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Kentucky's loaded recruiting class lacks catchy nickname, not game



Aaron Harrison, one of six Kentucky commits or signees at the McDonald's All American Game, says John Calipari's touted recruiting class doesn't need a catchy nickname. "We're Kentucky, that's all we are," he said. / Courtesy of McDonald's All American Game

CHICAGO -- There could be three teams here at the McDonald's All American game: East, West and future Kentucky players.

Of the 25 boys players in Wednesday's game, six have committed or signed with the Wildcats, making it the most heralded recruiting class since Michigan's Fab Five.

This new group of Julius Randle of Prestonwood Christian (Plano, Texas); Andrew and Aaron Harrison of Travis (Richmond, Texas); James Young of Rochester, Mich.; Dakari Johnson of Montverde (Fla.) Academy; and Marcus Lee of Deer Valley (Antioch, Calif.) doesn't have a catchy name yet, but "Super Six" might stick. If top recruit Andrew Wiggins of Huntington (W.Va.) Prep also signs, then it could be "The Magnificent Seven."

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Johnson doesn't care about the label, more that the group knows what it takes to win. Between the six, four of them played for teams that finished the season in the Super 25 rankings and, overall, the players' teams finished 120-34.

"I don't know what our nickname will be yet," Johnson said. "We've been looking for you to give us a name. Our main goal is to win a national championship, but we also know the hard work that is going to come with that. This group that is coming in now, I've gotten to know, and they are really hard workers and competitors and winners. So, for us to be a great team, we need to prove ourselves and work hard."

Playing for Kentucky inherently means pressure. That the Wildcats couldn't get past the first round of the NIT this season hasn't tempered Big Blue Nation's expectations for this class, which also includes one lone non-McDonald's All American, Derek Willis of Bullitt East (Mount Washington, Ky.).

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While Kentucky won the national title with three starting freshmen and one key reserve freshman two years ago, Michigan's Fab Five never won a title, losing in the national championship in 1992 and 1993. Randle knows a title is far from guaranteed.

"I don't know what could go right and what could go wrong," Randle said. "I just know we have to work hard every day and mature. Every time we step on the court, everybody is going to want to give us their best shot because of the hype and attention that everyone has been giving us. We have to work hard and focus on us."

Aaron Harrison says the group already has a more suitable nickname than "Super Six" or "The Magnificent Seven."

"We're Kentucky, that's all we are," he said. "We don't need any nicknames. We're just going to go out there and prove that we'e the best. We like all of it (pressure). Great players thrive in great moments. Just wait and see."

 

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