Not long ago a college basketball assistant coach told me that he felt Kentucky was the leader for highly-touted Jabari Parker, a 2013 prospect from Chicago who it now seems has his list down to Duke, Michigan State and Kentucky.
However, while Parker obviously has interest in Kentucky, could there be a chance coach John Calipari could be moving to put together such a powerful 2013 recruiting class that Parker may decide it is best not to even consider Kentucky? Sounds unlikely, but remember that 2013 top-10 recruit Chris Walker verbally committed to Florida on Sunday after spending several months basically lobbying for a UK¿offer that never came.
The next piece of the 2013 recruiting class could well be 6-6 James Young, a talented small forward from Michigan who has been playing extremely well in summer league play. Calipari also seems to be positioning himself nicely with 6-8 power forward ¿Julius Randle of Texas. Another 6-8 power forward, Aaron Gordon of California, has decided he’ll visit Kentucky as well.
The Harrison twins are both rated No. 1 at their positions. Randle and Gordon are 1-2 at power forward and Young is No. 2 at small forward behind Parker. Don't forget in-state product Derek Willis of Bullitt East, a versatile 6-9 forward who reminds Calipari and his staff of Kyle Wiltjer because of his offensive skills for a player his size.
That has the makings of an Anthony Davis/Michael Kidd-Gilchrist-type class that could potentially have a returning Willie Cauley-Stein with them and maybe Wiltjer and Ryan Harrow (at this time I still believe Alex Poythress and Archie Goodwin will be one-and-done players and it would not stun me if Harrow and Wiljter both play themselves into the 2013 draft).
But why no Parker? Easy. There’s a good chance Huntington (W.Va.) Prep’s Andrew Wiggins is going to re-classify from the 2014 recruiting class to the 2013 class — the same type move Nerlens Noel made and then picked Kentucky.
Not only is Wiggins the top-ranked player in the 2014 recruiting class, he would become No. 1 in the 2013 class just as Noel did when he re-classified. Some NBA draft analysts have already projected him as the top pick in the 2014 draft if he re-classifies and many feel he’s better than any player in the incoming freshman basketball class.
During Canada's junior national practice in June, Canada's team coaches measured Wiggins' vertical at 44 inches. That’s unreal. Additional platforms were needed to set the vertical sticks on. If he had done the same vertical jump at the NBA combine, it would have been the highest vertical ever — one inch more than Shaquille O’Neal did. Wiggins also finished that June workout by touching a 12-foot, 6-inch measure.
There seems to be no weaknesses in his game and little value he could gain by playing two more years of high school basketball even for a program as good as Huntington Prep. Wiggins has not said he will re-classify and school does not start back until mid-August, but there’s more and more reason to believe he will decide to finish his high school work this year and be a college freshman for the 2013-14 season.
He’s had Kentucky and Florida State — where his father played college basketball — on top of his list even though he has not officially narrowed his list of potential schools. But with Wiggins close to becoming part of the 2013 class and able to play either forward position, it would be a bit crowded at UK¿for Parker.
Could it all work out this way? Maybe. If Calipari just gets close to that class, he’ll have another No. 1 class. However, there’s a lot of behind the scenes buzz about a potential “monster class” for UK and Wiggins’ decision could well be what takes the class from extra special to extraordinary.