Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Kentucky Signs Knight, Marquette Grabs Juco Star

The recruiting signings will continue to come in fast and furious for the next few weeks. The biggest signing of the day was expected: Kentucky inked Brandon Knight, considered by most to be the top point guard in the 2010 class. It is the third big recruit signing for Calipari's 2010 class, with shooting guard Stacey Poole and power forward Enes Kantor being the other signings. All three are big time recruits, but it's important to remember just how much Kentucky loses. They are likely going to lose five players early to the NBA Draft (John Wall, Patrick Patterson, Eric Bledsoe, DeMarcus Cousins and Daniel Orton, with Orton being the only question mark), and they also lose two bench players from their rotation to graduation. The only players who will return who received regular playing time in 2009-10 are Darius Miller, Darnell Dodson and DeAndre Liggins, and Dodson might be transferring out. Jon Hood and Josh Harrellson are also both on scholarship, but neither played more than garbage time this past season.

So Kentucky still has work to do, and there's no question that Calipari has more signings to do. It's still very difficult to project what type of team Kentucky will be next season until we know who else he signs. We do know one signing Kentucky will have for 2011, with Michael Gilchrist agreeing to commit to the Wildcats. Gilchrist is currently considered by many to be the top overall recruit in the 2011 class, although if there's any coach where we shouldn't be making projections two years hence it's John Calipari. It's hard enough to predict the 2010-11 Kentucky starting lineup.

One other signing today was Marquette landing Jae Crowder. Crowder was the top Juco player in 2009-10, and he will have two years of eligibility for Marquette. Crowder is a 6'6" athlete, in the mold of the graduating Marquette star Lazar Hayward. Marquette's top returner is another 6'6" athlete, Jimmy Butler. Other than Butler and Crowder the top 2010-11 Marquette players are all guards: Darius Johnson-Odom, Dwight Buycks and Vander Blue. Their bench depth will come from Junior Cadougan in the backcourt, and Joseph Fulce and Erik Williams down low. Marquette lost a lot to graduation this past season, but they have a real potential to actually be improved in 2010-11, particularly if they can make one more big signing.

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