The best class of high school boys' basketball players produced in the state of Kentucky in the 21st century was 2008.
In Darius Miller, Shelvin Mack and Scotty Hopson, that class yielded three NBA players. It also produced four college Final Four trips (two for Miller at Kentucky, two for Mack at Butler) and one NCAA championship (Miller with UK in 2012).
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I'm not projecting that the state of Kentucky's crop of rising high school seniors will generate three future NBA players. But, overall, the class of 2019 does look like the most talented group of in-state basketball players since 2008.
"I think that's right," said Allen Feldhaus Jr., the veteran Madison Central High School coach. "I think there will be six, seven Division I players come out of this class. That doesn't happen every year in Kentucky. It used to, but it doesn't anymore."
Alas, it seems a harsh reality of basketball in Kentucky in the 21st century that even one of our top in-state classes is not certain to produce players that the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville will sign.
So far, the in-state player with the most impressive offer sheet is high-scoring (30.5 points a game as a junior) University Heights Academy guard KyKy Tandy. The 6-foot-1 Tandy holds scholarship offers from Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Kansas State and Cincinnati, among many others.
What he does not yet have is an offer from either UK or U of L.
Pendleton County wing Dontaie Allen (31.8 ppg, 11.4 rebounds) was tabbed by a 24/7 Sports national recruiting analyst as one of the "breakout performers" of this spring's second college recruiting evaluation period.
Allen's recruiting buzz in-state rose substantially early last month when Kentucky assistant Joel Justus traveled to Falmouth to watch the 6-6 star work out. New Louisville Coach Chris Mack made a trip to scout Allen in AAU play last weekend.
So far, Allen also does not have an offer from either the Cats or the Cards.
"We haven't had a lot of contact with UK since Joel Justus came up here," Pendleton County Coach Keaton Belcher said Thursday. "Dontaie has an invitation to make an unofficial visit (to UK) and play pickup (games vs. Kentucky players) in June, and I know he plans to do that."
The Trinity standout was previously committed to Louisville under the Rick Pitino coaching staff, but de-committed after U of L was implicated in the FBI investigation of corruption in men's college basketball recruiting.
The current Crystal Ball projections are now 100 percent that Johnson, who averaged 13.9 ppg and 5.8 rpg last season, will again pick U of L.
Lexington Christian guard Kyle Rode, Scott County forward Michael Moreno and Madison Central big man Isaiah Cozart are also being ardently recruited out of Kentucky's class of 2019 by Division I schools.
The 6-foot-7 Cozart, a shot-blocking force whose offensive skills are still developing, just picked up an offer from Ohio Valley Conference power Belmont, Feldhaus Jr. said.
Given the uncertainty that hangs over the Louisville program due to the unclear NCAA ramifications of the FBI investigation, it may prove difficult for Mack to lure out-of-state players to U of L. One way to compensate could be with in-state prospects.
In the John Calipari era, Kentucky has recruited on a national scale at a dominant level. As a result, UK has not signed an in-state player since Derek Willis and Dominique Hawkins in the class of 2013.
That segment of Kentucky fans who yearn for more in-state presence on UK teams — and believe that home-grown players could help UK create more veterans on its annually youthful rosters — would like for that to change with the class of 2019.
UK seems to "slow play" in-state recruits. That approach alienated class of 2017 Paul Laurence Dunbar star Taveion Hollingsworth and does not seem to be playing especially well now with the father of UHA's Tandy.
Pendleton County's Allen may be leaning to signing in the spring, not the fall early-signing period, Belcher says. Waiting could boost his chances of landing a UK offer.
What is certain is it will be disappointing if even one of our state's strongest 21st century classes of high school players can't put some players onto the rosters at UK and U of L.
Mark Story: 859-231-3230; Twitter: @markcstory