Next Cats: Where Calipari stands with undecided 2014 recruits

broberts@herald-leader.comJanuary 22, 2014 

Myles Turner

John Calipari has already built one of the top recruiting classes for 2014 — No. 2 in the country in most rankings — but Kentucky is looking to add one or two more players for next season.

The current class consists of five-star post players Karl Towns Jr. and Trey Lyles, and four-star guards Tyler Ulis and Devin Booker. Calipari has said he would like at least one more player on the perimeter in that group.

Here's a closer look at where things stand with the basketball class of 2014 and the remaining potential prospects for Kentucky.

Myles Turner

Height, position: 7-0, center

Hometown: Euless, Texas

Rankings: Rivals: 6; Scout: 2; ESPN: 2; 24/7 Sports: 7.

Update: Turner is the No. 1 available player, and some analysts say he could be the best player in the senior class. UK is among his final seven or eight schools, but the Cats have some stiff competition.

Turner has taken an official visit to Ohio State and is scheduled for an official visit to Oklahoma State in a couple of weeks. UK will try to get him on campus for one of his three remaining visits, which will happen after his high school season. The Cats remain in the mix, but Lexington seems an unlikely landing spot for Turner.

The UK frontcourt next season is likely to consist of Towns, Lyles, Dakari Johnson and Marcus Lee — all players who will play primarily in the post. It's more likely that Turner will stay in Big 12 country, with Kansas, Oklahoma State and Texas looking like the favorites.

Rashad Vaughn

Height, position: 6-5, shooting guard

Hometown: Robbinsdale, Minn.

Rankings: Rivals: 7; Scout: 13; ESPN: 17; 24/7 Sports: 12.

Update: Vaughn, who is playing his senior season at Findlay Prep in Nevada, has taken official visits to UNLV and Iowa State — the two perceived favorites — and is scheduled for an official trip to North Carolina next month. He said over the weekend that he will take an official trip to UK, but that visit hasn't been finalized.

It looks as if one of those four schools will be his college destination. Vaughn has said he would like to make his decision in February or March, but it wouldn't be a surprise if he waited until after the season to see what Andrew and Aaron Harrison do. If the twins go pro, UK could be a major player in Vaughn's recruitment.

If the twins stay, the Cats will be in good shape with a guard rotation that consists of the Harrisons, Dominique Hawkins, Booker and Ulis.

Montaque Gill-Caesar

Height, position: 6-6, small forward

Hometown: Vaughan, Ontario

Rankings (Class of 2015): Rivals: 24; Scout: 18; ESPN: 19; 24/7 Sports: 35.

Update: Gill-Caesar is contemplating a move to the class of 2014 and has set no timetable for that decision. If he does reclassify, the Huntington (W.Va.) Prep star will have a UK scholarship offer.

Gill-Caesar is a do-everything type of player who can carve out a role on any team, so what UK's current players decide to do probably will have little impact on his decision or UK's interest level.

The prediction here is that Gill-Caesar will join the class of 2014, but that doesn't necessarily make UK a lock for his commitment. He's legitimately interested in Michigan State, Kansas, West Virginia and several other schools.

It wouldn't be a surprise if he played for any of those programs next season.

Torian Graham

Height, position: 6-4, shooting guard

Hometown: Raleigh, N.C.

Rankings: Not rated.

Update: Graham and two teammates were arrested last week and were suspended indefinitely from the Chipola (Fla.) junior college team. Graham was seen as a backup plan for UK even before that. He almost certainly won't be a realistic option for the Wildcats now.

Other prospects

The only other uncommitted player in the Scout.com Top 100 is Huntington Prep guard JaQuan Lyle, who isn't being recruited by Kentucky.

Australian point guard Dante Exum lists UK in his final five, but he is projected to be a top-five pick in this year's NBA Draft and is widely expected to skip college and go straight to the pros.

Kentucky has expressed some interest in Egyptian big man Anas Osama Mahmoud — currently playing high school ball in Florida — but he seems like a long shot to join the Wildcats.

If UK adds anyone to its recruiting class who is not on this list, it's likely to be a transfer with immediate eligibility or a currently committed or signed player who backs out of his pledge because of a coaching change.

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

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