1. Cats Target Large Class of 'Position-less' Players
We knew going into the summer evaluation period that Kentucky was casting a wide net for 2017, but several players confirmed to us that John Calipari intends to sign at least six players in this deep class. With so many expected vacancies on the roster following next season, it could be argued that this is the most important recruiting class for Calipari since he arrived in Lexington. Outside of point guard, where newcomer De'Aaron Fox is considered to be one of the most likely "one-and-done" candidates, no other position is a clear-cut priority, but the UK boss appears to be rolling with the concept of "position-less basketball" that has become popularized by the NBA's Golden State Warriors. Many top prospects, including DeAndre Ayton, Mohamed Bamba, Jarred Vanderbilt, Kevin Knox and P.J. Washington, said they liked how the UK staff envisioned them as versatile athletes who could play almost anywhere on the floor. That's a particularly nice selling point when it comes to the big men. It may also help the Cats lure multiple wing players like John Petty, Hamidou Diallo and Lonnie Walker.
2. Trae Young Makes A Statement
Nobody played better at Peach Jam than Norman (Okla.) point guard Trae Young, who helped lead Mokan Elite to its first-ever EYBL championship by scoring 28 points and dishing out 11 assists in the title game against the PSA Cardinals. He averaged 27 points, 7.2 assists and 3.1 steals at Peach Jam, sharing MVP honors with teammate Michael Porter Jr. Kentucky offered Young last year, but has recently extended offers to 2016 point guards Tremont Waters and Quade Green, leading to some intrigue about which player was slotted highest on the Cats' big board. Although both Waters and Green also looked good at Peach Jam, Young left very little debate that he is UK's top priority. He's a do-it-all player who oozes confidence and can impact the game on both ends of the floor, similar to recently departed All-American Tyler Ulis. The 6-foot-1 Young, however, is bigger and more advanced offensively at the same stage. One trait both players share is a relentless thirst to compete. Look for Young, ranked No. 5 at point guard for 2017 heading into this event, to come out of it with a significant boost. If there's a guy playing better point guard than him right now, we need to see him.
3. UK Moving Away from Previous Targets?
There's no doubt that Duke has regained some swagger on the recruiting trail. Coach Cal has been going head to head with Coach K on several elite prospects the last couple of years, and Krzyzewski has been landing more than his fair share against the man many believe to be college basketball's top recruiter. Don't expect that trend to change in 2017. The Blue Devils are in great shape with a number of prospects that the Cats offered early in the process, including center Wendell Carter and shooting guard Gary Trent Jr. Both told us this week that their contact with the UK staff has been limited in recent weeks. Carter could not recall the last time he heard from Calipari. Despite that, both players say they may take an official visit to Lexington this fall, but all signs point to them winding up in Durham.