Rothstein Files: Another Recruiting Coup For Kentucky’s Calipari?

By Jon Rothstein
» More Columns

It is more than conceivable that John Calipari could follow up his first ever National Championship with his greatest recruiting coup ever.

Should Kentucky beat Louisville on Saturday at the Final Four and then triumph over the winner of Kansas/Ohio State on Monday, Calipari would have given folks in the Commonwealth everything they’ve been craving since his arrival and then could be in position to outdo himself within a few weeks.

Multiple sources say there is more than a legitimate chance of Kentucky landing the top two prospects in the Class of 2012 in 6-foot-10 shot blocker Nerlens Noel and lefty wing Shabazz Muhammad.

Noel would immediately fill the role for the Wildcats vacated once Anthony Davis leaves for the NBA as expected. The Massachusetts native is also considering Syracuse and Georgetown but those close to the situation believe the burgeoning big man will ultimately wind up in Lexington.

Muhammad meanwhile, is a more interesting situation. A terrific scorer at 6-foot-6, Muhammad has the ability to be the best player in the country next season and has been linked to several different potential destinations during his recruiting process.

While he’s recently officially visited Duke, Muhammad has long been rumored to be part of a dream recruiting class at UCLA along with St. Anthony point forward Kyle Anderson, who committed to the Bruins last fall. With Muhammad and Anderson, UCLA would immediately be a favorite in the PAC-12 and instantly a lock for the Preseason Top 25.

The dark horse in the Muhammad sweepstakes is hometown UNLV. The Runnin Rebels will be much improved in 2012-13 thanks to two terrific transfers in guard Bryce Jones (USC) and nimble big man Khem Birch (Pitt). Mater Dei combo guard Katin Reinhardt also joins Dave Rice’s crew and is expected to compete for major minutes as a freshman.

Rice’s brother Grant is Muhammad’s high school coach at Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas.

Still, several sources still insist that Muhammad has wanted to play for Calipari all along and has always planned to be in college for just one season. With Kentucky’s recent success, it seems more than possible that both he and Noel could wind up playing their home games at Rupp Arena next season, where every night feels like it’s the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

Here’s what Kentucky’s potential starting lineup would look like should Noel and Muhammad both wind up at Kentucky.


PG Ryan Harrow (transfer from NC State)
SG Archie Goodwin (Top 15 National Recruit)
SF Shabzz Muhammad
PF Kyle Wiltjer
C Nerlens Noel

Is it possible that Kentucky could be even more of a powerhouse next season? Sound off in the comments below…

  • bypass gastrico

    Magnificent points altogether, you just received a logo new reader. What might you suggest in regards to your publish that you simply made a few days ago? Any sure?

  • lenceria fina

    Hi there, simply became aware of your blog thru Google, and found that it is truly informative. I’m going to watch out for brussels. I’ll be grateful for those who proceed this in future. Lots of other folks will likely be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  • An enjoyable read. I actually have some more ideas about this. Have you thought about allowing guest articles on your blog?

    certainly like your web site however you need to take a look at the spelling on quite a few of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling problems and I find it very troublesome to tell the reality however I will surely come again again.

  • montreal incall

    I’ve learn some good stuff here. Definitely worth bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how a lot effort you put to create one of these magnificent informative site.

  • rodger

    i have never made comment on the outher team post or talked in any maner good or must be sad life to live in the house that i dog all the time not be able to feel the love from bbn

  • jgover

    I haven’t given up on Cal and UK breaking the UCLA string.

  • John

    Ky is looking great right now. If Noel and ‘Bazz come , we are set. Looks like we could get Bennett as well. Oriaki only has to get a waiver from the SEC and he can play. Jefferson even may come. I can see the Cats go 9 deep with that. I only see Wiljier coming back with real playing time and having Harrow, so 2 returning and they get 7 new recruits and then Big O from uconn. –as they say –rinse and repeat!

  • knows best

    Did everyone forget that we are also in the running for the number 1 power forward in Anthony Bennet, who i think will end up being better than Jones.

    Real line up
    1- Harrow(1yr in the system already)
    2- Goodwin
    3- Shabazz, or poythress
    4- bennet or wiltjer
    5-Noel or Cauley

    either way you look at it its going to be nasty.
    UK back to back Nat’l Champs?

  • 1ToughCookie

    It’s still possible that Jones and/or Kidd-Gilchrist stays. Put either of them in Kyle Wiltjer’s spot…and we’d have a grand slam starting line up!

