With Kentucky’s championship long forgotten by most fans already, everyone’s eyes are turned to future recruits. Nerlens Noels shocked the world by committing to Kentucky earlier this week, and tonight’s Jordan Brand Classic All-American game will give Big Blue Nation even more to enjoy. The game airs tonight, April 14th at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN, and features three Kentucky recruits and one more likely commitment. It should be an enjoyable preview of the wonderful things to come next season.
Future Wildcats Archie Goodwin and Alex Poythress will be playing together for the West team, and they’ll both be facing off against Noel on the East squad. Although the game won’t be taken too seriously by any parties involved, it will be interesting to see how well Goodwin and Poythress are able to score inside against the fierce shot-blocking ability of the 6’10″ number one overall recruit Noel. They are both effective penetrators and strong finishers around the rim, so they should be able to test Noel’s supposedly legendary ability to reject everything that comes near him.
Another thing to watch will be the way Anthony Bennett interacts with the three Kentucky guys with whom he’ll be playing. He’s Kentucky’s biggest target at the moment, and the best recruit still available. His big body and solid interior presence would be a big boost for a 2013 Wildcats crew that’s still a little thin in the front court, both literally and figuratively. He’ll still be trying to prove himself, since he hasn’t signed anywhere, so he may have a highlight or two to keep Kentucky fans salivating throughout the game. He’s on the West squad with Goodwin and Poythress, so they may be feeding him the ball, creating opportunities for him, and implementing other general on-court recruiting tactics. Noel might even let himself get dunked on for the good of his future team.
If Bennett does commit to Kentucky, there could be a battle for a position between him and Poythress. They are both slightly undersized power forwards, and although Poythress is more apt to move out to the wing, he’s still got the strength and explosiveness to handle the four spot. The game might reveal if either player shows a preference for a position. In all likelihood, Poythress will settle into a spot on the wing quite nicely, and Bennett will showcase his powerful post play. Watching Goodwin, Poythress, and Bennett play together tonight will be a beautiful preview of the way things will be if Bennett becomes a Wildcat.
Excitement is already building for November’s first tip, and this will be one of the last chances to see Kentucky’s recruits in action before next season. For those who take the time to check out the future boys in blue, as a bonus, Nerlens Noel will probably still have a giant Kentucky logo in the back of his hair. That should bring a smile to Big Blue Nation.
Filed Under: Basketball
About the Author: Corey Tincher is a lifelong Kentucky fan and professional writer who couldn't keep the two worlds apart. He is the lead contributor for StraitCats.com and literally wrote the book on the 2012 NCAA Tournament Championship run, Big Blue Articles: Kentucky Basketball in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. Follow @Corey_Tincher on Twitter for more Kentucky news and discussion.