Kentucky Basketball Recruiting: Latest Updates on Wildcats' Top 2016 Targets

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 18, 2016

Kentucky Basketball Recruiting: Latest Updates on Wildcats' Top 2016 Targets

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    Jarrett Allen
    Jarrett AllenPhoto credit: 247Sports

    The Kentucky Wildcats already have arguably the top recruiting class in 2016, but this coaching staff never stops recruiting.

    This team already had an impressive stretch during the early signing period, bringing in guards De'Aaron Fox and Malik Monk to go with big men Edrice "Bam" Adebayo, Wenyen Gabriel and Sacha Killeya-Jones. According to 247Sports, this is the top overall class in the nation, just ahead of Duke and Michigan State.

    Amazingly, head coach John Calipari can still add more talent to this group with a few remaining targets capable of making an immediate impact. 

    Regardless of which players stay or go from the current roster, the Wildcats have a chance to once again be top contenders during the 2016-17 season.

    Getting anyone else to sign with so much talent already on board will not be easy, but here is a look at the latest info from Kentucky's remaining targets in this cycle.

Marques Bolden, C

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    Even with a loaded class already signed, head coach John Calipari always wants to add more talent to his team. "We’ve signed our guys and we’re looking for one more kid, and we’ve got a guy we like, a big kid," he said in a recent radio show, via Nick Roush of Kentucky Sports Radio.

    Although he isn't allowed to specifically comment on unsigned recruits, he could easily have been discussing Marques Bolden, arguably the top "big kid" on the market.

    Bolden is rated by 247Sports' composite rankings as the No. 1 center in the 2016 class thanks to a polished offensive game with the strength to win battles in the low post consistently. 

    Jerry Meyer of 247Sports recently said of Bolden and Kentucky, "I’ve heard from a couple of sources that I trust that that’s where he’s likely going to end up," per Ben Roberts of the Lexington Herald-Leader.

    The talented player would likely have a lot of competition for playing time next season if he did join the Wildcats, but the high-upside player should make an impact early wherever he goes.

Jarrett Allen, PF

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    If Kentucky can't land Marques Bolden, it would be more than satisfied adding Jarrett Allen to this already impressive class.

    The 6'9", 210-pound forward needs to add some size before competing at the next level, but he is otherwise ready to contribute thanks to his length and athleticism to help him on both ends of the court. He runs the floor well and can finish around the basket, fitting in well with Kentucky's dribble-drive attack.

    While the coaching staff has a lot of competition for Allen, he told Adam Zagoria of that UK is among the five programs recruiting him the hardest.

    "We talked [with assistant Tony Barbee], they're just checking up," Allen said last week. "They haven't came and talked to me personally. Coach Cal [John Calipari] is an amazing coach and it's definitely one of the main schools. It's hard to deny them and their history."

    Kansas as well as hometown teams Texas and Houston will be tough to beat, but don't count Kentucky out in this race.

Rawle Alkins, SG

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    With De'Aaron Fox and Malik Monk already committed and Kentucky potentially keeping some of its guards from this season, it might be a hard sell bringing in Rawle Alkins, but it is not out of the question.

    Alkins is a different type of player from either one already headed to Lexington. The New York native is one of the stronger guards in the class with the toughness to drive into the lane and attack the basket regardless of who is trying to stop him.

    He has a similar playing style to Isaiah Briscoe, but at 6'5", he is much tougher to defend in the paint.

    The guard is currently playing for Word of God in North Carolina, putting the Tar Heels and North Carolina State as top contenders on the recruiting trail. However, he still has nine different schools on his list, according to Adam Zagoria of, including Louisville, Arizona and yes, Kentucky.

    Apparently, Alkins also doesn't mind competing with Fox and Monk for playing time, saying, "Kentucky basketball is Kentucky basketball, they can go 10-deep. They have a Malik Monk, they have a De'Aaron Fox, my confidence is already there so I don't really need to prove anything to anyone."

    After last season's platoon, it's clear deserving players will see the floor. This will keep the Wildcats in the running for the talented guard.

Thon Maker, C

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    Earlier in the process, it seemed as though Thon Maker could end up playing at Lexington, but the Wildcats have recently fallen out of the competition.

    According to Jeff Borzello of ESPN, the center is deciding between UNLV, Indiana, Arizona State, Notre Dame, St. John's and Kansas. He is seemingly a long way from making a commitment, but it would take a whole lot of effort for Kentucky to get back into the hunt with so many others competing for the big man's services.

    Maker has tons of upside as an athletic 7-footer with the range to make shots from beyond the arc. However, he might be better suited for the NBA than the college game. He has improved tremendously over the past year but is still raw for the position.

    With Kentucky more interested in players who can contribute immediately, Bam Adebayo could end up being the better option anyway.


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