As usual the Kentucky Wildcats and Head Coach John Calipari are bringing in the top class in the conference. While Kentucky hasn't brought in a group full of five or six McDonald's All-Americans like in years past, he has assembled a very solid class that goes into signing day ranked No. 1 in the country.
In the backcourt the Wildcats have a pair of four-star talents coming in with Tyler Ulis and Devin Booker. Ulis is one of the premier point guards in the class, and is flat out a winner. At 5-foot-8 what he lacks in size he more than makes up for in skill, toughness, and feel for the game. All spring and summer long Ulis dominated the competition with his play. Booker is a very versatile player who can play multiple spots in the backcourt and is a natural scorer who can really shoot the ball.
The Wildcats also brought in a pair of very talented players in the frontcourt. Five-star prospects Karl Towns and Trey Lyles each will suit up for Kentucky, and both bring a sense of toughness and interior scoring.
Lyles is the top rated prospect to commit to any school in the conference. He is a 6-foot-9 power forward who is rugged down low and then skilled enough to stretch a defense to the three point arc. Lyles is one of the best rebounders in the entire class, and brings a high motor every time he steps on the court.
Towns is a skilled center who can handle, shoot, and is developing on the post. Towns is an excellent passer as well, so the offense can run through him some. During the spring Towns played with the Dominican National Team coached by Calipari, and that helped him to get familiar with the program and his future coach.
Overall this isn't the class for the ages that the Wildcats have put together in the past, but it is one of the truly special groups in the country.
While Kentucky again came home with the honors as best class in the league, overall from top to bottom the entire conference did a good job. Schools such as Florida, Missouri, and Alabama each brought in excellent classes as well.
9. Mississippi State
10. Texas A&M
11. South Carolina
13. Ole Miss
Frank Haith continues to do a good job on the recruiting trail for Missouri. The Tigers went out to California and landed four-star wing Namon Wright. Wright is a tough defender and someone who loves to get to the rim off the dribble. Also they were able to go into the state of Georgia and sang highly thought of power forward Jakeenan Gant.
Gant is a very good athlete, and when he is motivated and playing hard is one of the more difficult matchups in the class. He can make shots out to 18 feet, and then is big and strong enough to score on the post. Also Gant is a solid shot blocker who has length and good timing.
Beyond them the Alabama Crimson Tide also brought in reinforcements. The Tide were looking for shooters, and they landed three of them. Point guard Justin Coleman can flat out shoot the basketball, and is capable of really getting hot from deep while also running a team.
Also you have one wing in Devin Mitchell who in catch and shoot situations as is good as it gets. Now Mitchell needs to be more efficient with his play and not dribble so much and focus on his good shooting, but the talent is there. Then there is combo forward Riley Norris who can light it up from deep and also is a decent athlete.
Who could have the biggest impact
The player who will make the biggest impact is ironically the smallest player being signed by any school and that is Ulis. The 5-foot-8 floor general should step right in from day one at Kentucky and make his presence felt in a big way.
|Top SEC Prospects|
|Top Prospect:||Trey Lyles, Kentucky|
|Best Scorer:||Devin Booker, Kentucky|
|Best Passer:||Chris Chiozza, Florida|
|Best Shot Blocker:||Elbert Robinson, LSU|
|Best Floor General:||Tyler Ulis, Kentucky|
|Best Post Player:||Trey Lyles, Kentucky|
|Best Athlete:||Sam Logwood, Auburn|
|Best Rebounder:||Trey Lyles, Kentucky|
|Best Shooter:||Devin Mitchell, Alabama|
Ulis will be at his best in pick and roll situations where he can survey the defense and either drive, pass, or shoot if left open. With some elite talent surrounding him, his IQ will shine through at a high level, and then also his excellent passing and ability to score will keep everybody off balance.
He might not have that elite NBA ceiling, but Ulis does possess the ability to make a ton of plays, and he should have an immediate impact
How did the SEC Stack Up?
Overall the conference has to be very happy with the way it recruited from the top down in this cycle. The SEC has taken its lumps in the media in recent years, and deservedly so, for the league being down, but this is a class that should help raise the profile of the conference going forward.
The SEC as a whole secured two five-star commitments and then landed another 12 four-star commitments for 14 top 100 commitments total. That number is only surpassed by the Big East and the ACC, meaning that the league has really been infused with some top talent.
The other good thing is that the league isn't just being buoyed by Kentucky. Several other schools managed to get quality prospects and fill needs. Overall this was clearly an excellent run as a whole by the schools in the SEC