October 2, 2012

Recruiting Report: Harrisons to decide on Thursday

It's only Tuesday and this week has already become flooded with recruiting news regarding the Big Blue Nation. Here's a recap of some stories floating around our message board and the internet over the last few days concerning Kentucky and coach John Calipari.

Two Days and Counting
Twin brothers Andrew Harrison and Aaron Harrison will both announce where they will be pairing up for their college basketball in an announcement on Thursday at 5 PM eastern time on ESPN-U. This news was confirmed via text message by Cats Illustrated on Monday night by the Harrison's father, Aaron Sr.

Whether the twins choose to go to Kentucky or Maryland, it is likely that on Thursday night a new team will sit at the top of the Rivals.com 2013 recruiting class rankings; as both Harrison's are listed in the top four overall players in the 2013 Rivals150, in fact, the Harrison twins are the two top rated guards in the nation.

Last week's in-home visit with Maryland head coach Mark Turgeron has Kentucky fans guessing this week as it is unclear if that meeting was to give Turgeron a heads-up that the twins will be attending Kentucky, or if that meeting was just enough to push Maryland over the top and to secure a commitment from the Fort Bend (Tex.) Travis HS tandem.

The most interesting storyline in this recruitment could be what happens if the twins choose to go to Maryland? Kentucky has not been involved with any other guards in the 2013 class, which is evidence pointing to the fact that Calipari is very comfortable that he'll land the twins. Hopefully for Wildcat fans it will not come to this, but Calipari will find himself behind the eight ball somewhat when it comes to grabbing top guard talent, in a weak guard class, if Maryland gets good news on Thursday night.

With a tight-lipped circle around the brothers, don't expect to get much info on this until the actual announcement on Thursday evening, meaning this could lead to a couple of restless nights for staffs of both schools.

Ready for Seconds
After thoroughly enjoying his unofficial visit to Lexington this past weekend, top ten prospect James Young is looking more and more like a Kentucky lean. With just three other schools remaining on his list - Michigan State, Syracuse and Kansas - Young is getting ready to set up his official visits. While his family has chosen not to comment on if Young has taken the SAT or ACT yet, it is generally thought that Young's academics are in enough order for him to qualify to play Division I college basketball through the NCAA as a freshman next season.

Young has been quoted as saying that he is looking to take a return visit to Kentucky, possibly an official visit during Big Blue Madness. With four visitors already confirmed for the event (we'll get to that shortly), Young would add another five-star face to the crowd of talent that will be inside Rupp Arena on October 12th.

In other news regarding Young, the 6-foot-6 scoring wing is schedule to take an unofficial visit to his in-state school, Michigan State, this coming weekend.

Four Plus More
The official list of visitors for Big Blue Madness is currently at four with Marcus Lee, Derek Willis, Cliff Alexander and JaQuan Lyle known to be attending. The possibility of more visitors, including Young and potentially several other major talents, is very likely; but at this point there are only four visitors who have publicly announced that they'll be attending the event.

Of the four prospects, Lee's visit means the most to Kentucky recruiting at this time. It is likely that Lee will make his decision within a few days of returning home to California after his official visit to Kentucky. Only California and Kentucky remain on Lee's list, and while he is rumored to be leaning towards staying home, the progress that coach Calipari has made with this recruitment is evident by Lee's cross-country trip for a visit.

At this point in his recruitment, it appears that Lee has emerged as Calipari's most coveted power forward to pair alongside Calipari's top overall target in Julius Randle.

Another visit from Willis was expected, as UK's only currently committed player in the 2013 class will make the short drive to Rupp Arena.

Lyle and Alexander might be 2014 prospects, but their presence inside Rupp should be felt by the crowd. Both five-star prospects from the Midwest, Lyle and Alexander are among the top targets in their class at their positions; with Alexander already holding a Kentucky offer.

Lyle is a combo guard who probably sits behind Emmanuel Mudiay and Tyus Jones on Calipari's wish-list at the point, and behind Andrew Wiggins,Rashad Vaughn and maybe even a few others as a shooting guard, but is a pure five-star talent with a great offensive skill-set and good size at 6-foot-5. s

Second Option
If Marcus Lee is Kentucky's top choice for a compliment to Randle in 2013, then Tyler Roberson is clearly 1A on the coaches list. Roberson is currently scheduled to take an official visit to Kentucky on November 2nd, which will probably be after Lee has made a decision.

If Lee chooses to become a Wildcat then Roberson will likely cancel that visit, as Calipari would almost surely not take another commitment from a big man before Julius Randle makes his decision in the spring. Should Lee choose to attend California, then Roberson's visit will be used by Kentucky staff to push for a commitment from the no. 29 player in the 2013 Rivals150.

Keeping Tabs on Texas
Speaking of Julius Randle, the nation's top prospect in 2013 has decided to postpone a previously scheduled official visit to Florida this weekend, per Rivals.com's Eric Bossi. There is no word yet on when Randle will take his official visit to Florida, although no other recruiting outlets have reported that Randle has even postponed the original visit.

Kentucky is still considered to be the leader in the recruitment of Randle.

SEC Trying to Play Catch Up
With Florida trying to make a push for Randle the power of SEC basketball recruiting has been pushed into the national spotlight. The Gators have two of the top ten prospects in the nation currently committed to them with point guard Kasey Hill and power forward Chris Walker, and are making a push at several other top 50 prospects in addition to Randle.

Other notable SEC commitments include the Monday verbal by Sindarius Thornwell to in-state South Carolina, Tennessee getting a pledge from five-star Robert Hubbs, Arkansas securing in-state five-star Bobby Portis along with four-star big man Moses Kingsley and LSU securing a pair of four-stars last week in power forward Jordan Mickey and combo guard Tim Quarterman.

When you factor in the class that Kentucky will likely put together in 2013 you can figure that the Wildcats and Gators will both finish in the top five, if not the top two, in overall recruiting classes; while LSU and Arkansas' classes will surely be ranked among the top 15 or so.

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