Kentucky coach John Calipari began his recruiting pitch shortly after the Wildcats wrapped up their national championship on Monday night.
“I’ve got to go recruiting Friday,” Calipari said.
That’s because he could be on the verge of losing his top six players from this year’s title squad. Calipari went so far as to say he hopes he has six players drafted in this summer’s NBA draft. That means Kentucky needs to reload before the 2012-13 season begins.
Kentucky signed three prospects in the fall: guard Archie Goodwin, forward Alex Poythress and center Willie Cauley. Point guard transfer Ryan Harrow from North Carolina State will be eligible to play in the fall.
Calipari’s spring recruiting is focused on three highly-touted prospects: forwards Anthony Bennett and Shabazz Muhammad and center Nerlens Noel.
There are many predictions on where those players will land. Evan Daniels of Scout.com/FOXSports shared his thoughts on Wednesday afternoon.
Top Three Remaining: Nerlens Noel – UK, Gtown or Cuse. Shabazz Muhammad – UK or UCLA. Anthony Bennett – Florida or UK.
— Evan Daniels (@EvanDanielscout) April 4, 2012
Daniels also wrote on twitter that he would be surprised if Kentucky doesn’t land two of those three prospects. He added that “these races are tighter than people think.”
Daniels cited three different sources who believe Noel will choose Georgetown. Daniels made sure to point out that’s the prediction of others, not him.
Muhammad’s recruitment has brought on split opinions. Many have considered Muhammad to be a lean to Kentucky, but Jerry Meyer of Rivals.com offered a different outcome on Wednesday.
Hearing from a couple reliable sources that Shabazz Muhammad will end up at UCLA.
— Jerry Meyer (@3starmeyer) April 4, 2012
Calipari will also have to battle rumors of his departure from Kentucky for the NBA.
Calipari, of course, denies any interest in leaving for the NBA.
“I’ve got the best job in basketball,” Calipari told Sporting News on Wednesday. “I’ve got more money than I’m ever going to spend, so I don’t have to make a decision based on finances … People that I don’t know, that I wouldn’t know if they walked into my office, have an opinion of me? Fine. You’re not stealing my joy, my team’s joy. I’ve got a great job. I’m going out recruiting this weekend.”
And don’t be surprised if Calipari brings home the nation’s top recruiting class when he’s done.