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Calipari pulls in nation's top recruiting class

by | College Basketball Blogger
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Kentucky coach John Calipari again brings in the nation's top recruiting class. (US Presswire)  
Kentucky coach John Calipari again brings in the nation's top recruiting class. (US Presswire)  


Another high school class, another No. 1 recruiting class for John Calipari and Kentucky.

It’s pretty much a given every year lately, as Calipari has reeled in the top-ranked recruiting class four years in a row heading into the class of 2013. In a scary twist, 2013 might be his best group yet. So far, Kentucky has Andrew and Aaron Harrison in the fold, both top-five guards, along with top-10 wing James Young and top-50 big man Marcus Lee. And he’s not done. The Wildcats are still gunning for Julius Randle, Dakari Johnson and Aaron Gordon, but they are the strongest for No. 1 prospect Andrew Wiggins. If Calipari can land one or two of these guys, it could be the best recruiting class ever.

Unlike in 2012, it doesn’t look there will be a close race for the top spot in the final rankings. Kansas, Memphis and Indiana all have very good classes, but none seem primed to push Kentucky down the stretch. An interesting team to keep an eye on could be Florida, which has two top-11 prospects in Kasey Hill and Chris Walker. The Gators are heavily involved with Jabari Parker, Julius Randle and Dakari Johnson; adding one of those guys would give Florida a tremendous group.

Even though the early signing period is only just beginning, several teams have deep, solid recruiting classes. Programs like LSU, Michigan, Marquette and others all have three top-100 prospects in the fold and are building quality a quality core for the future.

Despite the late start, though, Kentucky enters the early signing period with the No. 1 recruiting class in the country. And the Wildcats could end the late signing period with the No. 1 recruiting class – perhaps ever.

(CBSSports.com player rankings in parenthesis.)

Class of 2013 Early Signing Period Team Rankings
1
Commitments: Andrew Harrison (3), Aaron Harrison (5), James Young (10), Marcus Lee (43), Derek Willis

This could have the makings of John Calipariís best recruiting class ever Ė if they had another elite recruit or two. For now, itís still a dominant showing.
2
Commitments: Wayne Selden (23), Conner Frankamp (38), Brannen Greene (39), Joel Embiid (100), Frank Mason

The addition of Embiid on the eve of the signing period puts Kansas in the second slot. Selden, Frankamp and Greene make up a great perimeter trio.
3
Commitments: Nick King (24), Kuran Iverson (25), Austin Nichols (52), Markel Crawford (92), Rashawn Powell (97)

The only group in the country with five top-100 prospects, Josh Pastner did it again. King, Iverson and Nichols are all capable of making immediate impacts.
4
Commitments: Noah Vonleh (7), Troy Williams (46), Stanford Robinson (55), Luke Fischer, Devin Davis, Collin Hartman

Tom Crean made another splash with this class. Vonleh is an enormous difference-maker, while guys like Williams, Robinson and Fischer are solid.
5
Commitments: Kasey Hill (9), Chris Walker (11)

The Gators started off with a bang, nabbing Hill and Walker. Billy Donovan is still involved with elite recruits, meaning Florida could move up.
6
Commitments: Jarell Martin (13), Jordan Mickey (27), Tim Quarterman (75), Deng Deng (JC)

Not a bad first class for Johnny Jones. Martin surprised everyone by committing early, while Mickey and Quarterman have the ability to be impact players.
7
Commitments: Duane Wilson (53), Deonte Burton (54), JaJuan Johnson (69), John Dawson, Jameel McKay (JC)

Buzz Williams wonít have to develop unheralded guys with this class. The high school prospects are great, but McKay could be the one who surprises everyone.
8
Commitments: Anton Gill (32), Terry Rozier (99), Akoy Agau, Chris Jones (JC)

Rick Pitino made an effort to get guard depth with this class Ė and he also got his point guard of the future with junior college transfer Jones. Gill scores.
9
Commitments: Matt Jones (34), Semi Ojeleye (35)

Itís only a two-man group, but both guys are studs. Jones can fill it up, especially from behind the arc, while Ojeleye is developing into a very difficult matchup.
10
Commitments: Zak Irvin (36), Derrick Walton (48), Mark Donnal

All three players had great summer performances, with Irvin separating himself as a legitimate impact guy at the next level. Walton is a winner who makes plays.
11
Commitments: Bobby Portis (14), Moses Kingsley (61)

The Razorbacks are set in the post for a couple of years. Portis took his game to the next level in the past year, while Kingsley is developing his inside game.
12
Commitments: Dominic Woodson (40), Ishmail Wainright (42), Johnathan Motley

Surprise, surprise Ė Scott Drew has another great class on his hands. Woodson has the potential to be one of the best offensive big man in the class.
13
Commitments: Isaiah Hicks (20), Nate Britt (64)

Both players saw their stock dip a bit during the summer, but itís still a very good duo. Hicks is athletic, while Britt Ė at his best Ė is a leader who scores and distributes.
14
Commitments: Anthony Barber (12), Kyle Washington (90)

Mark Gottfried is on a role on the recruiting trail. Barber is one of the best point guards in the class, and Washington is coming along, especially defensively.
15
Commitments: Demetrius Jackson (33), V.J. Beachem (79), Steve Vasturia, Austin Torres

Jackson was the talk of the AAU circuit at various points in the spring and summer, and Beachem and Vasturia bring offensive ability on the wings.
16
Commitments: Kendrick Nunn (57), Malcolm Hill (83), Austin Colbert (96), Jaylon Tate, Maverick Morgan

This is a really solid quintet of players. Nunn is the headliner, but Colbert should make an impact on the inside. All five guys are quality performers.
17
Commitments: Xavier Rathan-Mayes (30), Jarquez Smith (66)

It was a successful October for Leonard Hamilton, who reeled in these two gems in the span of a couple weeks. Rathan-Mayes can flat out score the ball.
18
Commitments: Johnathan Williams III (28), Wesley Clark (82), Torren Jones

Commitment press conference aside, getting Williams III was a key pledge. Clark is a rising point guard who will push for time right off the bat.
19
Commitments: Solomon Poole (31), Quinton Stephens (81)

Brian Gregory continues to answer questions as to whether he can recruit in the ACC. Poole could be eligible this season, while Stephens makes plays at both ends of the floor.
20
Commitments: Zach LaVine (47), Al Freeman (63), Noah Allen

Neither LaVine nor Freeman have set positions, but they will form a dynamic backcourt pairing for a few years. LaVine could rise in the rankings.
21
Commitments: Jabari Bird (18), Jordan Mathews (115), Sam Singer

In Bird and Mathews, Mike Montgomery has a pair of scorers who can get their own shot with regularity. Bird is a five-star prospect and an important get.
22
Commitments: Rondae Jefferson (19), Elliott Pitts

People in Tucson are going to love Jefferson. Heís a do-it-all point-forward who gets into the lane and either finishes or distributes. Pitts can score.
23
Commitments: Tyler Ennis (22), B.J. Johnson, Ron Patterson, Chinoso Obokoh

Ennis is the only ranked guy in this group, but donít overlook the rest of the guys. Johnson is long and athletic, and Pattersonis a tough guard who can score.
24
Commitments: Bryson Scott (68), Kendall Stephens (70), Basil Smotherman

With Scott and Stephens in the fold, Painter has a tough backcourt that wonít back down from most challenges. Smotherman is used to be surrounded by talent.
25
Commitments: Elijah Macon (73), Devin Williams (91), Brandon Watkins, Nathan Adrian

Bob Huggins never passes up a chance to get quality bigs, and he has three in this class. Macon is more offensive-minded, while Williams is a great rebounder.

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