Kentucky Basketball: How Kelly Oubre to Kansas Changes 'Cats' Recruiting Plans

Bobby Reagan@uklefty22Featured ColumnistOctober 8, 2013


Kentucky basketball faced a potential setback on the recruiting trail when five-star wing Kelly Oubre decided to take his talents to Lawrence, Kansas instead of Lexington. 

A top-10 player in the class of 2014, according to ESPN, Oubre was one of the few small forwards that Kentucky head coach John Calipari had offered. Oubre was tagged as a player who could help fill the expected void that will be left behind by Alex Poythress and James Young.

Oubre's decision now puts Calipari in an unexpected problem. In order to have an extremely strong recruiting class, it comes down to one player's decision. That player is Stanley Johnson from California. 

Rivals.com ranks Johnson as the third best player in the class of 2014 and the best small forward in the class. For an extended period of time, Johnson was the only small forward that Calipari had offered a scholarship to. 

Much like Oubre, it seems to be a two-team race to land Johnson. However, this time it is Sean Miller at Arizona going against Calipari at Kentucky. Johnson is also considering USC, UCLA, Oregon, Florida and Kansas, but expect it to come down between Arizona and Kentucky.

Johnson will be in the house for Big Blue Madness in a week and a half in Lexington and that will be one of the biggest recruiting nights for Calipari in recent memory. The California native is the most important piece of the puzzle for the next recruiting class and his decision will determine what Calipari wants from his next team.

If Johnson is to spurn Kentucky, Calipari might have to look at internal recruiting and convince Young or Poythress to return for another year if possible. If both players can't pass up entering the NBA draft, Calipari is going to be forced to recruit for a small-ball lineup in 2014-15.

Players such as Devin Booker, James Blackmon Jr. and Trey Lyles become even more valuable to the program. 

Either way Oubre's decision has backed Calipari and Kentucky into a corner. The only way out is a commitment from Stanley Johnson. 


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