The SigneesThe question markUK recruiting

UK has another All-Star recruiting year

broberts@herald-leader.comMarch 27, 2011 

  • The targets

    As always, John Calipari is expected to bring in several elite recruits from the class of 2012. Here are some of his top targets:

    Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown (Rivals, Scout, ESPN ranking)

    Kyle Anderson, G/F, 6-8, 215, Newark, N.J. (5, 21, 25)

    Nicknamed "Slow Motion" because of his deliberate game, Anderson can play every position from point guard to power forward.

    Brandon Ashley, F, 6-8, 200, Oakland, Calif. (6, 5, 7)

    A talented post player with a knack for rebounding and finishing around the basket, Ashley is also a former AAU teammate of Kyle Wiltjer.

    Omar Calhoun, G, 6-4, 185, Brooklyn, N.Y. (67, 67, 57)

    The latest in the line of great point guards to come out of New York, Calhoun is also big enough (and talented enough) to play the '2'.

    Dajuan Coleman, C, 6-9, 290, Syracuse, N.Y. (8, 6, 2)

    Calipari wants Coleman so badly that he flew to New York to see him play Sunday despite still being alive in the NCAA Tournament.

    Andre Drummond, C, 6-11, 270, Oakdale, Conn. (1, 1, 1)

    The consensus No. 1 player in the class, Drummond lists UK with six other schools, though UConn has long been considered his favorite.

    Perry Ellis, F, 6-8, 210, Wichita, Kan. (19, 26, 16)

    One of UK's first recruiting targets in this class, Ellis recently won his third straight state title and state player of the year award.

    Archie Goodwin, G, 6-5, 180, Little Rock, Ark. (18, 18, 17)

    The best high school player in Arkansas since NBA star Joe Johnson, Goodwin's choice will likely come down to the Cats and Razorbacks.

    Torian Graham, G, 6-4, 170, Durham, N.C. (26, 75, 46)

    A combo-guard from the same high school as John Wall, Graham has already visited Rupp and said Saturday that UK was his top school.

    Ricardo Ledo, G, 6-5, 175, Barrington, R.I. (7, 7, 11)

    Ledo's travels (four high schools) and his de-commitment from Providence have overshadowed his talent.

    Shabazz Muhammad, G/F, 6-5, 190, Las Vegas (3, 3, 5)

    UK's top target for 2012, Muhammad is a highly skilled lefty with a game perfectly suited for Calipari's dribble-drive style of play.

    L.J. Rose, G, 6-3, 175, Houston, (28, 13, 21)

    The top available point guard in the class, Rose is high on UK but he's also being heavily recruited by Kansas, Texas and Baylor.

    Kaleb Tarczewski, C, 7-0, 220, Southborough, Mass. (13, 9, 8)

    A true center with a lot of untapped potential, Tarczewski already had a lot of national interest before UK jumped in a few months ago.

  • On Kentucky.com

    Visit our Recruiting page for updates on UK recruits in the upcoming series of all-star games. Ben Roberts will tweet live on this week's Powerade Jam Fest and the McDonald's All-American Game.

  • Ben Roberts produces the Herald-Leader's Next Cats recruiting Web site on Kentuckysports.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/NextCats.

  • The games

    Powerade Jam Fest

    Where: Chicago

    When: Monday, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN2)

    McDonald's All-American Game

    Where: Chicago

    When: Wednesday, 10 p.m. (ESPN)

    Nike Hoop Summit

    Where: Portland, Ore.

    When: April 9, 10 p.m. (FSN)

    Jordan Brand Classic

    Where: Charlotte, N.C.

    When: April 16, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)

    Derby Festival Classic

    Where: Louisville

    When: April 22, 7 p.m. (TV TBA)

High school basketball season might be over, but there will be no rest for the members of the University of Kentucky's No. 1 recruiting class anytime soon.

Next week tips off a whirlwind month of All-Star games, news conferences and recruiting trips that will give fans a clearer look at the newest bunch of Cats, and UK coaches a clearer picture of who exactly will be on their 2011-12 roster.

