UK’s top recruits for 2013

Derek
Willis

Aaron
Harrison

Andrew
Harrison

James
Young

Aaron
Gordon

Julius
Randle


OTHERS TO WATCH FOR 2013

Aaron Gordon

The Cats are a long shot to pry Gordon away from the Pac 12, but one look at his video highlights should tell you why he’s worth the effort. Already drawing comparisons to Blake Griffin, this 6-foot-7 power forward has displayed a freakish mix of athleticism and fundamental skill. He’s become an Internet sensation with mixtapes featuring his thunderous alley-oops and shot-blocking ability. Gordon has said Washington is his top school, but he doesn’t plan on making a decision anytime soon. One plus for UK: Gordon has committed to using one of his five official visits on a trip to Lexington.

Position: Power forward
Height: 6-7
Weight: 205
Hometown: San Jose, Calif.
High school: Archbishop Mitty
Rivals ranking: No. 5
Scout ranking: No. 5
ESPN ranking: No. 6
MaxPreps ranking: No. 4
24/7 ranking: No. 6
Other leaders: Washington, Arizona, Kansas
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Aaron Harrison

A talented shooter, Harrison serves as a great complement to his brother Andrew, who is also a star player for 2013. The twins visited UK’s campus in October 2010 and again for Big Blue Madness in 2011. With the addition of the Harrisons, UK gets a backcourt that has played together for years and can contribute right away. The “best package deal” in college basketball history will be wearing blue in 2013.

Status: UK commitment
Position: Shooting guard
Height: 6-5
Weight: 205
Hometown: Houston
High school: Travis
Rivals ranking: No. 3
Scout ranking: No. 3
ESPN ranking: No. 4
MaxPreps ranking: No. 2
24/7 ranking: No. 2
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Andrew Harrison

Considered by MaxPreps.com to be the best player in the class of 2013, Harrison has already made two trips to UK, visiting the campus with his twin brother Aaron early in their sophomore year, and then returning for Big Blue Madness before their junior season. Andrew is the best point guard in the class, and at 6-foot-5 he would pose problems for anyone trying to guard him at that position. He’s also a tremendous defender, and someone John Calipari will trust to run the point from day one.

Status: UK commitment
Position: Point guard
Height: 6-5
Weight: 210
Hometown: Houston
High school: Travis
Rivals ranking: No. 4
Scout ranking: No. 2
ESPN ranking: No. 2
MaxPreps ranking: No. 1
24/7 ranking: No. 3
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Jermaine Lawrence

A unanimous top-20 prospect, Lawrence is a late addition to UK’s target list for 2013. The Queens native doesn’t have a UK offer, but the Cats made the cut as they could be in need of some bigger bodies to fill out their recruiting class. Lawrence is a long, skilled forward who can play in the post or on the perimeter, the kind of frontcourt player that has thrived in Calipari’s system.

Position: Forward
Height: 6-9
Weight: 200
Hometown: Queens, N.Y.
High school: Pope John XXIII (N.J.)
Rivals ranking: No. 18
Scout ranking: No. 14
ESPN ranking: No. 16
MaxPreps ranking: No. 14
24/7 ranking: No. 17
Other leaders: Cincinnati, Kansas, St. John’s, Syracuse, UCLA, UNLV
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Marcus Lee

Perhaps the biggest question regarding UK’s 2013 class is who Calipari will find to play in the post. Lee could be the perfect fit. “I know there’s a lot of people who are offensive oriented, and I felt like defense was a lost art,” Lee told Rivals.com this summer. “I love doing it. I take pride in blocking, it’s my favorite thing to do.” Lee is also an exceptional passer for a big man, another quality that would come in handy in Calipari’s offense. He has a UK scholarship offer and was the first player to announce his intentions to visit Big Blue Madness on Oct. 12. That trip will represent one of his official visits.

Position: Power forward
Height: 6-9
Weight: 200
Hometown: Antioch, Calif.
High school: Deer Valley
Rivals ranking: No. 15
Scout ranking: No. 37
ESPN ranking: No. 27
MaxPreps ranking: No. 21
24/7 ranking: No. 8
Other leaders: California
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Kennedy Meeks

His size (295 pounds) is a bit of a departure for Calipari, but Meeks has the skills the UK coach loves in his post players. He’s an excellent passer and rebounder, he can catch the ball and create plays for himself in the post, and he’s starting to show more of an outside game. UK didn’t have much (if any) contact with him until after his junior season, but he said in July that the Cats were showing “high interest.” UK followed through on that interest with a scholarship offer shortly after the fall contact period began.

Position: Center
Height: 6-9
Weight: 297
Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.
High school: West Charlotte
Rivals ranking: No. 51
Scout ranking: No. 29
ESPN ranking: No. 17
MaxPreps ranking: No. 39
24/7 ranking: No. 46
Other leaders: Georgetown, North Carolina, Indiana, N.C. State, Ohio State
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Julius Randle

One of John Calipari’s top targets in 2013, Randle is ranked by Rivals.com and 24/7 Sports as the top player in his class. He has the size to post-up and the ability to take any defender off the dribble, which would fit perfectly into Calipari’s style of play. He’ll also play as hard as anybody on the court. Calipari and his staff will have plenty of competition before they bring the Texas forward to Lexington. Kansas and Florida are among the six schools still in the mix.

Position: Small forward
Height: 6-8
Weight: 235
Hometown: Plano, Texas
High school: Prestonwood Christian
Rivals ranking: No. 1
Scout ranking: No. 4
ESPN ranking: No. 3
MaxPreps ranking: No. 3
24/7 ranking: No. 1
Other leaders: Kansas, Texas, Florida, N.C. State, Oklahoma
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Tyler Roberson

Kentucky was late to the recruitment of this versatile forward, but the Cats could become major players as the fall recruiting period rolls on. Roberson uses his 7-foot-1 wingspan to excel as a defender and rebounder, and he was praised at several summer events for his hustle. The 6-7 forward told ZagsBlog is early September that he had already set up three of his five officials visits — to Kansas, SMU and Syracuse. The Kansas visit is scheduled for that school’s midnight madness event Oct. 12, which is the same day as UK’s Big Blue Madness. In one of his personal blog post’s for ZagsBlog, Roberson said he was considering the Cats because Calipari “gets the most out of their players and develops them well.”

Position: Small forward
Height: 6-7
Weight: 200
Hometown: Union, N.J.
High school: Roselle Catholic
Rivals ranking: No. 29
Scout ranking: No. 46
ESPN ranking: No. 24
MaxPreps ranking: Not rated
24/7 ranking: No. 26
Other leaders: SMU, Kansas, Rutgers, Syracuse, Villanova
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James Young

Measured anywhere from 6-5 to 6-7, Young is one of the premier perimeter prospects in this class. He has the size and athleticism to thrive in John Calipari’s offense, and can score by driving to the basket or knocking down outside shots. He received an offer from UK this spring after his dominant performance on the EYBL circuit and constant praise of the Wildcats and Calipari. Young committed to Kentucky in October.

Status: UK commitment
Position: Guard/forward
Height: 6-6
Weight: 200
Hometown: Troy, Mich.
High school: Rochester
Rivals ranking: No. 8
Scout ranking: No. 8
ESPN ranking: No. 5
MaxPreps ranking: No. 6
24/7 ranking: No. 9
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