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Kentucky Basketball: Latest Updates on Wildcats' Top 2014 Recruits

Bobby ReaganFeatured ColumnistJanuary 16, 2014

Kentucky Basketball: Latest Updates on Wildcats' Top 2014 Recruits

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    It has been a bumpy ride so far in the 2013-14 season for Kentucky basketball fans. A talented, albeit young, roster hasn't been able to meet its preseason expectations yet.

    It seems that every time the Wildcats appear to turn a corner and improve, there is another setback with a loss to a team they shouldn't lose to. While the season still has plenty of time left, it's never too early to look into the future of Kentucky basketball.

    Since John Calipari took over the head coaching duties at Kentucky, that has seemed to be the pattern. Kentucky currently has the No. 2 recruiting class of 2014, according to rankings at Rivals.com. With a few top-ranked players still undecided, Kentucky could end up with the No. 1 overall recruiting class by the time things are finalized.

    This slideshow takes a look at what the class of 2014 could look like for Kentucky. 

Uncommitted Recruits

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    Rashad Vaughn

    Vaughn is ranked as the No. 7 overall recruit by Rivals.com. A 6'5" shooting guard out of Henderson, Nev., Vaughn also has UNLV, Iowa State, North Carolina and Kansas on his list. 

    A month ago, 247Sports writer Jerry Meyer had Kentucky as the favorite to land Vaughn in his crystal ball rankings. Vaughn is a strong shooting guard and similar to James Young in that he is also strong driving to his left. He has the ability to shoot well behind the arc and is a strong rebounder for his size.

    If Vaughn commits to Kentucky, the Wildcats solidify their backcourt with Vaughn and Devin Booker competing for the starting shooting guard spot and allowing John Calipari to use various lineups to match his opponent.

     

    Myles Turner

    Turner is the No. 6-ranked player, per Rivals.com, and hails from Euless, Texas. Turner is a 6'11" center who could end up reminding Big Blue Nation of Anthony Davis. Turner didn't hit his growth spurt until his sophomore year of high school and just recently has been shooting up the rankings.

    Turner is an excellent shot-blocker who can also run the pick-and-pop as well as attack the rim. Turner is also considering Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Kansas, Duke, Arizona and Texas. With two top-11 players in Karl Towns and Trey Lyles already joining Kentucky next season, Turner could be hesitant to join what looks to be a deep roster. 

The Commits

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    Kentucky has four commitments for the class of 2014 already in Trey Lyles, Karl Towns, Devin Booker and Tyler Ulis. They are ranked No. 8, 11, 30 and 33, respectfully, according to Rivals.com.

    The most important stat among those players is that they have not had any injuries during their senior seasons so far. All four were recently nominated for the McDonald's All-American Game, which will announce the rosters on Jan. 29.

    The four commits have also been playing extremely well during their 2013-14 seasons. Lyles recently dropped 45 points and 16 rebounds while Towns flirted with a quadruple-double and Booker surpassed the 2,000-point mark for his career.

     

     

Who Returns?

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    Something Big Blue Nation has gotten accustomed to in the John Calipari era is the fact that so many great players only stay in Lexington for a season.

    Julius Randle, Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison and James Young are expected to join that list from this season's team. Sophomore Willie Cauley-Stein will join those four freshmen in entering the NBA draft this summer. Also departing will be seniors Jarrod Polson and Jon Hood. 

    Those in the current rotation that are no-brainers to return to Lexington include Dominique Hawkins and Marcus Lee. That leaves two players in question about their return for another season at Kentucky.

    The first is sophomore Alex Poythress, who came into Kentucky last season with high expectations which included being selected in the lottery of the NBA draft. Kentucky fans can now expect Poythress to have a a career similar to Darius Miller. Miller was a four-year player at Kentucky who started most of his career until he was moved to a sixth-man role. 

    Poythress has shown signs of improvement in both his play and consistency on the court. The return of Poythress will be key for Kentucky next season due to the team's lack of a returning small forward. 

    The other player who fans can expect to see return for the 2014-15 season will be center Dakari Johnson. Johnson has struggled this season with his conditioning and his propensity for getting into foul trouble, underscoring that he is not ready to play in the NBA just yet. 

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