October 5, 2012

Recruiting Report: Calipari checks in on Wiggins

After the exhausting events that surrounded the recruitment of the Harrison twins, one would think that Friday would've been a relatively slow day for Wildcat recruits. But, to quite the contrast, several key storylines emerged in the news which effect the Big Blue Nation.

Chain Reaction
Late on Thursday evening, 2013 Chicago Simeon PG Jalyon Tate gave a verbal commitment to Illinois; giving the Illini four commitments for the class of 2013. With the three-star guard on board in Champaign, it is looking increasing unlikely that four star point guard, and former Kentucky target, Xavier Rathan-Mayes chooses to sign with Illinois coach John Groce.

While the recruitment of Rathan-Mayes doesn't directly affect Kentucky, it does not help the Wildcats that Rathan-Mayes won't be attending Illinois. Down to just the Illini, Connecticut and Florida State; the last thing that the Kentucky staff wants to see happen is for XRM to sign with the Seminoles.

After all, Florida State is the other school, along with Kentucky, that is rumored to be a leader for the top player in 2014 in wing Andrew Wiggins[/db[. With so much speculation that Wiggins will enter the 2013, don't be surprised if Wiggins takes am even harder look at Florida State; with Xavier Rathan Mayes being one of Wiggins best friends, and a teammate of several years.

Calipari is a Busy Man
Speaking of Wiggins, just moments after the Harrison twins commitment coach Calipari headed inside the doors of Huntington (W.V.) Prep to check out a team workout that Wiggins participated in. The visit by Calipari to Wiggins school should be the final in-person contact that the two make until next week's Big Blue Madness; which Wiggins is expected to attend.

Officially on Board
More visitors have been added to the list for Big Blue Madness, as recently committed twin brothers [db]Aaron Harrison and Andrew Harrison both confirmed, with Kentucky Kernel Sports being the first to get word from the twins father, Aaron Sr., that they will be taking their official visit next weekend for the event. Now that they're committed to Kentucky, next weekend's visit should be the only official visit that the twins take.

The twins now make seven confirmed visitors for Big Blue Madness; joining Andrew Wiggins, JaQuan Lyle, Cliff Alexander, Marcus Lee and committed forward Derek Willis.

James Young, who told Zagsblog on Friday that Kentucky was the leader in his recruitment, is also rumored to be considering an official visit for next weekend.

Gordon Planning Visit
With all of the anticipation of the Harrison's commitment, a story that was lost in the shuffle from a few days ago is top five prospect Aaron Gordon telling Rivals Kansas site, JayhawkSlant.com, that he plans on taking an official visit to Kentucky. While JayhawkSlant reports that no formal date has been set for the visit, Gordon intends on using one of his five official visits on the Wildcats; indicating that his interest level in Kentucky is higher than Cats Illustrated previously thought.

The Rivalry: UK vs Duke
Tyus Jones and [/db]Jahlil Okafor[/db] both announced through their personal twitters last night that they both intend heading down to Duke's Midnight Madness event. Two of the very few prospects in the 2014 class with Kentucky offers, Jones and Okafor should be the premiere prospects at the official start of Duke's season next weekend.

Florida Challenging UK for #1
Besides having their two top committed players on campus for their official visit, Kentucky targets Julius Randle and underclassmen five-star prospects Dakari Johnson and Karl Towns, the Gators got some more good news from the recruiting world today.

The nation's number two overall prospect, Chicago (Ill.) Simeon forward Jabari Parker announced, through a public statement from his high school coach, Robert Smith, that he is down to just Duke, Michigan State, Florida, BYU and Stanford (with no order to that final five). Kentucky was among the schools that were eliminated from contention for Parker; although it has thought for some time that he wasn't a real option for the Wildcats as coach Calipari never went to see him this fall.

The inclusion of Florida on the list means that they are the only school who still has a possibility to land both Parker and Randle, the nation's top two prospects. If coach Billy Donovan is somehow able to pull that recruiting coup, it would give him a near unparalleled four of the top seven overall prospects in the 2013 class.

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