  • Close2daSituation

    If you are a true fan, not a hater, then you could objectively look at the situation. The fact of the matter is, Miller has played a HUGE part of this team this year and the CATS woudl not be where they are without him. UK has the best freshman in the country and great talent up and down the board, but everyone overlooks of how well they play as a team. They are undoubtedly the best most unselfish team in the nation, and hence their success. Davis, Teague, and Jones leave while MKG and Doron stay. Cats goin to eat their favorite food this weekend, KFC..Kentucky Fried Cardinal

  • David in Boynton

    Oriakhi will have to sit out a year. There’s no sense in actually believing that 5 freshmen will start a la Michigan. But should that happen – truthfully Doron Lamb does not deserve the start right now. I think that he’s admirably running point when Teague isn’t in but his shooting is off and it is unforgivable to leave so many FTs hanging last game.

    Teague will benefit from the lack of good PG in the draft this year. He’ll be a reserve for a few years in the NBA. Lamb isn’t ready psychologically – he hangs his head too much when he isn’t shooting well instead of flushing the missed shot or defensive blunder and starting fresh.

    Yes – they’ll miss the seniors. I can’t say Jon Hood will count… at least they’ll have Beckham, Hood, Wiltjer and Lamb as “reserves” if all those Frosh come – Cal can run 9 deep which should make these tourney games easier. Cats looked wiped out in SEC v Vandy and last game against Baylor was deflating in the 2nd half after injury.

    • Mark

      So many things wrong with this post. Oriakhi doesn’t have to sit out with UConn being banned from the tournament. Wow, the NCAA DOES have a rule that slightly benefits players. Who would have thought?

      Lamb’s “shooting if off.” Because he missed some free throws against Baylor? He’s been HUGE in the tournament. He’s shooting 57% from the field! And averaging 17 points per game. Missing his free throws in one game is forgivable.

      Calipari doesn’t need his team to run 9 deep. He’s got the rotation set. Vandy was the third game in three days, playing them for the third time, and Vandy HAD to win that game.

      Teague coming back would be a tremendous lift for our team. Teague, Shabazz, Goodwin, Poythress, Noel, Cauley, Wiltjer, and Harrow is an amazing core. Freshman or not, talent like that will take us to the Final 4 every year.

    • bkr5ky

      Oriakhi will not have to sit out one year, your statement is wrong. NCAA rules allows a player to transfer and not sit out the one year if a post season ban is in effect like it is next year for UCONN.

    • KentuckyWins#8

      Oriakhi can transfer and play next year, at least that’s what everything I’ve read about him possibly coming to UK has said

  • jackson

    all you nasayers are probley pukie people and are just envious because your team got dumped on early .

  • CalisCleanlol

    World Wide Wes is the best recruiter in the nation for his buddy Cal. Dirty ass Cal

    • KentuckyWins#8

      You’re hilarious. Pretty sad the amount of time people are willing to dedicate to blindly hating a man and school who have never personally wronged them. But, whatever, it’s your life.

    • f

      you are a sad sole

  • jauk11

    Calipari has been scrutinized closely TWICE by the NCAA and come out clean both times, something a LOT of coaches couldn’t do.

    Calipari would be stupid to cheat at UK, he gets the best recruits as it is now because of the school, his development of players and coaching, AND putting his players first, I doubt that very many of his critics say he is stupid.

  • the truth

    It doesn’t matter if they do win, the title will be vacated within 3 years anyways.

    • d0ct0rj

      Care to make a little wager on it? Say $1000? Say $10000?

      It won’t happen.

    • kylep

      What ever you have no life taking the time to comment on a KENTUCKY article.

    • Heard it all before


    • The real truth

      We have been waiting for three years…… Yawn.
      Kentucky has the best compliance officer in in the country.

  • David Adler

    That is if Lamb, Jones and MKG depart. Nothing in stone that they will leave! Either way next year is AGAIN gone be a fun time for UK WILDCAT FANS! Now GO BLUE go win NCAA # 8 and bring it home tha RUPP! GO BIG BLUE!

  • David Adler

    That is if Lamb, Jones and MKG depart. Nothing in stone that they will leave! Either way next year is AGAIN gone be a fun time for UK WILDCAT FANS! Now GIG BLUE go win NCAA # 8 and bring it home tha RUPP! GO BIG BLUE!

  • james

    did you really have to use the word “vacated”? lol

  • steve

    I agree. you add in there Poythress and potentially a returning Teague, and this team could be outstanding. Not to mention, I’m not convinced Lamb leaves either.

  • Joseph

    i don’t know if wiltjer would start either. I think alex protheyress will come in and immediately contribute.

  • Paul

    If UK lands both Noel and Muhammad, they’ll definitely reload. However, they will miss the senior leadership they’ve had the past two years with Darius Miller and Josh Harrellson.

    There is a possibility that Doron Lamb or Marquis Teague could stay as well.

    • runningbackclubdotcom

      they won’t win this year or they’ll be sanctioned in the future.

      • KYRulesU2

        Wow, a fortune teller…nice.

    • Chris

      I think if UK lands Noel they also land his buddy and one-year transfer, Alex Oriakhi.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Giving Tuesday
Charles Osgood Event

Listen Live