rather than deter it.
A Packaged Deal
Cliff Alexander, arguably the prize jewel of the 2014 recruiting class, broke some major news on Sunday when he tweeted out that he and Jaquan Lyle plan to play together in college.
While Kentucky fans may be smiling since Lyle did decommit from rival Louisville, and Alexander has discussed playing for Kentucky in the past, this news does not bode well for the Wildcats.
The team that could profit from this package is the Kansas Jayhawks. Both players have Kansas on their list, and Lyle spoke about how that would be the one team that is the hardest to pass up. Lyle said he likes Kansas a lot and has a good relationship with assistant coach Jerrance Howard.
Unless Calipari can pull some magic and either separate the two players or convince Lyle to team up with Alexander wearing Kentucky's blue and white, the Cats might miss out on Alexander.