Just when you think John Calipari’s recruiting can’t get any better, he hauls in one of the greatest classes of all-time.
Already touted as the best signing class for next year by every major recruiting service, John Calipari announced five players for his 2013 class during the early signing period on Thursday. Andrew and Aaron Harrison (Fort Bend, Texas), James Young (Rochester Hills, Mich.), Marcus Lee (Antioch, Calif.), and Derek Willis (Mt. Washington, Ky.) have all signed national letters of intent to play basketball at the University of Kentucky, starting in the 2013-14 season.
Four of the five-man recruiting class are regarded as consensus top-40 players, and three of them are rated in the major recruiting services’ top 10.
The class is highlighted by the Harrison twins, two 6-foot-5, 205-pound guards who are regarded as some of the most complete basketball players out of high school over the last decade.
“In my estimation, this is the most talented set of twins to ever enter college basketball,” said Dave Telep, an ESPN recruiting analyst. ”They have the ability to change the landscape, not only of a team and a league, but also inject themselves potentially into a national championship race. In the grand scheme of things, John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats have had some big heat checks on the recruiting trail lately, maybe none bigger than this one with the Harrison twins.”
If Calipari can notch another signee or two in the spring signing period, it could be the greatest recruiting class of all-time. Either way, it looks like Coach Cal is well on his way to his fifth straight top-ranked recruiting class.
Check below for a recap of each player, including a bio blast, quote from Cal and video highlights.
- 6-foot-5, 205-pound point guard from Fort Bend, Texas
- Ranked No. 3 overall by ESPN and Scout and No. 5 by Rivals
- Consensus No. 1 point guard
- Averaged 12.5 points, 6.0 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 2.1 steals as a junior at Travis High School
- Led team to 36-4 record and a trip to the Class 5A state championship game last season
- Named to Preseason American Family Insurance ALL-USA Team
- Committed with twin brother on Oct. 4
- Along with brother, first signee from Texas since Jeff Brassow (1989-94)
- Twitter: twitter.com/DrewRoc5
Why Andrew Harrison chose the Cats
I think Coach Calipari presented a challenge for us. He just told (Aaron Harrison and I) from day one it was going to be hard, it was going to be tough and he was going to push us every day. That’s what we really wanted to hear. We just want to become better players.”
What they’re saying about Andrew Harrison
- 6-foot-5, 205-pound shooting guard from Fort Bend, Texas
- Ranked No. 4 overall by Rivals and Scout and No. 5 by ESPN
- Consensus No. 1 shooting guard
- Averaged 18.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.6 steals as a junior at Travis High School
- Led team to 36-4 record and 5A state championship game in 2011-12
- Older of the twins by one minute
- Twitter: twitter.com/AaronICE2
Why Aaron Harrison chose the Cats
(Andrew and I) just sat down one night and just decided we wanted to go somewhere that we wanted to win and knew we could win as soon as we got there.”
What they’re saying about Aaron Harrison
- 6-foot-6, 200-pound guard out of Rochester Hills, Mich.
- Ranked No. 6 overall by ESPN and No. 10 by Rivals and Scout
- Rated the second-best shooting guard by Rivals and ESPN and the third-best small forward by Scout
- Averaged 25.1 points, 10.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.5 steals as a junior for Troy High School
- All-State First Team by the Associated Press, Detroit News and Detroit Free Press as a junior
- Will play for Rochester High School as a senior
- Twitter: twitter.com/James__Young
Why Young chose the Cats
Kentucky has always been my dream school. I’ve always dreamed of going to that school, and once I went up there to go visit, I just fell in love with the place. It’s a great atmosphere, great coaching, great facility and great basketball history behind it. I just love it.”
I’m not just looking for the NBA. I’m just there for the education; there to get a national championship.” – Young
What they’re saying about Young
- 6-foot-9, 200-pound forward from Antioch, Calif.
- Ranked No. 17 overall by Rivals, No. 30 by ESPN and No. 40 by Scout
- Regarded as a top-10 forward/center
- Averaged 13.9 points, 13.1 rebounds, 9.1 blocks, 2.1 assists and 1.3 steals as a junior
- Led his high school’s volleyball team to a 37-4 record as a junior
- Twitter: twitter.com/SuperKingMe
Why Lee chose the Cats
Kentucky is a defensive-minded team, and that’s what I do best. I am not the biggest or strongest guy in the world, so the faster pace of the game fits me.”
What they’re saying about Lee
- 6-foot-9, 195-pound forward from Mt. Washington, Ky.
- Rated the No. 25 power forward by Rivals, No. 27 by Scout and No. 37 by ESPN
- Averaged 18.0 points and 9.3 rebounds as a junior at Bullitt East High School
- Led team to Kentucky’s Sweet 16 in Rupp Arena
- First commit of the 2013 class
- Twitter: twitter.com/derek_willis33
Why Willis chose the Cats
What stood out about Kentucky is the best players in the nation play there so I wanted to join them.”
What they’re saying about Willis
Willis is a fantastic shooter out to 20 feet and also has the skills to handle the ball comfortably on the perimeter. Great size and skills. Can be put in different spots on the floor, but will certainly make defenses close out, thus creating more space on the floor for others. When he makes the strength coach his best friend, he will blossom.” - Paul Biancardi, ESPN
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