John Calipari, the head coach of Kentucky’s basketball team, has always been known as an outstanding recruiter throughout his career. He managed to land the dynamic duo of John Wall and Demarcus Cousins in his first season at Kentucky. In addition, Calipari put together perhaps one of the most talented and deep college teams ever with his 2014-15 team that utilized a platoon system. Calipari has always been one of the elite recruiters in college basketball.
No matter what, Kentucky has typically had top five recruiting classes in every season under Calipari. Over the last 10 years, the Wildcats have brought in some of the best recruiting classes ever. Really, college basketball recruiting has been a two-man show ran by Kentucky and Duke. Kentucky has consistently brought in the best or second recruiting classes in the last few seasons. The current recruiting cycle is starting to slowly piece together, it could be one of Calipari’s best classes at Kentucky. Kentucky’s 2022 recruiting class could even shape into one of the best college basketball recruiting classes ever.
Kentucky’s 2022 commits
Tuesday evening, Calipari reeled in one of the top recruits in the 2022 class. Shaedon Sharpe committed to the Wildcats, making him the second commit in Kentucky’s 2022 class. Sharpe is the top 2022 recruit according to both ESPN and Rivals. Meanwhile, Sharpe is ranked 6th by 247 Sports in the 2022 class. Any major recruiting site has Sharpe as one of the elite talents in his class. Sharpe is a 6-foot-5 shooting guard with a knack for scoring. He has the skillset to score at any level and has noteworthy athleticism.
Shaedon Sharpe, the No. 1 prospect in the class of 2022, has committed to Kentucky, he told ESPN. He’s Kentucky’s first top-five commitment since Bam Adebayo in 2016 and the first No. 1 prospect John Calipari has recruited since Nerlens Noel in 2012. Highlights from Nike EYBL. pic.twitter.com/zZ2xgxpc3l
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) September 7, 2021
As mentioned, Sharpe is Kentucky’s second commit in the 2022 class. Their first commit was the five-star point guard Skyy Clark who is ranked 11th nationally according to 247 Sports’ Composite rankings. Clarke will give Kentucky another very talented scoring guard to go alongside Sharpe. Clarke has point guard attributes, such as being a good passer and ball handler.
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) October 22, 2020
Calipari is far from finished
With just Clark and Sharpe, Calipari has already put together a very nice backcourt for Kentucky. However, the 2022 recruiting cycle still has a long way to go. The Wildcats will likely add another three or four recruits to their 2022 class. According to 247 Sport’s Crystal Ball Predictions, Calipari could still add several new five-star talents to his recruiting class.
The top 14 2022 recruits of 247 Sport’s Composite rankings is simply littered with Kentucky predictions. Within the last one or two years, recruiting platforms have added the feature for recruiting analysts to have a level of confidence on their predictions. For example, a prediction with a level one confidence is very shaky and unlikely. While a confidence level of 8-10 signifies this recruit has a great chance heading to the predicted university.
Kentucky has a prediction for five more recruits in the top 14. This would give their recruiting class seven of the top 14 recruits in the cycle. It is highly unlikely that Calipari takes seven recruits in this class. In addition, seven elite recruits are just not going to land at the same school due to playing time. There is still a great chance the Wildcats land three of these predicted recruits.
The remaining recruits the Wildcats could land
Kentucky has four predictions with a confidence level of six on both Cason Wallace and Adem Bona. Wallace is a five-star combo guard ranked 12th nationally. Standing at 6-foot-9, Bona is a five-star center ranked 13th nationally. Within the top five of the 2022 class, the Wildcats have three predictions with a high confidence level of eight on Chris Livingston. Livingston is ranked fifth nationally, he’s seen as the top small forward in the class. Lastly, Kentucky has one prediction with a confidence level of six for the second-best recruit in the 2022 class, Dereck Lively II.
The three recruits that really stick out right now for Kentucky is Wallace, Bona and Livingston. Lively will probably not announce a commitment for awhile still. Calipari will want a center, and Bona with four predictions seems more likely than Lively.
Meanwhile, Livingston is expected to announce his commitment in mid-October. With several high confidence picks on Kentucky, Livingston to Kentucky seems safe. Plus, Calipari will surely want a small forward in the 2022 class, so Livingston makes sense.
Wallace is expected to announce his commitment in the beginning of November. Further, four predictions for Wallace to Kentucky is pretty substantial. Calipari has also hinted at running a guard-heavy lineup in the upcoming season. Could this mean Calipari will look to land more guards if the lineup works? It certainly could, Wallace could work nicely alongside the commits Clark and Sharpe.
The 2022 class has a long way to go
None of these predictions are a lock by any means. The recruiting process for some of the mentioned recruits could go into the late Spring or early Summer of 2022. For Kentucky, they still need to go through the upcoming season before completing their 2022 class.
Calipari has no idea who could declare for the NBA Draft after next season. If a lot of Wildcats stay around, the 2022 class will become smaller. Another possibility is nearly all of Kentucky’s front court left after next season. This would mean Calipari will target more big men in the 2022 class. This scenario could certainly happen for the backcourt as well. Nearly anything is possible concerning Kentucky’s roster after next season. Calipari cannot fill roster spots with 2022 recruits if he doesn’t know who will stay at Kentucky or leave for the NBA.
Clearly, there’s a lot that will need to happen before Calipari puts together a full 2022 class. The idea of the Wildcats having a decent shot at landing three of the top five 2022 recruits, or five of the top 13 is mind-boggling. Even for an elite program like Duke or Kentucky, that sort of recruiting class is not normal. Kentucky has the chance to have a truly special 2022 recruiting class.
Featured image courtesy of AP Photo/Mark Humphrey
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