UK Men's Basketball

Final basketball recruiting rankings say UK, not Duke, has the No. 1 class for 2016

UK signee Bam Adebayo, left, Duke signee Marques Bolden battled for a rebound at the Jordan Brand Classic in Brooklyn on April 15.
UK signee Bam Adebayo, left, Duke signee Marques Bolden battled for a rebound at the Jordan Brand Classic in Brooklyn on April 15. AP

The University of Kentucky basketball program has the No. 1 recruiting class in the country once again, according to the final rankings released this weekend by the Recruiting Services Consensus Index.

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 2016, the RSCI took rankings from Rivals.com, Scout.com, ESPN, 247Sports, PrepStars and longtime recruiting analyst Van Coleman.

The result was UK’s sixth No. 1 recruiting class under Coach John Calipari and the program’s first such group since 2013.

The Wildcats edged Duke for the top spot, despite the Blue Devils beating out UK for the late commitment of No. 1 center Marques Bolden. Duke had earned the No. 1 team ranking from RSCI in each of the past two years.

Though the Cats are back in the No. 1 spot, this is the first year since Calipari arrived in Lexington that UK has not signed a top-five recruit, according to the RSCI rankings.

Incoming point guard De’Aaron Fox is the No. 6 overall prospect in the final composite rankings, and he was placed in that spot by five of the six individual recruiting services included for the consensus.

The top five recruits for 2016 are, in order, Kansas signee Josh Jackson, Duke signee Harry Giles, UCLA signee Lonzo Ball, Duke signee Jayson Tatum and Washington signee Markelle Fultz. Ball and Tatum tied for the No. 3 spot.

The other UK signees in the final rankings are Bam Adebayo (No. 8), Malik Monk (No. 9), Wenyen Gabriel (No. 13) and Sacha Killeya-Jones (No. 21).

This is the fourth time in eight classes under Calipari that UK has had at least three top-10 players, and it’s the second time in that span that the Cats have signed at least five top-25 recruits in a single class.

UK’s recruiting class of 2013 included six McDonald’s All-Americans, all ranked in the top 20 by the RSCI.

Following UK and Duke in the team rankings were, in order, Michigan State, Arizona, UCLA, Texas, Virginia, North Carolina, Kansas and UConn.

Rivals.com and ESPN ranked UK’s class of 2016 as the best in the nation, while Scout.com and 247Sports gave that honor to Duke.

Title defense falls short

UK freshman Tai Wynyard led New Zealand to the semifinals of the FIBA U18 3-on-3 world championships Sunday, but the squad’s title defense ended there with a loss to Qatar.

Wynyard, the MVP of last year’s event, scored 63 points in seven games this week, making him the third-highest scorer of the tournament. The 3-on-3 games are played by ones and twos, with the winner being the first team to reach 21 points.

New Zealand lost to Italy in the third-place game, while Qatar went on to defeat Brazil for the championship.

Wynyard — a 6-foot-10 power forward — enrolled at UK in January but did not make an appearance with the team during the season. He will be a freshman for the Wildcats in 2016-17.

Full house for Peach Jam

Nike announced Sunday that Houston Hoops will be one of the four wild-card qualifiers for next month’s Peach Jam finals, meaning all 13 of the recruits with UK scholarship offers from the class of 2017 will participate in the event.

Houston Hoops is led by Texas power forward Jarred Vanderbilt, who was one of the first players from the 2017 class to receive a UK offer. The other 12 prospects from that class with UK offers play for teams that earned automatic bids into Peach Jam due to their records during the regular season.

Five-star power forward Billy Preston also plays for Houston Hoops. Preston, who announced Friday night that he will transfer to Oak Hill Academy (Va.) for his senior season, has said repeatedly that UK would be among his top schools if he receives a scholarship offer from the Wildcats. Southern Cal is currently the favorite in his recruitment.

247Sports ranks Preston as the No. 5 overall player in the class of 2017.

Ben Roberts: 859-231-3216, @NextCats

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