Calipari speaks on his No. 1 ranked class
John Calipari has done it again. Kentucky's coach, who may go down as the best recruiter of all time, is sitting comfortable atop the No. 1 spot in the recruiting rankings.
A familiar spot for Calipari, who's had the No. 1 ranked class six of the past seven years.
Kentucky announced on Thursday the signing of six players, Sacha Killeya-Jones, Wenyen Gabriel, Bam Adebayo, De'Aaron Fox and Malik Monk.
Tai Wynyard was also announced although he will join the Cats in December and be a part of this season's team.
The signings also marked the first time Calipari has been able to talk about the recruits.
"This group, the overriding thing, great kids," Calipari said in a video released by KYWildcatsTV. "Now, they can play. They have some athleticism; they have length, speed, wow, skill with the ball. They're basketball players, but they're all great players who, on this campus, will fit in so well."
The class most recently exploded with the surprise signings of Adebayo and Fox on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.
NC State was thought to be the leader for Adebayo, while Monk was down to Kentucky and Arkansas, but was thought to announce in the spring.
Calipari was complimentary of all his recruits but especially Adebayo, the 6-foot-10, 260-pound forward.
"I think he's way better offensively than everybody realizes," Calipari said to media members Thursday. "…. He can shoot. I've seen him make threes. I've seen him make, like, I didn't realize. He can drive the ball."
Adebayo hasn't been knocked for his offense, but experts consider him a phenomenal defender, rebounder and shot blocker.
"Somebody said he was 6'8", 230, and he was in eight grade," Calipari said. "Now he's 6'10", 260. He's 6'10", 260.
"… I said we have to buy a couple more backboards down at Rupp, because we only have three and I'm afraid if he breaks one or breaks two, like, this kid, he's a beast."
And while he literally and physically may be the biggest part of this class, four other five-star players join Adebayo.
Calipari loves the talent level from his future players, but he loves their diversity on the court more.
"Every one of them are totally different from the other," Calipari said. "Sacha is nothing like Wenyen, even though they're both 6'10". And those two are nothing like Bam. And no one is like Tai. Tai is a 6'10" beast.
"The two guards are totally different. And that's they way I like it because now just be your best. You be your best and that's going to be good enough."
Wynyard's role, and redshirt status for this season is undecided. The New Zealander should be arriving in December and will be living with Isaac Humphries when he lands in the Bluegrass.
"I have no idea when he's going to move in," Humphries said. "December something.
"… Maybe I should shoot him a message since we're going to be living together."
Wynyard has a ways to go offensively, but if the Cats need a big body and a rebounder this season, they could call on him.
But make no mistake about it; Humphries wants the world to know that New Zealanders and Australians are different.
As a matter of fact, back at their respective homes they were rivals.
"Yeah, people think we're supposed to be best friends because we're from the southern hemisphere," Humphries said. "It's a different country, guys. There's a big rivalry (between New Zealand and Australia) but I think we'll be fine. I don't think there will be too many scuffles."
But unlike Wynyard, the rest of the 2016 class will have to wait until the summer to arrive on UK's campus.
Calipari is thrilled with their different skills, but he commends one thing they all have in common.
"They all have plans that they have that they want the academic success," Calipari said. "They know they have a lifetime scholarship, and every one of these kids has committed to, 'I'm going to get my degree, depending on when, I don't know but I'll get it.'"
UK's coach shrugged his shoulders when asked if the Cats were done recruiting in 2016, but having a player at every position would hint Kentucky might turn towards 2017.
Shocker that Calipari feels good about that class, too.
"I can touch some (2017 recruits)," Calipari said. "Like, I may go, you know, we have a pretty good bead on the 17s that we're on. Probably six of them, maybe seven. And I can touch those guys, but for now my focus will shift solely, 'Let me get this team right.' And we're not right."
The Cats have offered 10 players in the class of 2017 and seem to be in a solid position with about the number Calipari hinted at on Thursday.