Cat Scratches
Interactive Twitter Facebook

Cal adds three more signees to nation's top-ranked recruiting class

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
This year's recruiting class was already regarded as the best in 2013. Now, with three more highly talented signees, John Calipari and Kentucky may have pieced together the greatest recruiting class of all time.

Kentucky announced the additions of Julius Randle (Plano, Texas), Dakari Johnson (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Dominique Hawkins (Richmond, Ky.) on Wednesday. Randle, Johnson and Hawkins join fall signees Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, James Young, Marcus Lee and Derek Willis, forming what many are calling the greatest recruiting class ever.

"I think it could be the best class of all time in terms of offensive efficiency," ESPN analyst Paul Biancardi said after Randle's verbal commitment on March 20. "This class can score the basketball. They can shoot the 3-point shot. They can beat you off the drive. They score the basketball from their respective position as well as any class that John Calipari has had at Kentucky. ... This class is going to need some help, but as this class stands alone, it could be the best of all time."

The proof is in the numbers: six McDonald's All-Americans. Kentucky's top two high school players. Six consensus five-star athletes. Seven top-150 Rivals signees. A combined 36 stars in the Rivals ratings system. It all adds up to the nation's No. 1 recruiting class -- Coach Cal's fifth straight, according to Rivals -- and one collective commitment to return UK to the top of college basketball next season.

"The thing I like most about this group is its competitive spirit and its will to win," Calipari said. "These guys are All-Americans and award winners, but more importantly they're world champions, national champions and state champions. They know what it takes to win. The size and talent of the group will allow us to have tough, hard-nosed practices which will carry over to the games. I'm excited for the opportunity to coach this group."

Check below for a recap of each of the spring signees, including a bio blast, quote from Cal and video highlights. You can check out the previous bio blasts of the fall signees here.

Julius Randle

  • 6-foot-9, 240-pound forward from Plano, Texas
  • Ranked No. 2 overall by Rivals, No. 3 by ESPN and No. 5 by Scout
  • Led Prestonwood Christian Academy to back-to-back state titles his sophomore and junior seasons.
  • Missed most of senior season with a broken foot
  • Averaged 32.0 points and 13.0 rebounds in his four games after returning from injury
  • McDonald's All-American
  • Finished with 11 points and seven rebounds in the McDonald's All-American Game
  • Chosen for the Jordan Brand Classic
  • Named co-MVP of Jordan Brand Classic with 19 points and seven rebounds
  • Member of the 2013 USA Basketball Men's Junior National Select Team
  • Verbally committed March 20
  • Third Texas signee in 2013 class, joining Andrew and Aaron Harrison
  • Twitter: twitter.com/J30_Randle

Why Randle chose the Cats

"The final straw that came to me was the system, and I felt like the system at Kentucky was a great system. They have a lot of great players there going in there so you're going to have to battle, but I think like they did the year before with that team being a unit. I play USA Basketball with a lot of great players so I think I'll adjust well. I think it's the best fit for me. That's where it was in my heart or I wouldn't be at Kentucky."

"To be able to battle with those guys every day in practice is only going to make me better, help me prepare for the next level. Playing with great players with a plus for me; it wasn't a negative at all."

Cal says

"Julius is another hard-working player who is a great student and person along with being a dominator on the court. He has that will to win that the players I've had who have become special have all had. That motor will be important to our success next year. Julius has the skill set to be an inside-outside guy for us. He has the ability to put it on the floor and beat guys off the dribble, but he's also got the toughness, size and ability to score against bigger defenders. At the end of the day, he's a true leader whose personal drive is off the charts."

What they're saying about Randle

"He dominates the game with his physicality. He's explosive, strong and powerful at the rim. His body, it's ready for the college game right now. And he's best in the paint by scoring and rebounding. He can dominate the action. When you think about Julius Randle, you think about a dynamic athlete. The bottom line is this: His versatility, skill level and athletic ability are uncommon for a player his size. Once his game gets in motion, it's hard to stop or contain him. He creates fouls and finishes at the rim. He's going to impact the college game next season." - Paul Biancardi, ESPN

"I've seen Julius since he's been probably a ninth, 10th grader, and the thing that jumps out is his ability, his physical size. I think Paul hit it on the head (with the) Wayman Tisdale (comparison). He's got a little bit more perimeter game. He can handle the ball. He can shoot the jump shot. And the thing I like about him is his maturity." - Matt Doherty, ESPN

