With Calipari signed, what’s next?
Posted by ibleedblue040 on March 31, 2009
Things move rather quickly in the life of a UK basketball fan. John Calipari signed his contract to become Kentucky’s head basketball coach at a little past 9:00 PM tonight and although people are still ecstatic, many fans want to know about the future.
The first item on the new agenda is the recruiting situation. Many people in the media and in the fan base are wondering which, if any, of the sparkling recruits leaning, committed, or signed to Memphis will join Coach Cal at Kentucky.
John Wall, the #1 high school player in the nation, has stated in an interview with Rivals.com’s Jerry Meyer today that he would replace Memphis with Kentucky on his short list of schools and would seriously consider the Cats. With Calipari moving on to UK the speculation is that he would narrow his college choice down to Duke or Kentucky. One has to wonder why Duke would get the nod over the Cats; UK has the better tradition, the better system to prepare him for the next level, potentially the most attention on one program in the nation this upcoming season, and the coach who Wall likes best. If I had to bet I would say Wall will commit to the Cats within the next two weeks, maybe at the Jordan Brand Classic.
DeMarcus Cousins is rated as the #2 high school player in the nation and has verbally committed to play for the Memphis Tigers next season. But unlike some of the commitments he has yet to actually sign his Letter of Intent, meaning he can still visit any school and commit to any other school in the nation. Cousins has publicly stated that he loves Coach Cal and loves the NBA system that he ran while at Memphis. There is no doubt that Calipari will implement the exact same system in Lexington, leading one to believe that Cousins too may join Cal at UK. This would give the Cats the top two players in the nation to go along with two First team All-SEC performers from this season in Jodie Meeks and Patrick Patterson.
Xavier Henry, the #3 rated high school player in the country, is the most intriguing player in the conversation at Memphis and Kentucky. Unlike Wall and Cousins, Henry has indeed signed his LOI to Memphis, meaning he would have to go through the process of backing out in order to consider other schools. Usually a prospect must first get the school to sign off on the backing out of a LOI, but in the case of this Memphis Tigers recruiting class each and every member has a clause in their LOI stating that they may get a free and unconditional release without question and may commit to any other school without exception. This means that technically Henry could also join Calipari at Kentucky. The difference between the previous two players and Henry though is that Henry made a tough choice choosing Memphis over Kansas for his recruitment. Both of Henry’s parents played sports at KU and are graduates of the university. Kansas is very close to their Oklahoma home as well, which is another selling point. Many believe that Henry will indeed back out of his LOI to Memphis, but will sign with Kansas instead of the Cats.
Nolan Dennis is rated the #47 high school player in the nation and has already stated that he would like to join Calipari at UK. The only thing in his way is the fact that Calipari and the Cats would be running very thin on open scholarships and there may just not be enough room for him. Dennis would be fourth in line behind the three players mentioned above.
Currently signed Cats
All three of the players already signed in the 2009 class for Kentucky, Daniel Orton, Jon Hood, and GJ Vilarino, have stated that they will remain committed and will not ask for their release until they meet with the new coach. Actually the Orton family was the only family that said that they would be backing out under any circumstances. Both the Hood and Vilarino families have stated that they love the program and will remain committed.
A press conference has been confirmed to be taking place tomorrow at 9:30 AM ET at the Joe Craft Center to introduce John Calipari as the new Head Coach at Kentucky. The press conference will air live on ESPN News.