Kentucky’s Ridiculous Recruiting Class: Not Good Enough to Beat MJ, But Perhaps Everyone Else

Posted by Chris Johnson on April 16th, 2013

Chris Johnson is an RTC Columnist. He can be reached @ChrisDJohnsonn

How any Kentucky basketball fan, coming off the most disappointing season of John Calipari’s Kentucky tenure, could turn to 2013-14 with anything less than a 2012-level romp of a national title as a baseline expectation is beyond my limited capacity for understanding hoops-obsessed fan bases. The Wildcats are bringing in what’s being billed as the best recruiting class of all-time, built on the backs of five McDonald’s All Americans, including the nation’s top power forward (Julius Randle), point guard (Andrew Harrison), shooting guard (Aaron Harrison) and center (Dakari Johnson), and a competitive leg in the race for the still-unsigned best player in the country, Andrew Wiggins.

If recruiting rankings foretell wins and championship odds, Kentucky is on its way to big things in 2013 (Getty Images).

If recruiting rankings foretell wins and championship odds, Kentucky is on its way to big things in 2013-14 (Getty Images)

It is a class that defies the basic tenets of recruiting: AAU Tournaments and unofficial visits and verbal commitments and the like. Calipari is drafting his personally-vetted lot, not evaluating and selecting it. Thanks to a proven track record for turning high-upside prospects into deep-Tournament outfits and high school superstars into first-rounders, Calipari can pick and choose the next batch of young stars who will join his one-and-done empire. This year, he’s blown the roof off of every former recruiting class, his included, to hit a college campus. Kentucky fans should be excited; they should be hungry; they should expect nothing less than a net-cutting ceremony at Cowboys Stadium exactly one year from now.

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Vegas Odds: Check-In

Posted by rtmsf on May 16th, 2007

Now that the all the recruits in the Class of 2007 have been tidily gift-wrapped for their respective schools (Patrick Patterson, the lone remaining unsigned star of the class, announced for Kentucky today), we can take a look to see how that impacts the public (read: Vegas) perception of how good teams will be in 2007-08. Granted, we won’t have a true snapshot until the early entry withdrawal deadline has passed next month (June 18), but this should give us a bit of insight into how each team is being evaluated in light of their existing losses and incoming classes (for entertainment purposes only, of course).

05.16.07 Vegas Odds Source:

Undervalued – with the two best bets at 11:2, it’s obvious that Vegas doesn’t believe there is a prohibitive favorite at this point. Still, getting those odds on UCLA or North Carolina seems like a solid play – we’d expect both of those to go lower as the season progresses next year. If you’re willing to bet that Hibbert & Green return to Georgetown next year, getting the Hoyas at 20:1 is a steal. Tennessee, with a maturing trio of stud sophomores (R. Smith, J. Smith, Chism) and everyone else – ahem, Chris Lofton, returning, is a joke at 40:1. Same with Oregon at 45:1 – yes, they lost Aaron Brooks, but the core of this elite eight team with Hairston, Leunen and Porter, is back. Texas at 60:1 is another steal – they lost Durant, but they keep a young and very talented nucleus of Augustin, Abrams and James in Austin. A couple of SEC schools – Arkansas and Alabama – also jump out at us at 100:1 because they each return a lot of young talent.

Overvalued – what was first noticeable was Ohio St. at 35:1, even allowing for the possibility that Daequan Cook returns to Columbus. Cook + Lewis and Lighty, even with another top five (but clearly lesser) recruiting class coming in, simply isn’t enough to substantiate odds this low. Duke and UConn at 40:1? Seriously? Yes, they’re both returning a lot and Duke at least has an excellent recruiting class incoming, but did anyone watch these teams this year? – this is a “name” pick all the way. We don’t mean to pick on the Big Ten, but Wisconsin loses several of its starters, including its all-american Tucker, and it’s at 75:1? Sell that one if you can. Same with Florida at 75:1 – no way on earth Billy’s kids make a run next year, but check back in 2009. Virginia Tech lost its best two players and its top recruit – 100:1 seems kind here. Another ACC squad – NC State – Vegas realizes this team was 5-11 in the conference last year, and loses its best player (Atsur), right? Maybe they got confused and were putting odds for NCSU winning the NIT, although I didn’t see South Carolina on the list. And everyone knows that no NIT list is complete without the Cocks. (correction: South Carolina is listed at 200:1 odds for the NCAA, not NIT, championship)

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