Kentucky Basketball head coach John Calipari has been very busy on the recruiting trail this spring.
John Calipari is looking to assure that he never has a season with the Kentucky Wildcats like he did this past season. Kentucky finished this past season with a losing record (9-16) for the first time since the 1988-89 campaign. It was also Calipari’s first non-winning season since his first campaign as a collegiate head coach in 1988-89 with the UMass Minutemen who went 10-18.
However, it is not just the losing campaign that makes this offseason so crucial for Kentucky. The Wildcats suffered the tragic loss of NBA prospect Terrence Clarke in a car accident at the end of April. Calipari saw Olivier Sarr, Devin Askew, BJ Boston, and Cam’ron Fletcher leave the program for a variety of reasons. He also had 2021 four-star point guard Nolan Hickman decommit on April 30 while also bringing in two new assistant coaches — Orlando Antigua and Chin Washington.
On a positive front, Calipari has brought in the No. 6 rated 2021 recruiting class per 247 Sports, keyed by four transfers — Oscar Tschiebwe, Kellen Grady, Sahvir Wheeler along with CJ Frederick. Five-star freshmen TyTy Washington and Damion Collins as well as four-star Bryce Hopkins round out the recruiting class as it stands now. The Cats have two scholarships remaining, although Davion Mintz, Isaiah Jackson, and Keion Brooks are still in the process of whether they want to stay in the NBA draft or return to school.
With 18 players currently on the team’s 2021-22 roster, Calipari has recently turned his focus to the 2022 recruiting class. The Wildcats have one commitment from the upcoming senior class, from five-star combo guard Skyy Clark. Clark, who recently reaffirmed his commitment to Cats, will be on the Lexington campus from June 11-13.
While Clark is currently the lone commit, the Wildcats have made overtures to other members of the 2022 class including five-star point guard Jaden Bradley, four-star shooting guard Shaedon Sharpe, five-star forward Emoni Bates, five-star wing Chris Livingston, five-star wing Brandon Miller, and five-star center Jalen Duren.
Kentucky has also made the finalists list of five-star point guard Dior Johnson and five-star power forward Sagrague Nganga, and five-star shooting guard Keyonte George. Johnson, who was previously committed to Syracuse, is also considering Alabama as well as Oregon, Washington and playing professionally in Australia.
Nganga, who is originally from Angola, is down to 11 schools including Memphis along with Arizona State, Georgia, Oklahoma, Saint Mary’s, Illinois, Kansas, UCLA, Arizona, and Auburn. George has Baylor, Kansas, Oklahoma State, and Texas as his other finalists. None of the three players have been officially offered a scholarship by the Cats.
Additionally, Kentucky is reportedly among the programs working the hardest for four-star centers Vince Iwuchukwu, Dereck Lively, Felix Okpara as well as four-star shooting guard Nick Smith.