There will be plenty of opportunities to watch Michael Gilchrist, Marquis Teague, Anthony Davis and Kyle Wiltjer show off their talents on television over the next few weeks. There will also be plenty of off-the-court news as John Calipari rounds out the remainder of a class that is almost certain to grow before the summer ends.

McDonald'sAll-American Game

The fun begins Monday night with the Powerade Jam Fest, an event that includes a skills challenge, three-point contest and the ever-entertaining slam-dunk contest. Teague seems like a natural to participate in the skills challenge, and other UK recruits could also be involved.

Wednesday night brings the main event, which pits Gilchrist on the East team against Teague, Davis and Wiltjer on the West. Louisville signees Chane Behanan (East) and Wayne Blackshear (West) will also play.

Nike Hoop Summit

Ten days later, UK's signees will move from Chicago to Portland, Ore., to play in the Nike Hoop Summit. This time it will be Wiltjer who's on his own. The Portland native, who holds dual citizenship in Canada, will anchor the World Select Team against the U.S. squad led by the other three future Cats.

Enes Kanter stole the show at last year's Hoop Summit, breaking Dirk Nowitzki's scoring record on his way to a 34-point, 13-rebound performance. There were rumors he would play again this year, but it doesn't look like that will happen.

Jordan Brand Classic

UK's four signees caught some flak last month for choosing to play in this April 16 all-star game in Charlotte, N.C., instead of the local Derby Festival. But the annual Jordan event has become just as big as McDonald's among recruits over the past few years. This year's edition is no different, with a lineup that might even be better than the McDonald's game.

Gilchrist and Teague will be matched on the East team, while Davis and Wiltjer will join three Southeastern Conference recruits — Johnny O'Bryant (LSU), Brad Beal (Florida) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Georgia) — on the West side.

Derby Festival Classic

This could be the first time in 38 years that no future Cat plays in the Louisville event. Trevor Lacey is on the roster, but he might opt for a game in Chicago instead. The biggest news out of this one could come from Braeden Anderson, a UK target who is planning to announce his college decision at the Derby Classic. Anderson also has Kansas, UCLA, Mississippi State and Arizona at the top of his list.Calipari's wild card

With Calipari on the recruiting trail, the unexpected becomes the norm. Last year, he deflected criticism of UK's Elite Eight loss to West Virginia by locking up Michael Gilchrist, seemingly out of the blue.

This year, there are still a few remaining class of 2011 players not named Trevor Lacey on the Cats' radar. Anderson, a senior post player from Canada, and junior college power forwards Stan Simpson and God's Gift Achiuwa are all interested in coming to Lexington.

Anderson recently got out of his letter of intent from DePaul and then attended a game in Rupp Arena. He's waiting until the season ends to officially visit Lexington.

Simpson, who played one season at Illinois before transferring to a junior college, has constantly said UK is his No. 1 choice, but he hasn't yet received an offer from the Cats. Kansas, UConn and Memphis have all offered the 6-foot-10 Chicago native.

Achiuwa, the 6-foot-9 Nigerian-born son of a minister, is probably UK's third choice among the three. He averaged 23 points and 12 rebounds this season for Erie Community College.

Then there's DeAndre Daniels, the No. 9-ranked player in the country according to Rivals.com. Daniels backed out of a commitment to Texas and now finds himself the top-rated recruit without a home for next season. He's recently said that UK remains on his short list (with Duke, Texas, Kansas and San Diego State), but there is some question as to whether he even has a scholarship offer from Calipari. The odds of him ending up a Wildcat seem slim.

And there's always the possibility that Calipari pulls a recruit out of his hat when you least expect it. Highly touted 2012 star Shabazz Muhammad seems the most likely candidate to join the Cats early, but he's also being heavily recruited by Duke, North Carolina and UCLA, among others.

Whatever happens over the next few weeks, it's becoming clear that Kentucky basketball will know no off-season as long as Calipari is in command.

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