John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats have quite a run going: five straight recruiting classes with at least one 5-star guard. The Wildcats currently have one commitment for 2014, Karl Towns Jr., a 7-1 center from New Jersey. The hardest thing to predict about this Kentucky class is not if any guards will end up in Lexington, but rather which guards will wear the blue and white next season.
Ulis is expected to pick Kentucky Friday night.
The Wildcats lost PG Emmanuel Mudiay, the top overall point guard in the class of 2014, to SMU last month. But as expected, Kentucky has other options to choose from. They have offered 4-star point guard Tyler Ulis, who is rated as the 4th best player in the state of Illinois by the 247Sports composite rankings.
Kentucky has also offered 4-star shooting guard Devin Booker, the top player in the state of Mississippi, and shooting guard James Blackmon Jr, the third best player in the state of Indiana by the 247Sports composite rankings.
Ulis and Booker have spoken numerous times about playing together somewhere next season, but stress that they aren’t a definite package deal.
Ulis, who will announce his college decision Friday night, has a crystal ball that is 100 percent Kentucky, while Booker’s is 74 percent in favor of the Wildcats, to just 26 percent Michigan.
Five star shooting guard Rashad Vaughn is still a top target for Calipari, but as of now, plans to wait and make his decision in the spring. It will be interesting to see if the Wildcats wait for Vaughn, or if they go ahead and pull the trigger on Booker and Blackmon.
“He looks at all things,” said Vaughn’s coach and mentor Pete Caffey. “Anybody would. Some of the other recruits are ranked just as high as him. You got to look at that. It’s not like he doesn’t like competition, but Rashad is one of those guys that likes to play the 1, 2 or the 3 position. I know he is looking at that. He is also a winner and a competitor. He wants to be in the best position to win a championship.”
Vaughn has one of the more mixed crystal balls of any recruit in the 2014 class. Currently, no school is higher than 40 percent, with Kentucky leading at 38 percent. He is rated as the second best shooting guard in the class of 2014 by the 247Sports composite rankings.
Blackmon is very high on Kentucky, and is a better defender than Booker, but the Wildcats have room to take two shooting guards in the 2014 class, and will likely need them if Aaron Harrison leaves early for the NBA. Still, Vaughn has the size and scoring ability of an NBA two-guard, and could be worth waiting on until the spring signing period.
“I like Kentucky a lot,” said Blackmon. “It’s a big stage and a challenge. I will be taking my official visit there on October 18th, the day of Big Blue Madness.”
Blackmon’s crystal ball is currently 97 percent Kentucky, with the other three percent going to Indiana.
At this point, there is no guarantee that Kentucky will sign a 5-star guard in this class. Tyus Jones is still available and has an offer from the Wildcats, but Jones appears to be high on Duke. Jones will visit Kentucky on September 27th. As of now, the Wildcats are looking at getting some top 4-star guards, rather than any five stars at all in the backcourt. How this will impact the Wildcats is still to be determined.