By: Jeffrey Reynolds Sports Editor
May 16, 2013
Many Kentucky Wildcat fans were upset that Huntington Prep’s Andrew Wiggins chose Kansas over UK.
But, they still have six high school All-Americans coming in next season. Most recruiting services had John Calipari’s incoming freshmen class as the top group in the country.
Plus UK has a few quality players returning for next season.
Kansas moved up to No. 2 with the commitment of Wiggins to Bill Self and the Jayhawks. Unless you’ve been on a deserted island, you know that Wiggins was ranked as the top recruit in the land.
You never know how some of these players will turn out. Many times recruits can flop. Wiggins is probably a “can’t miss” recruit.
Still, the Wildcats Calipari will have the nation’s No. 1 power forward in Julius Randle, a top point guard in Andrew Harrison, a top shooting guard Aaron Harrison and center Dakari Johnson as well as the No. 4 ranked small forward James Young. (The Harrison’s are twins.)
The Cats also got 4-star rated big man Marcus Lee, ranked in the top 15, and a couple of the top in-state prospects in Derek Willis of Bullitt East and Dominique Hawkins of Madison Central.
So I think Kentucky will be just fine.
Changing over to my West Virginia Mountaineers, they have the 22nd ranked recruiting class in the land. That’s not bad and I think the last couple of JUCO pick-ups will really help WVU right away.
The Mounties had a tough season last year. But I’m sure Bob Huggins will turn that around this year.
Huggins got two 4-star recruits in Elijah Macon and Devin Williams, and four 3-star recruits in Nathan Adrian (of Morgantown), Brandon Watkins, and the two recent recruits in Remi Dibo and Jonathan Holton.
Coaches can also develop players and bring them along. The “ranking” many of these players get in high school by the so-called experts is not always correct.
These recruiting services cannot take into account a players heart or how hard a kid will work to improve. Put them with a good coaching staff and many of these players will surprise.
The big thing these days for the top recruits is that most of the time they are one and done. If they are good enough, they will enter the NBA draft.
But, if you can keep a kid for four years – great things can happen. A good example is former WVU player DeSean Butler. He became an All-American and led the Mountaineers to an upset over Kentucky in the Elite Eight and into the Final Four.
Kevin Jones stayed for four years at WVU and also became an All-American. He is now playing with the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers. Butler would have likely had a solid pro career if not for a devastating knee injury in the Final Four. (He later reinjured the knee while playing in the development league.)
College basketball fans have fun with the recruiting services. While listening to sports talk radio show, some UK fans were literally sick at their stomach waiting on Wiggin’s decision.
But believe me when I tell you - the sun still comes up the next day. If your school doesn’t get every top prospect, sometimes it works out for the best.
Many times there are not enough basketballs to go around if you get too many all-star players on one team. The team chemistry is just not there.
Sure, you need good players to win. But there is so much more to the game than getting a kid with three stars or four stars. Sometimes a kid comes from off the radar and develops into a great player.
It will be interesting next season to see how things turn out. Many believe that UK will still win a national championship and others think Kansas now has a good chance for a title.
Either way, college basketball fans – especially those diehard Kentucky supporters – will have fun watching their team compete. I’ll have just as much fun watching my Mountaineers.
A lot of things can happen between now and next March. Talk to me in April 2014 and we’ll see how it all turns out.
(Kyle Lovern is the sports editor for the Williamson Daily News. Comments or story ideas can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com)