College Basketball Recruiting 2020: Breaking Down Kentucky, Duke, Top Classes

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMay 1, 2020

Brewster Academy's Terrence Clarke #5 is seen against Westtown School during a high school basketball game on Sunday, January 13, 2019 in the Bronx, NY. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)
Gregory Payan/Associated Press

The Kentucky Wildcats are losing the majority of their roster to the NBA draft, but John Calipari has found a way to reload his roster with 5-star talent.

The Wildcats own the top recruiting class in men's college basketball, with a trio of 5-star players headed to Lexington.

Kentucky is one of three programs with the most elite talent entering its roster for the 2020-21 campaign, as the Duke Blue Devils and North Carolina Tar Heels own commitments from trios of 5-star players as well.


Top College Basketball Recruiting Classes


Kentucky landed two top-10 prospects in Terrence Clarke and B.J. Boston.

The pair will lead a group of incoming players that has to replace the top five scorers from last season. Immanuel Quickley, Nick Richards, Tyrese Maxey, Ashton Hagans and EJ Montgomery are all off to the NBA draft.

Boston and Clarke are listed as top-10 picks in the 2021 NBA draft in the initial class rankings released by ESPN's Jonathan Givony.

In addition to the pair of shooting guards, Calipari earned the commitment of Devin Askew, a combo guard who is 247Sports' No. 25 overall prospect. The Wildcats added size through Isaiah Jackson and Lance Ware and also signed small forward Cam'Ron Fletcher.

It is yet another terrific class, but the team still has to fill a void at center to replace Richards' impact down low on both ends.

Boston and Clarke, who are the only pair of future teammates in the top 10 of the class rankings, will be counted on for the bulk of the scoring.

Since Kentucky missed out on Matt Haarms and Marcus Santos-Silva in the transfer market, it could rely more on its guards to put it on top of the SEC.



Duke did not land a top-10 player, but it ended up with a trio of top-25 prospects, led by No. 11 Jalen Johnson, a small forward out of Wisconsin.

Jeremy Roach and DJ Steward will try to fill the backcourt void left by the departures of Tre Jones and Cassius Stanley. Mark Williams, Jaemyn Brakefield and Henry Coleman, all of whom are listed at 6'8" or taller, will provide the Blue Devils with more size alongside the returning duo of Matthew Hurt and Wendell Moore Jr.

Hurt averaged 9.7 points per game as a freshman, while Moore produced 7.4 points per contest. If both improve in larger roles around the incoming players, they could receive a bump in draft stock.

Johnson, Steward, Moore and Hurt are all ranked in the top 35 of Givony's 2021 NBA draft rankings.

Since Mike Krzyzewski's side has a pair of returning sophomores to pair up with the incoming freshmen, Duke could be in better position to start strong.

The Blue Devils should head into the 2020-21 campaign as the favorite to win the ACC alongside Virginia, and they will face tests from a few more traditional powers, including the rival Tar Heels.


North Carolina

Three top-20 players will attempt to pull North Carolina out of the ACC basement.

Roy Williams earned the signatures of Day'Ron Johnson, Walker Kessler and Caleb Love to headline the third-ranked recruiting class.

Johnson and Kessler will provide some much-needed depth to the frontcourt on a roster with a handful of notable returnees, including Garrison Brooks and Armando Bacot. Love will be tasked with replacing Cole Anthony, a projected lottery pick in the 2020 NBA draft who averaged 18.5 points per game in his lone season with the Tar Heels.

North Carolina also added small forward Puff Johnson and guard R.J. Davis, who rank within the top 55 in the recruiting class.

By reinforcing their frontcourt and finding a replacement for Anthony, the Tar Heels put themselves in good position to move back up the ACC standings.

If the freshmen mesh well with Brooks, Bacot and others, the Tar Heels' ceiling could be the ACC regular-season title.


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90Statistics obtained from ESPN.comRecruiting information obtained from 247Sports.