TOP FIVE UNCOMMITTED PLAYERS:
1. ANDREW WIGGINS, 6-8 SF, Huntington (WV) Prep
The potential No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA draft, Wiggins lists Kentucky, Florida State, Kansas, Ohio State and North Carolina as the schools recruiting him, although Kentucky and Florida State – his parents’ alma mater – have been involved the longest.
Kentucky already has the No. 1 class in the nation, but Wiggins told reporters in Kentucky this past week that that doesn’t bother him and that Calipari used the word “unstoppable” to describe the class that Wiggins could join.
If Wiggins were to choose Kentucky in the spring, one NBA director of scouting said: “On paper, for an NBA-type class, certainly it’s the greatest of all time, you would think.”
Still, Florida State is a possibility because his father, former NBA guard Mitchell Wiggins, and his mother, former Canadian Olympic track star Marita Payne-Wiggins, both went there.
North Carolina has been involved for a while, and Kansas and Ohio State have been in recently to visit Wiggins.
2. JABARI PARKER, 6-8 SF, Chicago Simeon
Parker was the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2013 until Wiggins decided to reclassify. He is considering Duke, Michigan State, Florida, Stanford and BYU, with the conventional wisdom being that he will land at either Duke or Michigan State, which is the closest to his home in Chicago.
What makes Parker’s recruitment unique is that he is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The Church recently lowered the age requirement by which males can serve a two-year mission from 19 to 18. Parker, 17, therefore has a number of options going forward.
He could choose to take his mission after high school, meaning he might go straight to the NBA, skipping college altogether. He could attend college for one year beginning in 2013 and then go on his mission, delaying his entry into the NBA by a couple of years. Or he could also get an exemption and be allowed to forego the mission altogether.
3. JULIUS RANDLE, 6-9 PF, Prestonwood (TX) Christian Academy
Randle is down to six schools: Kentucky, N.C. State, Florida, Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma.
Although there have been rumors that he doesn’t get along with the Harrison twins, Randle has gone out of his way to dispel that myth.
“I can tell you, 100 percent, that all three of us are cool,” he wrote last month on his USA Today blog. “I’ve got the utmost respect for those guys and their games and we’re actually cool with each other. Every time I see them, we talk and hang out so I don’t know where that [rumors that they don’t get along] came from.
“I love that they’re at Kentucky too.
“Potentially playing with two great guards would make it easier for me. I think that we would have a legit shot to win a national championship in our first year because I don’t see any guards in the country that would be better than them.”
If Calipari were to add Randle and Wiggins to his already blockbuster class, you have to wonder how he would find playing time and keep everybody happy. But never bet against Coach Cal in recruiting.
Still, Randle has also spoken highly of Florida coach Billy Donovan as well as the other schools.
4. AARON GORDON, 6-8 PF, San Jose (CA) Archbishop Mitty
In July at the Peach Jam, Gordon told me he had a top three of Washington, Arizona and Kentucky.
“Yes, that’s probably how it would go,” Gordon said then. “It’s all wide open right now, but that [order] would be the closest.”
Here we are four months later and the 6-9 Gordon has officially trimmed his list to those same three schools, eliminating Kansas and Oregon.
He took official visits to all five schools and plans to sign in the spring.
Washington has long been considered to have an inside track because coach Lorenzo Romar and Ed Gordon, Aaron’s father, grew up in the same Los Angeles neighborhood.
“Washington’s a really good school,” Gordon said in July. “I love Romar. I also like [Kentucky Coach John] Calipari a lot. I like [Arizona Coach] Sean Miller. I like all those guys. There’s no really No. 1. Those are very close to my top three.
“Washington’s probably up there, but there’s really no No. 1.”
5. DAKARI JOHNSON, 6-10 C, Montverde (FL) Academy
The big man who recently reclassified to 2013 from 2014 is considering Florida, Georgetown, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio State and Syracuse.
His mother, Makini Campbell, expressed questions about Syracuse and Kansas, since both have recently added big men to their recruiting classes. (The 7-foot Embiid played with Johnson last year at Montverde before signing with Kansas this year.)
Kentucky, Florida and Georgetown would remain strong options and since Johnson lived in Lexington for several years and attended middle school there, he has a natural connection to Kentucky.
“Actually, last Thanksgiving we spent time with his friends there, with his extended family,” Makini Campbell said. “So for him that is kind of like going back to something that ‘s very familiar and something that is likable.”
Still, Johnson currently lives in Florida and likes coach Billy Donovan. Georgetown’s history with big men is self-explanatory.