It’s no secret that Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari recruits the best of the best.
The ‘Cats 2009 recruiting class was ranked No. 1 by every major recruiting syndicate, heralded by current NBA draft picks John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, and Eric Bledsoe. Calipari took it a step further in securing his second straight No. 1 recruiting class led by 2010 Top-15 prospects Brandon Knight (No. 6), Enes Kanter (No. 3), and Terrance Jones (No. 13).
All three hope to contribute at Kentucky much like Wall and Cousins did during the 2009-2010 seasons.
One thing that doesn’t seem inclement is a change in recruiting styles—namely recruiting so called ‘four-year’ players at Kentucky—an idea presented to the second year head coach of Kentucky by Sports Illustrated’ columnist Seth Davis.
Calipari scoffed at the idea saying,
If you recruit guys who you know are going to be there for four years, you’ll probably be in the NIT, and that’s not a good thing at Kentucky. You recruit the best players you can, and if someone is going to take them in the first round, I tell them to go.
Calipari has stuck by his guns, replicating the same recruiting philosophy he started at Memphis. Recruit the best players regardless of how long the prospect will stay at your school.
There was a problem however, when recruiting players to Memphis. It didn’t capture the appeal of all the nation’s top athletes.
At Kentucky, Calipari doesn’t have that problem.
In just over a year, Calipari has turned recruiting around at Kentucky. With two straight No. 1 recruiting classes and an expected third—the 2011 class could be one of the best ever—Kentucky’s leading proponent of ‘one-and-done’ recruiting sees no end in sight.
That’s a good thing for the Big Blue Nation.
It is however, understandable to see both sides of the argument. Davis has a point in that ‘four-year’ guys often produce a bond within the team, a similar role junior Patrick Patterson excelled at during his last year at Kentucky. Calipari also has a point in that ‘one-and-done’ players are usually the most talented, making it difficult to pass on such players as Wall and Cousins.
The 2009 recruiting class was a breath of fresh air for ‘Cats fans and the 2010 class is no different. It seems like a common trend is occurring as Calipari insists on bringing the top talent to Lexington during his tenure as Kentucky’s head coach.