LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky men’s basketball team has had some stellar recruiting classes under ninth-year head coach John Calipari (pictured). The 2017 haul may be its best ever, according to the recruiting experts.
The Recruiting Services Consensus Index, which tallies major recruiting rankings and plugs them into a formula to calculate a consensus ranking, not only rated UK’s 2017 class the best of the season – it measures this group as the best ever.
With 592 points in its recruiting calculations, this 2017 Kentucky group beat out another Wildcat class – the 2013 haul – to claim the title as the best recruiting class ever. That 2013 group had 557 points and consisted of Julius Randle, Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, Dakari Johnson, James Young, Marcus Lee and Derek Willis. The RSCI rankings began in 1998.
The 2017 class consists of Kevin Knox (No. 9), Jarred Vanderbilt (No. 12), P.J. Washington (No. 14), Nick Richards (No. 17), Quade Green (No. 22), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (No. 29), Hamidou Diallo (No. 45) and Jamarl Baker (No. 68).
The RSCI includes individual player rankings from all of the major recruiting services, which this season featured Rivals, Scout, 247Sports and longtime recruiting analyst Van Coleman. The RSCI formula uses each of those services’ rankings (only the top 100) players to assign a point value to each recruit. Using the point totals for all the five major services, it then adds the totals for all players in a class for the team’s final score.
Each of those recruiting services ranked this Kentucky class No. 1.
UK has ranked No. 1 in the RSCI in seven of Calipari’s nine classes at Kentucky. During that period, the Wildcats have ranked no worse than No. 3 in the RSCI calculations.
RSCI notes in its calculations for this season that the Wildcats’ numbers could have been even higher because of the reclassification of Diallo, who enrolled at UK in January but did not play in the spring and will be considered a freshman in 2017-18. Because of that, two of the recruiting services RSCI pulls from consider him a class of 2016 signee, and therefore Diallo did not garner points for the 2017 class.
Kentucky’s signing class will certainly be put into action in 2017-18. Although UK has had to annually reload its roster in recent seasons, the upcoming team will be Calipari’s most inexperienced yet.
With five underclassmen entering their names in the NBA Draft (De’Aaron Fox, Isaiah Briscoe, Bam Adebayo, Malik Monk and Isaac Humphries) and three graduating seniors (Dominique Hawkins, Mychal Mulder and Derek Willis), Kentucky will be tasked with replacing 92.6 percent of its scoring and 76.6 percent of its rebounding from its 2016-17 production.
Photo by Jamie H. Vaught