Before Kentucky became the NCAA men’s basketball champion last spring, it was already the king of recruiting for four years running, according to analysts.
The Wildcats added to that streak with another No. 1 class Wednesday.
They landed three players considered among the top 10 recruits in the 2013 class: Travis (Richmond, Texas) twin 6-5 guards Andrew and Aaron Harrison and Rochester (Rochester Hills, Mich.) 6-7 forward James Young. Young signed with Kentucky on Wednesday with the Harrisons’ father saying the twins were signing soon with the Wildcats.
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The early signing period ends Nov. 21.
“I think Kentucky is the clear winner,” said Scout.com recruiting analyst Evan Daniels. “They get the fifth straight No. 1 recruiting class and three top 10 recruits. We’re getting used to seeing John Calipari at the top of the rankings.”
The Wildcats are still in the running for three other Preseason American Family Insurance ALL-USA players: 6-9 forward Andrew Wiggins of Huntington (W.Va.) Prep; 6-8 forward Aaron Gordon of Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) and Prestonwood Christian (Plano, Texas) forward Julius Randle.
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“It would be one of the craziest classes ever if they got Randle, Wiggins or Gordon,” said ESPN recruiting analyst Paul Biancardi.
Kentucky wasn’t the only winner. The Southeastern Conference, known for its recent dominance in football, was the top conference, according to all the recruiting services.
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“The SEC has 17 recruits in our top 100,” Biancardi said. “We already knew Florida and Kentucky did well, but Arkansas and Louisiana State have done an outstanding job of meeting needs. It’s hard to get post players and Arkansas got two.”
Last year, Scout.com had the SEC as having the sixth-best class, but this year was the clear winner.
“They’re bringing in some serious talent,” Daniels said. “I thought LSU was a huge winner. That’s the type of class you build a program around.”
The Pac-12, whose regular-season champion, Washington, did not even receive an at-large bid to the 2012 NCAA tournament, didn’t fare as well.
“The Pac-12 didn’t have a great showing,” Daniels said. “UCLA had the best class of the group, along with California. Outside of those guys and Washington, there’s not a lot of depth.”
Biancardi cautions that the Pac-12’s low rankings are partly because the conference didn’t have as many spots open after having a big recruiting haul last season, led by UCLA.
“I think the fruits of their labor will play dividends this year,” Biancardi said. “Sometimes in recruiting, you don’t get the hype because you don’t have enough needs.”