Kentucky Basketball: 3 Burning Questions About Wildcats' 2015 Recruiting Plans
Kentucky basketball has been the cream of the crop when it comes to recruiting over the last five years. Since head coach John Calipari took over the program, the Wildcats tend to finish top in the country in recruiting rankings and often draw some of the biggest names coming out of high school.
Despite the last two seasons being vastly different from what Calipari and Kentucky are used to, the recruiting effort has stayed the course. Two years ago, the Wildcats failed to make the NCAA tournament and lost in the first round of the NIT to Robert Morris. However, that didn't stop Kentucky from getting arguably the best recruiting class under Calipari.
Last year, Kentucky struggled in the regular season but made a run to the national title game. Despite making the deep run and having a talented roster, only two players decided to leave early, with six players who were in the rotation deciding to return for another year. Again, another top-five recruiting class will be joining them in Lexington.
This slideshow will take a look at the burning questions that Big Blue Nation will have when it comes to Kentucky's 2015 recruiting plans.
1. Will Kentucky Go After a Top Point Guard?
If there's a guarantee in Kentucky basketball, it's that Calipari and the Wildcats will have a big-name point guard running the show for them. Whether it's a freshman recruit or a transfer, no matter how the season turns out, heading into the year they were a big name.
The 2015-16 season won't be any different. But it won't be because Kentucky recruits a point guard. In fact, it'll be a surprise if they go after a point guard at all. The Wildcats will look to the then-sophomore Tyler Ulis, who is looking like a great four-year player for Kentucky.
Ulis, the 5'9" freshman this season, has made himself a fan favorite during the trip to the Bahamas due to his intense defense, ability to hit the open shot and ability to play as a pass-first point guard and a great change of pace to Andrew Harrison.
The other obvious sign to the Wildcats not looking at recruiting a point guard is the fact ESPN's rankings only have two point guards in their top 25, coming in at No. 22 and 23. Jalen Brunson doesn't have Kentucky on his list, and Justin Simon is committed to Arizona.
2. What Happens Now with Diamond Stone Cutting Kentucky?
Last week, big man Diamond Stone cut Kentucky from his list, leaving five other schools in contention. The biggest reason this can be a concern for Kentucky fans is because of the apparent package deal with Stone and Malik Newman.
It's not a huge surprise that Stone cut Kentucky from his list, as the two started becoming more distant over the recruiting process. That coupled with the fact that the Wildcats should return a couple of their big men from this year and are also heavily recruiting four other bigs in the class of 2015.
Moving forward, Kentucky has to try to break up the package deal and continue to recruit Newman. The Mississippi native is an electric scorer who would fit in nicely at shooting guard next to a player like Ulis and his pass-first mentality. Don't be surprised to see or hear Calipari use that in his pitch to Newman.
While Stone is a talented player, the power forward and center positions are both deep with talent in the class of 2015. The Wildcats have to keep their focus on the four they are targeting, which are Stephen Zimmerman, Doral Moore, Skal Labissiere and Caleb Swanigan.
3. How Much of an Impact Will This Season Have?
Not necessarily how the team plays, but how the rotation looks. There are only 200 minutes per game to spread around this team.
Recruits who are waiting until the spring to commit will have to be watching with a close eye to see what happens with players like Devin Booker and Marcus Lee. These two players, both McDonald's All-Americans, could be buried on the bench due to depth.
If there are rumblings that Lee, another post player and someone in the class of 2015 commit early, what happens to the next big man who is looking at Kentucky? Are they afraid to pull the trigger due to minimal expected minutes?
This is something Kentucky hasn't experienced, due in large part to the early departures. With a ton of faces returning, this is something that can't be answered until the spring.