For now, UK has No. 1 recruiting class in 2014

broberts@herald-leader.comNovember 12, 2013 

The early signing period for college basketball begins Wednesday, and Kentucky will start it off in its regular spot at the top of the recruiting rankings.

UK's class of Trey Lyles, Karl Towns Jr., Tyler Ulis and Devin Booker is ranked No. 1 in the country by Scout.com. All four of those prospects are expected to sign with the Wildcats during the early period, which ends Nov. 20.

By that date, UK is unlikely to still hold the No. 1 spot.

Former Kentucky recruiting targets Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones are scheduled to announce their college decisions Friday afternoon, and the two top-five prospects have long-held plans to attend the same school. The three programs remaining on both players' lists are Duke, Kansas and Baylor.

Okafor never officially cut UK from consideration, but he is no longer thought to be considering the Wildcats. Jones dropped UK after the commitment of Ulis, a fellow point guard.

Scout.com national analyst Evan Daniels told the Herald-Leader on Tuesday that Duke or Kansas would move to No. 1 in the class rankings if either school gets both Okafor and Jones. The Blue Devils and Jayhawks are considered the two favorites for that "package deal."

UK is unlikely to add to its 2014 class before the end of this month's signing period.

The Cats' top remaining target is California small forward Stanley Johnson, who reiterated this week his plan to wait until January before making a decision.

UK is also recruiting Texas center Myles Turner and Huntington Prep small forward Montaque Gill-Caesar, who is officially in the Class of 2015 but is a candidate to reclassify in order to play college basketball next season.

Neither Turner nor Gill-Caesar is expected to make a decision anytime soon.

NCAA rules forbid John Calipari or any of his assistants from publicly commenting on UK's four commitments until they have actually signed with the school.

UK is not expected to release any statements about the future Wildcats until all four have submitted their signed paperwork.

UK women's coach Matthew Mitchell will also keep an eye on the fax machine.

Mitchell has three commitments for the Class of 2014 — highly touted post players Alexis Jennings and Alyssa Rice and three-star wing Jaycee Coe — and all three prospects are expected to sign with the Wildcats on Wednesday.

Bret McCormick of the All-Star Girls Report ranks Jennings at No. 35 in the class with Rice at No. 44. He considers Coe the No. 195 senior in the country.

High school players who don't sign during the early period can still commit to a program at any time, but they will not be able to officially sign with their school until the regular period begins April 16.

Ben Roberts: (859) 231-3216. Twitter: @NextCats. Blog: ukrecruiting.bloginky.com.

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