Cal expects big day as Cats reload

jtipton@herald-leader.comApril 14, 2010 

  • Knight time

    What: Opening day of college basketball's spring signing period begins Wednesday and ends May 19.

    TV: ESPNU's Signing Day Special (4-6 p.m.) will include the live announcement of his college choice by top point guard prospect Brandon Knight.

College basketball enters the monthlong spring signing period Wednesday with expectations of Kentucky adding point guard Brandon Knight and perhaps other highly regarded prospects.

Knight, rated by most as the nation's No. 1 player in the high school class of 2010, is expected to announce his college choice Wednesday afternoon.

"I'd be surprised if Brandon Knight doesn't pick Kentucky," analyst Jerry Meyer of the Rivals.com recruiting service said Tuesday. That surprise would spread to most people who follow recruiting.

On his Lexy.com update Tuesday, UK Coach John Calipari suggested good news could come on the first day of the spring signing period that ends May 19.

"There will be some things announced Wednesday," he said. "Hopefully there's gonna be a lot of Kentucky attached to it. And we'll go from there."

Adding Knight to big man Enes Kanter and wing Stacey Poole Jr., raises the question of whether Kentucky can follow last year's No. 1-rated class with another collection of instant top-caliber contributors.

That seems a lot to ask when The Associated Press named John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins first-team All-Americans, and fellow freshmen Eric Bledsoe and Daniel Orton could join their celebrated teammates as so-called one-and-done college players.

"It's hard to hit the lottery like that every single year," said analyst Dave Telep of the Scout.com recruiting service.

Telep considers Kanter and Knight possible NBA Draft lottery picks next season. In its mock 2011 projections, the Web site NBADraft.net had Knight taken third and Kanter 10th.

"But it doesn't really matter anyway," Telep said when asked if UK could match the Wall-Cousins class. "Because here's the deal: If Kanter and Knight are who Kentucky signs, you did the best you possibly could given the talent pool and what's out there. You achieved your goal. You lost two guys. You replaced them with two of the best guys you possibly could.

"Comparing them is for people sitting around offices who have too much time on their hands."

UK's other recruiting targets this signing period include guard Josh Selby, wing Doron Lamb and forwards C.J. Leslie, Terrence Jones, Luke Cothron and Marcus Thornton.

If Knight commits to Kentucky, the recruiting analysts believe Selby will look for another school. "Both those guys want to be the man," Meyer said.

Lamb might be a long shot. "West Virginia needs to replace guys, too," Telep said. "That's the guy they've targeted."

No one seems as sure with the forwards. Jones, a native of Portland, Ore., has several Far West options to consider: UCLA, Washington and Oregon, plus Oklahoma and UK.

Leslie, a former teammate of Wall's at Word of God Academy in Raleigh, N.C., is also considering nearby North Carolina State, plus Florida and Connecticut.

Meyer saw Thornton, who withdrew his commitment from Clemson when Oliver Purnell left the school for DePaul, as a good fit for Kentucky.

"Very athletic (with) a college-ready body," Meyer said. "He'd be a very, very good get for Kentucky. He's not going to be a one-and-done guy."

However the spring signing period unfolds, Kentucky should be sufficiently re-armed, the analysts said. Telep saw the addition of Knight to Kanter and Poole as the makings of a top-five national class.

Meyer did not put a numerical ranking on Kentucky's class with or without specific prospects.

"They're going to have a good class," he said. "I don't know if it will be an epic class."

Led by Wall and Cousins, Kentucky had an epic class last year, Meyer said.

"We might not see a class like that again in a long time."

College basketball enters the monthlong spring signing period Wednesday with expectations of Kentucky adding point guard Brandon Knight and perhaps other highly regarded prospects.

Knight, rated by most as the nation's No. 1 player in the high school class of 2010, is expected to announce his college choice Wednesday afternoon.

"I'd be surprised if Brandon Knight doesn't pick Kentucky," analyst Jerry Meyer of the Rivals.com recruiting service said Tuesday. That surprise would spread to most people who follow recruiting.

And amid rumors swirling that the best player in the 2011 recruiting class, Michael Gilchrist, could also commit to UK, ESPN reported the 6-foot-6 forward from St. Patrick High School in Elizabeth, N.J., would announce his decision Wednesday.

The prospect of landing both Knight and Gilchrist, the top players in successive recruiting classes, after signing John Wall, the top player in the '09 class, would be another recruiting coup for UK Coach John Calipari.

On his Lexy.com audio update Tuesday, Calipari suggested good news could come on the first day of the spring signing period, which ends May 19.

"There will be some things announced Wednesday," he said. "Hopefully there's gonna be a lot of Kentucky attached to it. And we'll go from there."

Adding Knight to big man Enes Kanter and wing Stacey Poole Jr., raises the question of whether Kentucky can follow last year's No. 1-rated class with another collection of instant top-caliber contributors.

That seems a lot to ask when The Associated Press named Wall and DeMarcus Cousins first-team All-Americans, and fellow freshmen Eric Bledsoe and Daniel Orton could join their celebrated teammates as so-called one-and-done college players.

"It's hard to hit the lottery like that every single year," said analyst Dave Telep of the Scout.com recruiting service.

Telep considers Kanter and Knight possible NBA Draft lottery picks next season. In its mock 2011 projections, the Web site NBADraft.net had Knight taken third and Kanter 10th.

"But it doesn't really matter anyway," Telep said when asked if UK could match the Wall-Cousins class. "Because here's the deal: If Kanter and Knight are who Kentucky signs, you did the best you possibly could given the talent pool and what's out there. You achieved your goal. You lost two guys. You replaced them with two of the best guys you possibly could.

"Comparing them is for people sitting around offices who have too much time on their hands."

UK's other recruiting targets this signing period include guard Josh Selby, wing Doron Lamb and forwards C.J. Leslie, Terrence Jones, Luke Cothron and Marcus Thornton.

If Knight commits to Kentucky, the recruiting analysts believe Selby will look for another school. "Both those guys want to be the man," Meyer said.

Lamb might be a long shot. "West Virginia needs to replace guys, too," Telep said. "That's the guy they've targeted."

No one seems as sure with the forwards. Jones, a native of Portland, Ore., has several Far West options to consider: UCLA, Washington and Oregon, plus Oklahoma and UK.

Leslie, a former teammate of Wall's at Word of God Academy in Raleigh, N.C., is also considering nearby North Carolina State, plus Florida and Connecticut.

Meyer saw Thornton, who withdrew his commitment from Clemson when Oliver Purnell left the school for De-Paul, as a good fit for Kentucky.

"Very athletic (with) a college-ready body," Meyer said. "He'd be a very, very good get for Kentucky. He's not going to be a one-and-done guy."

However the spring signing period unfolds, Kentucky should be sufficiently re-armed, the analysts said. Telep saw the addition of Knight to Kanter and Poole as the makings of a top-five national class.

Meyer did not put a numerical ranking on Kentucky's class with or without specific prospects.

"They're going to have a good class," he said. "I don't know if it will be an epic class."

Led by Wall and Cousins, Kentucky had an epic class last year, Meyer said.

"We might not see a class like that again in a long time."

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