Even after an offseason of multiple transfers and NBA draft declarations, Kentucky coach John Calipari’s stable will be far from bare next season with two SI All-Americans and four other SI All-American nominees arriving to campus.
The Wildcats boast the country’s No. 1 class, which is nothing new for Calipari.
Still, they’ll need the young guns to produce in order to live up to the proverbial hype— which, to be fair, is also not a new concept for Calipari.
Here’s how the top 10 recruiting classes shakes out.
Good luck stopping the Wildcats on the wing next season with two probable NBA lottery picks occupying the space. Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) shooting guard Brandon Boston and Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, New Hampshire) shooting guard Terrence Clarke will be a nightmare combo for the opposition. Kentucky also has elite and versatile forwards in Vashon's (St. Louis, Mo.) Cam'Ron Fletcher and Camden's (N.J.) Lance Ware, who should be ready to produce from day one.
Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.) point guard Jeremy Roach may be the most important player in the Blue Devils’ six-man recruiting haul after Tre Jones departed for the NBA draft. Also, Nicolet (Glendale, Wis.) wing Jalen Johnson is a versatile star on the wing with freakish athletic ability. Expect Whitney Young (Chicago) shooting guard D.J. Steward to add firepower immediately, and Duke should get productive minutes from IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) center Mark Williams and Huntington (W.Va.) Prep wing Jaemyn Brakefield.
3. North Carolina
The Tar Heels have a talented haul led by Christian Brothers (St. Louis, Mo.) point guard Caleb Love and Montverde (Fla.) Academy forward Day'Ron Sharpe. Woodward Academy (Fairburn, Ga.) center Walker Kessler should be able to step in and produce and the Tar Heels will have depth at shooting guard with Hillcrest Prep’s (Phoenix) Puff Johnson and Archbishop Stepinac's (White Plains, N.Y.) R.J. Davis in the backcourt.
The Vols have two elite scoring guards in IMG Academy’s (Bradenton, Fla.) Jaden Springer and The Webb’s (Bell Buckle, Tenn.) guard Keon Johnson. Hargrave Military Academy (Chatham, Virginia) wing Corey Walker is a versatile athlete that will contribute right away and Venice (Fla.) shooting guard Malachi Wideman is a mind-boggling athlete on the wing.
The Tigers stellar class is centered around, arguably, the most gifted scorer in high school basketball in Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) shooting guard Cameron Thomas, an SI All-American.
The Tigers will have, arguably, the top playmaker in the country at the controls next season in McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.) star Sharife Cooper. Bruce Pearl will rely heavily on Cooper’s innate ability to score and making everyone on the court better. Versatile forward J.T. Thor of Norcross (Ga.) was a key late pickup for the Tigers last week.
7. Oklahoma State
The Cowboys landed the most decorated recruit in their history in Montverde (Fla.) Academy point guard Cade Cunningham, an SI All-American first teamer. Cunningham is the V12 engine that makes all of the car’s other parts run efficiently.
The Bulldogs have their man at the controls in Minnehaha Academy (Minneapolis, Minn.) point guard Jalen Suggs; or at least they hope so. Suggs is still contemplating a jump to the pro ranks next season. If they can hold on to him, he, Liberty (Henderson, Nev.) wing Julian Strawther and Rancho Christian (Temecula, Calif.) shooting guard Dominick Harris will make for a special class.
Montverde (Fla.) Academy sharpshooter Moses Moody, Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) point guard K.K. Robinson, Northside (Fort Smith, Ark.) center Jaylin Williams and Jacksonville (Ark.) point guard Davonte Davis make for a strong and deep class for the Razorbacks.
10. Texas Tech
The Red Raiders have elite point guard Nimari Burnett of Prolific Prep (Napa, California), to go along with two elite wings in Duncanville's (Texas) Micah Peavy and St. Augustine's (San Diego) Chibuzo Agbo.