The Wildcats had a nightmare 2012-2013 campaign. After winning the National Championship the season before, it was expected for Kentucky to have a down year, but nobody expected it to be NIT bad. John Calipari’s team finished the year 21-12, ending with an embarrassing loss in the first game of the NIT to Robert Morris.
Last season is now a distant memory for Big Blue Nation. Calipari is widely known as the best recruiter in the game, but he managed to set the bar even higher this year. Not only does Kentucky have the #1 ranked 2013 recruiting class, they have five players ranked in the top-10 according to ESPN and six players in the top 25. Julius Randle (SF), Andrew Harrison (PG), and Aaron Harrison (SG) are all ranked #1 at their respective positions. Dakari Johnson (C), James Young (SF), and Marcus Lee (PF) are all ranked top-9 or better at their position.
Some people are saying this is the best recruiting class of all-time, with a record six McDonald’s All-Americans. While that statement may seem bold, I wouldn’t doubt that claim at all. The fact that Kentucky will have multiple of future NBA talent on the bench is scary within itself.
The one thing people never bring up about this juggernaut on paper is the talent they have returning. Nerlens Noel and Archie Goodwin went on to the next level, but Kentucky still has Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley returning for their Sophomore campaigns. Poythress was an McDonald’s All-American and Cauley was the #11 ranked center out of high school.
The main challenge for this unbelievable collection of talent will be getting them to play together as a unit. John Calipari understands the work that must be done, but he’s definitely excited for the opportunity to coach this group.
“We’re chasing greatest, we’re chasing things that have never been done,” Calipari said.
Greatness is the only thing Kentucky basketball is accustom to. The Wildcats have 8 National Championships, 15 final four appearances, the most all-time wins and the highest all-time winning percentage in the history of college basketball. They are truly a model of success.
It will be exciting to watch this core group of individuals play as one.
Here’s a breakdown of the amazing 2013 Kentucky Wildcats recruiting class: