John Calipari’s best recruiting pitch was on display three times Thursday night. His Kentucky star freshman trio of De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk and Bam Adebayo represented three of the top-14 picks in the NBA draft.
From a one-and-done at Kentucky to a lottery selection is a popular path for Calipari’s former players. The smooth talker with the slicked-back hair unsurprisingly found his way on ESPN’s draft broadcast.
Cal: “Can I recruit a little bit?” pic.twitter.com/5X3x9MxAxW
— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) June 23, 2017
“They’re talking about one-and-done,” Calipari said. “It’s not broken! It isn’t broken. My kids finished the term, they’re on lifetime scholarships.”
“Can I recruit a little bit?” he asked.
“Nobody’s gonna stop ya,” ESPN host Rece Davis said. “Even if I tried.”
Rece was right. Nobody’s stopping Calipari.
With Bam Adebayo picked, 32 of 64 (50%) of the players that have played for @UKCoachCalipari in his 8 seasons at Kentucky have been drafted.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) June 23, 2017
So now it’s time to check in on the prospects who might follow the way of Fox, Monk and Adebayo. SEC Country will provide weekly Kentucky recruiting updates every Friday. Here’s the first edition.
Calipari in Colorado
John Calipari spent the bulk of his week in Colorado Springs as coach of Team USA’s under-19 FIBA World Cup team. Three Kentucky freshmen and six 5-star recruits from the Class of 2018 were among 27 players trying out for the team.
Here are a few takeaways from top Kentucky targets.
PG Immanuel Quickley
Quickley is the No. 2 point guard and 10th overall prospect in the 2018 class, according to 247Sports. SEC Country asked Quickley about Kentucky’s pros and cons.
“The pros would probably have to be all the players that have been in my position — talking about all the point guards that have come out of Kentucky — and been successful,” Quickley said Monday. “The cons? I don’t think there’s too many cons when you’re talking about Kentucky. It’s a really great program.”
If he picks Kentucky, Quickley said he could carry the torch from whichever top point guard he comes after. Calipari’s list of elite point guards is a long one. Quickley’s favorite so far? De’Aaron Fox.
PF Bol Bol
Manute Bol’s son is the No. 3 player in the 2018 class, according to 247Sports. While he doesn’t possess the 7-foot-7 frame of his father, Bol packs a lot of skills into his 7-foot-2 stature.
“I saw him a year ago,” Calipari said, shaking his head as if to communicate Bol wasn’t good enough to play for the Wildcats. “Then I saw him a month ago and I’m like, ‘Is that him?’ ”
Needless to say, he’s on the Wildcats’ radar.
SG Romeo Langford
Langford is the top-ranked shooting guard in the class and No. 4 overall prospect. Calipari’s colleagues weren’t going to let the Cats coach get all of these prospects to himself in Colorado. Kansas’ Bill Self, North Carolina’s Roy Williams and Indiana’ Archie Miller were among the coaches who flocked to the mountains to see players like Langford.
“Romeo, he’s just special. The kid is special — and never says anything. I’m just trying to get him to smile,” said Calipari, who loves an unassuming superstar. “I’ve had a bunch of those.”
SF Louis King
Yet another top-20 2018 prospect Calipari was able to get closer to this weekend. King is AAU teammates with top target Cameron Reddish, and King said the two could be a package deal.
- 2018 target Marvin Bagley is “once in a decade” type player, ESPN recruiting analyst Paul Biancardi says.
- All is quiet on the Zion Williamson front
- Top 2019 target R.J. Barrett is the most-hyped Canadian prospect since Andrew Wiggins
- Will R.J. Barrett reclassify to join 2018 class?
- 2019 target Ashton Hagans wants Kentucky and Arizona to “jump in”