For the second year in a row, the Derby Festival Classic is in danger of tipping off without a future Kentucky Wildcat.
Rosters for the April 6 all-star game in Louisville were released Thursday and boasted plenty of talent, but no UK signees. Two Kentucky recruiting targets, Devonta Pollard and Amile Jefferson, were among the 20 players selected.
UK signees Alex Poythress and Archie Goodwin are not eligible to play in the event after accepting invitations to participate in the McDonald's All-American Game and Jordan Brand Classic. The NCAA prohibits high school seniors from playing in more than two all-star games.
Willie Cauley, UK's other signee, was also absent from the list despite being left off the McDonald's and Jordan rosters. Derby Classic organizers said Thursday that there was the "potential to add two more players if we see fit." Cauley and Kentucky target Nerlens Noel had been mentioned as possible Derby Classic participants before Thursday's announcement.
Cauley was selected Thursday to play in the All-American Championship on Final Four weekend in New Orleans. UK commitment and Bullitt East standout Derek Willis, a junior, will also play in that event.
Noel, ranked by some services as the No. 1 recruit in the class of 2012, was also left off the McDonald's and Jordan rosters after announcing that he would reclassify from 2013. He visited Kentucky last month and is also considering Syracuse, North Carolina, UConn and Georgetown.
Pollard, a five-star forward from De Kalb, Miss., is still looking at several schools and could visit Kentucky before making a decision. Jefferson, a Top 50 forward from Philadelphia, is also considering Duke, N.C. State, Ohio State and Villanova.
Last year's Derby Classic was the first in 38 years that did not include a future Kentucky player. The biggest draw in that game — from a UK perspective — was Trevor Lacey. The then-Wildcat recruit had a disappointing showing, scoring just five points, and committed to home-state Alabama a month later.
This year's lineup does include five McDonald's All-Americans and Steven Adams, a Pittsburgh signee ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 4 player in the class of 2012. The five McDonald's players are Pollard, Jefferson, N.C. State signees T.J. Warren and Tyler Lewis, and Oklahoma State signee Marcus Smart.
Also selected were point guard Terry Rozier, Louisville's lone signee for 2012, and Indiana signees Jeremy Hollowell, Hanner Perea and Ron Patterson.
The Derby Classic will return to Freedom Hall this year after a one-year stint in the KFC Yum Center. The game was forced from the Yum Center due to a new NCAA rule prohibiting non-scholastic events from being played on a college campus or a school's main practice/playing facility.
Tickets are available through Ticketmaster and the Freedom Hall box office (502) 367-5144.