UK Basketball: Recruiting analyst says Johnson's commitment could help UK land Wiggins, Randle
Julius Randle, right, missed most of his senior season with an injury but returned to lead his team to a Texas state title. Now he¿s deciding whether to join other talented players in perhaps the all-time best recruiting class at Kentucky. (Scott Kurtz / March 5, 2013)
“More often then not when they are a finalist, they are the favorite,” Biancardi said. “When you look at the rest of the Kentucky class, Johnson fits so well because he is so different. As one of the final pieces to this massive and extremely talented class, Johnson will have as much as he can handle of producing in the paint with Marcus Lee.”
Lee is one of the five players who signed with Kentucky in November and will join Johnson as part of what Biancardi says is already guaranteed to be another No. 1 recruiting class for coach John Calipari regardless of whether adds Andrew Wiggins and/or Julius Randle, the top two players in the 2013 recruiting class.
Biancardi says rebounding in the strength of Johnson’s game.
“Although he is improving on the inside, by catching the ball and scoring with an angle to the rim , he rebounds regardless of how he is scoring the ball,” Biancardi said. “The first way to get the fast break going is to secure the defensive board, which he will provide. His rebounding on the offensive end will provide second chance points for himself and his team.”
Biancardi says no one but Wiggins or Randle can really know how Johnson’s commitment could impact their feeling about UK, but he says from his point of view it can only help.
“Every championship team needs a center to enhance the perimeter game,” Biancardi said. “As for Wiggins, it would give him a presence in the paint when it comes to rebounding, changing and/or blocking shots, as well as being a legit scoring threat to open the floor. For Randle, it would allow him to roam more at the high post and collectively be a front court force with Johnson.”
Chris Dortch, the editor of Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook, isn’t sure how Randle or Wiggins will be impacted by Johnson’s decision, either.
“But it has to be intriguing to either one of them to consider joining that great class. Should that happen, and I’m no recruiting analyst, wouldn’t that have to be the best class of all time?” Dortch said.
And how good could Kentucky¿be next year even if Wiggins and/or Randle aren’t Wildcats?
“I’ll reserve judgment to see how many freshman stay around. But even if they don’t, this class is shaping up to be epic, and Kentucky will have a chance to do great things despite being so young,” Dortch said. “It’s an overlooked fact that Kentucky doesn’t just recruit five-star players. It recruits five-star players that, for the most part, want to work, want to be coached and want to get better.”
Dortch says if freshmen Nerlens Noel, Alex Poythress and Archie Goodwin are projected as NBA draft lottery picks, it would be “hard to turn that down” to stay at Kentucky another year.
“Having said that, maybe one of them may be intrigued about the possibility of returning to a team that will be so loaded,” he said.