Update: 9:41p. As The Fizz predicted, Dakari Johnson chose Kentucky Saturday night. The top big man in the country will join what is being billed as one of the greatest recruiting classes ever. Look at this talent haul: The 6’11” center from Montverde (Fla.) Academy makes it the #3, 5, 6, 12 and 30 players in this year’s ESPN 100.
Yup, John Calipari has nabbed three of the top 6, and four of the top 12 players in the nation. And there’s still work to be done for UK. The Wildcats are in on the top player overall in Andrew Wiggins, #4 Julius Randle and #7 Aaron Gordon. While it’s going to be hard for a very long time (or until UK faces NCAA sanctions) to compete with the most powerful college program in the country, SU was not helped out by the depth in the front court for Dakari. His family would like for him to immediately increase his draft stock, and while UK’s Nerlens Noel is expected to leave, neither Dajuan Coleman nor Rakeem Christmas’ draft status is very high right now.
Either way, the Orange has a terrific recruiting class set to come in. Syracuse has recruited along with the best in the nation. Kentucky, however, proves to be on an entirely different level than the rest of the country. When Cal wants a player, he usually gets him.
* * *
Here’s what I’m hearing about Dakari Johnson, the top big man in the nation at 6-10, 250-pounds, who will decide tonight between Kentucky, Georgetown and Syracuse. He’s a New York native, and could be the second top Empire State product to spurn the Orange is in 24 hours.
Syracuse – I believe the Orange is out since he is deciding so early. While DaJuan Coleman and Rakeem Christmas could likely both leave for the NBA, there is no indication right now they definitely will based on their current draft stock. That stock isn’t very high at this time for two All-Americans. Dakari and his family want him to be drafted highly, and he would only get that with huge playing time. If Rak and DC stick around, the minutes at SU are limited right now. I think Syracuse is out here.
Georgetown – The Hoyas are still involved and have a chance. I just wonder what how they would use him and Josh Smith together? Maybe the UCLA transfer is just a backup option? They went full staff on Thursday night for his game. G’Town clearly still cares, but I’m not sure if they have a real shot here.
Kentucky – I predict the Wildcats is his choice. He has family in Kentucky, and that helped former HS teammate Michael Kidd-Gilchrist decide on UK a few years ago. Johnson has already lived in the state for a few years – he played there in middle school. I doubt Nerlens Noel returns, and Willie Cauley-Stein’s draft stock is amazing. John Calipari saw Dakari last night and will see him play again today right before the announcement. Oh, and World Wide Wes has developed a relationship with his family.
Surprise, surprise… I see Kentucky winning another huge recruiting battle. He would pair up with Marcus Lee, Harrison Twins and James Young.
Posted: Alex Kline