Devin Booker knows that Duke has passed UK in the team recruiting rankings for 2014, but he still thinks he’s part of the best signing class for next season.
The major recruiting services are now ranking the Blue Devils’ quartet of Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones, Justice Winslow and Grayson Allen at No. 1. UK comes next in most rankings, with Booker, Trey Lyles, Karl Towns Jr. and Tyler Ulis.
Booker likes his bunch better.
“I still think we have the best class,” he said. “Obviously, you know, Duke has a really good class. But I feel like — even if we ended with the class right now — we’d still be the best class. But, at the end of the day, we have to show it on the next level.”
The Cats are expected to add at least two more players to their Class of 2014. Booker specifically mentioned Texas center Myles Turner and Huntington Prep star Montaque Gill-Caesar as prospects he’d like to see join up. UK Coach John Calipari saw both of those prospects play in person over the weekend.
In the meantime, Booker is getting better acquainted with the players he knows will be his future teammates.
“We have a group message going on,” he said. “It’s not really about basketball. Sometimes we’ll all be watching the game, and we’ll be like, ‘We’ve got to be ready for next year.’ But, mostly, it’s just off-the-court-type things.”
Booker — a 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Mississippi — is already well familiar with one of his fellow classmates. He said that he’s known point guard Tyler Ulis since the seventh grade, and the two players have teamed up at several camps over the past couple of years.
Ulis and Booker stayed in close contact throughout the recruiting process, even taking their official visits to Lexington on the same weekend.
“We just click,” Booker said. “It’s kind of my little big brother, that’s what I call him. We’re going to be special next year.”
Ulis — at 5-9 — isn’t as big or strong as other elite 2014 guards like Emmanuel Mudiay, Tyus Jones, D’Angelo Russell and Josh Perkins. But, as Booker noted, he usually finds a way to win the one-on-one matchups against high-caliber competition.
“He has heart,” Booker said. “He’s 5-9. He doesn’t weigh that much. But he has the most heart in a little kid that I’ve ever seen.”
Booker then stopped for a second, laughed, and clarified …
“I don’t want to call him a ‘little kid,’ but, yeah. He’s probably my favorite player I’ve ever played with.”