Like most recruiting analysts, he sees the potential for a “monster” 2013 recruiting class for Kentucky.
“It’s like a best case-worst case scenario,” said Zagoria of ZAGSBLOG.com. “At best, it will be an embarrassment of riches. The worst case scenario for Kentucky fans would be Julius Randle goes to North Carolina or Duke, Andrew Wiggins stays in the 2014 class and the Harrison twins (Aaron and Andrew) pick Maryland. All that is possible, but not likely. Kentucky is going to get players. It is Kentucky and they are the defending national champion. They will get players.
“I thought last year if Shabazz Muhammad had picked Kentucky, it would have been the best class ever. Some think Nerlens Noel is a better shot blocker than Anthony Davis. I think Shabazz is just going to kill it at UCLA. If Kentucky had him to go with Noel and the others, it would have been the best class. But who knows? It may fall into place that Calipari’s 2013 class will be.
“As good as Calipari’s recruiting has been at Kentucky with No. 1 recruiting classes every year, this next class has the potential to be the best ever. Whether it turns out that way, we’ll have to wait and see,” Zagoria said. “To me, the key is Andrew Wiggins.”
Wiggins, who seems to have UK?and Florida State where his father played as his clear top college choices, is a phenomenal wing player who attends school at Huntington (W.Va.) Prep. During Canada’s junior national practice in June, Canada’s team coaches measured Wiggins’ vertical jump at 44 inches. There seems to be no weaknesses in his game and that’s why many are speculating he may now reclassify from the 2014 recruiting class to 2013 — a move that incoming UK?freshman Nerlens Noel made to get to college a year earlier.
“He’s keeping his cards close to his vest. If he reclassifies and goes to Kentucky and then Kentucky adds whoever whether it is the Harrison twins, Randle, (James) Young, that is a special class. But a lot still has to happen,” Zagoria cautioned. “I think he will reclassify, but like Nerlens we may not know until spring. He is going to sit down with his parents and make that decision about whether he wants to be in the NBA in 2014 or 2015.
“It is clear to everyone that he is going to be in the NBA. It’s just a question of when. He’s always been a quiet, reserved kid who likes playing (basketball) with his friends and going to high school. So it’s not a given that he will reclassify.”
One of those friends is 6-4 Xavier Rathan-Mayes, a Huntington Prep teammate who is now on UK’s recruiting radar. Mayes is a prolific outside shooter. Rathan-Mayes has offers from Florida State, Florida, Illinois, Connecticut, Baylor, Kansas, Alabama and UCLA.
“I think he is a very good player on his own. I have watched that team (with Wiggins and Rathan-Mayes) six to eight times in the last few weeks,” Zagoria said. “Xavier is one of the best players on the team. He is a great shooter. He can score in a variety of ways. He’s also close to Wiggins, so that probably doesn’t hurt (in recruiting). I?know Calipari called and has watched him.
“But Xavier wants to play and if Kentucky gets the Harrisons and a bunch of other players, he may not play as much there as he would want. If I am a guy like (Maryland coach) Mark Turgeon,?I am going to the Harrisons and saying Wiggins may reclassify and how would that impact you guys. That’s the one dilemma Calipari does have.”
Zagoria says the Harrison twins, who are from Texas, continue to say there are “open” in their recruitment despite speculation it is a two-team race between UK?and Maryland.
“I have heard rumors it is done for Kentucky and they are just waiting to announce,” Zagoria said of the two guards. “But I?have talked to the Maryland, Baylor, Villanova and SMU?staffs and they all think they are still in it. None said there’s not a chance they get them.
“They are both really good. I recently saw Aaron come out in a game and hit five or six 3’s and score 28 points. They can both flat-out score and play. They will make an instant impact wherever they do.”
He says SMU?believes it can sign both players because their mother wants them to stay close to home to play, a factor that also could benefit Baylor. Their father has family in Baltimore and they are already friends with one current Maryland player.
“It wouldn’t shock me if they ended up at Maryland, but I am not sure Villanova or Baylor really has a chance. But that’s just my guess,” Zagoria said.
Stay tuned for part 2 of this in-depth interview with Adam Zagoria.