Originally posted on StraitPinkie.com  |  Last updated 10/28/13
John Calipari’s 2014 class consists of only two players, and Kentucky’s recruiting class is ranked 14th best in the nation according to 247sports.com. Kentucky fans have very painful memories resulting from a step back in recruiting. While the 2012 class was still ranked No. 1 in the nation, the players involved had their struggles at the next level. Only two players in that class were “one-and-done”, and Archie Goodwin’s decision was very questionable at the time. Add in the fact that both Willie Cauley-Stein and Alex Poythress really needed another season in Lexington, and the 2012 class just doesn’t hold a flame to Calipari’s other recruiting hauls. Many Kentucky fans are now wondering if the Big Blue Nation is headed for another disappointing season after their current crop of 2013 recruits makes their run for a national title. The staples of a John Calipari recruiting class have been No.1 rankings, 5-star recruits and huge upsides. Tyler Ulis is not the No. 1 ranked point guard, not the No. 1 player in his state and not a 5-star recruit. Karl Towns is more “normal” of a recruit with his 5-star ranking and No. 1 player in his state of New Jersey. Numbers and rankings are not everything, but Kentucky fans are not used to this kind of recruiting since John Calipari arrived. 2014 shooting guard Devin Booker has become vital to the success of the future for Kentucky. Most believe that Booker is going to be deciding between Missouri and Kentucky as his future college destination. If you asked me a couple of weeks ago, I would have said Booker was almost a lock to Kentucky. After his official visit, he was definitely feeling the love. He took another visit just a few days ago to attend a ceremony honoring Missouri’s only undefeated conference team, which was led by his father Melvin Booker in 1994. As the days go by, the more I believe Booker is slipping away from Kentucky. The early rumors had him coming as a packaged deal with point guard Tyler Ulis. I have not heard anything about that deal in a very long time, and I think it’s not a factor anymore. I even noticed Devin Booker commenting about Missouri’s shocking double-overtime loss to South Carolina in football via his Twitter account. He seems to tweet the most about Missouri, is watching Tigers football and his dad was a star at the school. The Tigers also play a system that allows their guards to score most of the points. Those who say Kentucky is the clear cut leader have not been following the situation very closely. The only true knock on the Wildcats is their recruitment of fellow shooting guard James Blackmon Jr. Kentucky appears to be the front-runner for Blackmon Jr. after his decommitment from Indiana. As I’m sure you know, Blackmon Sr. played at Kentucky and there is no indication his footsteps will not be followed. Can Booker and Blackmon Jr. coexist? Yes! John Calipari has made it very clear that Blackmon Jr. is being recruited as a combo point/shooting guard. Think of John Wall/Eric Bledsoe in 2010, Booker/Blackmon Jr. can be the same situation. Kentucky appeared to be the leader for Emmanuel Mudiay, and he’s going to SMU. Top center prospect Jahlil Okafor cut Kentucky from his list. The No.2 point guard (behind Mudiay) Tyus Jones has cut Kentucky. The Wildcats also missed on Kelly Oubre, who’s going to Kansas. The 2014 recruiting class can still be dynamite, but a lot of things have to fall Kentucky’s way in a very short time.
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