Conference notebook: Kentucky on verge of landing another top class
Kentucky won the national championship on Monday night, capping a dominant season and an impressive Final Four. But some would argue that the Wildcats really won the title last spring, when John Calipari secured the No. 1 recruiting class for the third consecutive year. That haul won't soon be forgotten: Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marquis Teague spearheaded Kentucky's triumph.
As this year's cycle winds to a close, the 'Cats will look for repeat success. Calipari and Co. remain in the running for
Of course, Kentucky isn't the only program on the recruiting trail. Duke is vying to replenish its stock, and St. John's is making moves on a number of national prospects. Heading into next week's spring signing period, here are the players and programs making headlines in each conference.
Duke is eyeing several top targets entering the spring signing period, but could have a difficult time luring them to Durham. Rivals No. 1 recruit Shabazz Muhammad counts the Blue Devils among his top three, but many observers feel they're third behind Kentucky and UCLA. Four-star center
Mentioned above, Jefferson has been linked with both Duke and N.C. State. And while the Wolfpack were the early frontrunners, the Blue Devils may have surged into the lead. He isn't just an ACC battle, though. Temple, Villanova, Kentucky and Ohio State also remain in Jefferson's consideration set.
After a disappointing 2011-12 campaign, Steve Lavin and Co. could be poised for a return to form. The Red Storm have already added
A 6-foot-8, 215-pound center from Centereach, N.Y., Obepka is a shot-blocking and rebounding force. He's drawing interest from St. John's, Providence and Cincinnati and would serve as a huge get for any of the three programs. A super athletic combo forward,
Things have the potential to get very interesting in Columbus. Fresh off a Final Four berth, the Buckeyes could have a wealth of playing time to replace. Senior William Buford will enter the NBA draft, and sophomores Jared Sullinger and Deshaun Thomas could potentially follow. Thad Matta and Co. are going after Parker and
The race for
The departure of Marin at Kansas State was both quick and unexpected. Now, new hire Bruce Weber has some damage control to do. Four-star center
The best battle in the Big 12 takes place between Texas and Missouri, one school that's staying and one that's on the way out. Both are vying for
Tension is building in Westwood, as the Bruins are in position to add the top wing in the country, Shabazz Muhammad, and one of the top post players in the country, Tony Parker, to a class that's already ranked No. 11 nationally. Point guard
A product of perennial powerhouse Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep, Bennett is considering both Oregon and Washington. The 6-foot-7, 230-pounder would almost assuredly start for either school, but he's yet to make his leanings clear. Bennett is also weighing offers to Florida, Kentucky and UNLV and won't begin making visits until after the Jordan Brand Game on April 14.
No surprise here. After three straight years of landing the No. 1 recruiting class, Calipari is on the verge of extending his streak to four. Kentucky is in the hunt for Muhammad, Noel and Bennett, (and to a lesser extent, Amile Jefferson), and if all breaks right, the Wildcats could have cause for celebration again in 2013.
Mississippi State was once thought to be the school to beat for the Porterville, Miss., product, but lost its edge after Bulldogs' recent coaching change. Nearby Alabama seems to have moved into the lead, but, as mentioned earlier, both Texas and Missouri also remain in contention.