For the seventh time in nine recruiting cycles under Coach John Calipari, the Kentucky Wildcats have the No. 1 incoming class in the country.
By one measure, this signing class is Calipari’s best at UK.
The RSCI has been computing consensus recruiting rankings since 1998, and its numbers include individual player rankings from all of the major recruiting services. For the class of 2017, the RSCI took rankings from Rivals.com, Scout.com, ESPN, 247Sports and longtime recruiting analyst Van Coleman.
Calipari’s eight-player class trumped all others, and this year’s incoming group of Wildcats is responsible for the highest total recruiting score in the history of the RSCI, which assigns a point value to each recruit based on his overall consensus ranking, then adds the totals for all players in a class for the team’s final score.
The Cats’ class of 2017 replaced UK’s 2013 class as the “best” — according to overall point total — in RSCI history. That 2013 class also had eight signees: McDonald’s All-Americans Aaron Harrison, Andrew Harrison, Dakari Johnson, Marcus Lee, Julius Randle and James Young, as well as in-state starts Dominique Hawkins and Derek Willis.
Kevin Knox is the highest-ranked player in this year’s UK class, coming in at No. 9 overall in the final RSCI rankings. This is only the second time in Calipari’s tenure at UK that the Cats did not get a top-five RSCI recruit. The other such occurrence was last year, when De’Aaron Fox was the highest-ranked UK signee at No. 6 overall.
UK’s other 2017 signees are Jarred Vanderbilt (No. 12 overall in the RSCI rankings), PJ Washington (No. 14), Nick Richards (No. 17), Quade Green (No. 22), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (No. 29), Hamidou Diallo (No. 45) and Jemarl Baker (No. 68).
Diallo’s ranking was affected by the decisions of Rivals.com and ESPN to remove him from their class of 2017 rankings. He enrolled in classes at UK in January but did not play for the Wildcats this past season. Scout.com, 247Sports and Van Coleman all kept him in the 2017 class, and all of those services rated Diallo as the No. 10 overall recruit nationally.
UK’s total RSCI overall score would have been even higher had Diallo been included in the final Rivals and ESPN rankings.
Following UK in the final RSCI team rankings are Duke, UCLA, Texas, Arizona, Alabama, Missouri, Louisville, Western Kentucky and Kansas.
Missouri signee Michael Porter Jr. nabbed the No. 1 overall player ranking, followed by Arizona’s DeAndre Ayton, Texas’ Mohamed Bamba, Duke’s Trevon Duval and Alabama’s Collin Sexton.
Western Kentucky signee Mitchell Robinson is ranked No. 7 overall.
Malik Williams is currently Louisville’s top-ranked signee at No. 24 overall. Brian Bowen, who is expected to commit to U of L on Saturday, is No. 15 overall.
UK has had the No. 1-ranked RSCI class in every year except for 2014 and 2015, when Duke held the top spot.