Video highlights

Dakari Johnson

  • 6-10, 265-pound center from Brooklyn, N.Y.
  • Ranked No. 9 overall by Rivals, No. 11 by ESPN and No. 18 by Scout
  • Consensus No. 1 center
  • Led Montverde (Fla.) Academy to the 2013 National High School Invitational title
  • Named MVP of the 2013 National High School Invitational
  • Member of the 2012 USA Basketball U17 World Championship Team
  • McDonald's All-American
  • Finished with 12 points and five rebounds in the McDonald's All-American Game
  • Chosen for the Jordan Brand Classic
  • Posted eight points, four rebounds, two assists and one block in Jordan Brand Classic
  • Verbally committed Jan. 5
  • Twitter: twitter.com/dslowmotion22

Why Johnson chose the Cats

"I just want to win a national championship. I want to win a high school championship, then a college championship and hopefully an NBA championship."

"(The coaches) were just honest people from the get-go. They told me that this wasn't the place to come if I were selfish, if I wanted the ball all the time or I didn't want to work hard. But I want to work hard, I want to get pushed. I want the pressure on me because that makes me a better player."

Cal says

"Dakari's improvement over the last year and a half has been phenomenal. His ability to be a true low-post threat adds an important piece to what our team will really need. He's patient when he gets the ball on the block and has a great understanding for how to use his size for a kid his age. Dakari is a great student and a great kid. He's won a high school championship, a world championship with Team USA, and he said he wants to win a national championship with us and an NBA championship. That statement says a lot about the type of winner he is."

What they're saying about Johnson

"Johnson is a true center and will be the low-post anchor for the Wildcats right from the start. He has tremendous size, hands and work ethic and is an excellent rebounder on both ends of the floor. Johnson has worked extremely hard to mold his body into excellent shape, and it has really helped him become more productive and consistent." - Reggie Rankin, ESPN

"Dakari Johnson (is) a true low-post center. He'll give the Wildcats a physical presence on the glass, blocking shots and scoring in the low post. Offensively he's just scratching the surface of his ability." - Paul Biancardi, ESPN

Video highlights

Dominique Hawkins

  • 6-1, 170-pound guard from Richmond, Ky.
  • Ranked a three-star recruit by Rivals, Scout and ESPN
  • Named Kentucky's Mr. Basketball
  • Kentucky Gatorade Player of the Year
  • Led Madison Central High School to the Kentucky state championship
  • Named MVP of Kentucky's Sweet Sixteen tournament
  • Averaged 26.8 points and 8.8 rebounds during the Sweet Sixteen
  • Scored 29 points against UK signees Andrew and Aaron Harrison on Dec. 1
  • Averaged 20.9 points during his senior season
  • Joins Derek Willis as the second signee from Kentucky in the 2013 class
  • Verbally committed April 10
  • Twitter: twitter.com/Dhawk_25

Why Hawkins chose the Cats

" I was basically shocked once they offered because they do nothing but get the best players. I know I'm a good player but I wasn't expecting it, but I guess I am a great player now that Kentucky offered me. It's amazing." [/quote] [quote] Nobody's guaranteed a spot. You've just got to come in and compete and that's what you do at every school. Nobody gets a spot just because they're an All-American. You've just got to come to compete."

Cal says

"I kept hearing about Dominique from Marquis Estill and my good friend Dr. Robert Palmer. When I watched him play, lead his team, and play with a will to win and fight, I was totally sold. At the Sweet Sixteen, he made sure he got his teammates involved and was always happy with their success, but when it was time to take over the game - when it was winning time - everyone in the building knew they were going to play through Dominique, which they did, and they won. The last UK player who was named Kentucky Mr. Basketball and won a state title in the same year was Darius Miller. He went to two Final Fours, won a national title and is now playing in the NBA. My hope is Dominique will be on the same path."

What they're saying about Hawkins

"He's a very good athlete. He's a guy who I think could turn into a really good defender. Offensively I think his strength lies in his ability to hit midrange shots. Areas for improvement would be becoming more consistent with his long-range jump shot. What I like about him is his how hard he plays, his toughness and his athleticism." - Evan Daniels, Scout (from Courier-Journal)

Video highlights

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL: http://cstv.collegesports.com/mt5.2/mt-tb.cgi/45607

Leave a comment




Recent Comments