The top two recruits remaining in the 2012 high school class have made their decisions. Both Nerlens Noel and Shabazz Muhammad claimed they would sit down with their families on Tuesday night and finalize their plans, deciding exactly where they’re going to spend their probable one-year stop in college. Tuesday night has passed, and the nation’s two best players are quickly approaching their planned Wednesday evening announcements. Big Blue Nation is poised with anticipation, most fans more nervous than they were before last week’s championship game, ever-wondering if Shabazz and Nerlens will land in Kentucky.
Late into Tuesday night, there’s still no answer regarding either player’s intentions. Though Shabazz and Nerlens may know the answer, they’re staying tight-lipped until their decisions are aired Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESNPU’s Signing Day Special. Most experts currently have Noel heading to Kentucky with Georgetown a possible second option, while Muhammad is supposedly going to UCLA with Kentucky a slightly distant second choice. Kentucky landing either player would be a major coup, completing yet another impressive recruiting class. If both players were to become Cats, Lexington would be guaranteed a pre-season number one ranking and a long run in the tournament yet again.
Rarely does a school reload so effectively immediately after a championship season with six players likely departing. Even more rarely does a program get a chance to so quickly replace talents like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Anthony Davis. Both Shabazz and Nerlens are considered comparable to Kentucky’s top talents this year, and could in fact go first and second in next year’s NBA draft, much like Michael and Anthony might do this time around.
If neither player commits to Kentucky, the Cats won’t be left empty-handed. The players which have already signed are nothing to scoff at, and will serve suitable fill-ins for Doron Lamb, Terrence Jones, and Eloy Vargas. Goodwin and Poythress are both incredible young talents, and Cauley has a lot of upside as a stable presence in the post. Ryan Harrow also becomes eligible, able to fill in at point guard if needed. Wiltjer will still be around, and there’s always a chance that Teague, Lamb, or even Kidd-Gilchrist make their return. Kentucky doesn’t necessarily need Noel or Muhammad, but either player would certainly help finish off an already strong class.
I’ll be back later tonight with word of both players’ announcements, and what that means for next year’s squad.
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.