The Wildcats announced Thursday the signings of five recruits including 6-foot-5 twins Andrew and Aaron Harrison, considered two of the nation’s top guards. Kentucky has also received national letters of intent from forward Marcus Lee and guard James Young — ranked among the top 10 at their positions by recruiting analysts — and forward Derek Willis of Mt. Washington, Ky.
Several recruiting services say the defending national champions have the nation’s top recruiting class for the fifth straight year. Kentucky’s current freshmen group includes forwards Nerlens Noel and Alex Poythress, guard Archie Goodwin and center Willie Cauley-Stein.
Even with the crowded roster, coach John Calipari indicated that he is considering adding “maybe one or two more guys” by the spring.
If Calipari doesn’t sign anyone else, Kentucky fans should be pleased with who they know is coming.
Starting with the Harrison brothers from Richmond, Texas.
They led Travis High School to the state 5A championship game last season. Aaron averaged 18.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.6 steals as a junior, while Andrew added 12.5 points, 6.0 assists and 4.9 rebounds per game. They are Kentucky’s first signees from Texas since Jeff Brassow (1989-94).
“Aaron is more of a scoring guard who can make shots and make plays at the rim,” Calipari said. “He can also play some point in a pinch. Like his brother, Andrew, he has the ability to physically dominate the opponent.”
The coach also signed a couple of versatile big men to add depth to the frontcourt of Noel and Cauley-Stein — or replace the current freshmen if they jump to the NBA.
Rivals.com rates the 6-9 Lee as the No. 5 power forward and 17th-best overall player. The Antioch, Calif., native averaged 13.9 points, 13.1 rebounds and 9.1 blocks for Deer Valley High School last season.
Willis, also 6-9, played in the state playoffs at Rupp Arena with Bullitt East High School last year. Listed anywhere from 25th to 37th at his position by analysts, Calipari described him as a player who can “get his hands on the ball and really pass.”
Willis averaged 18.0 points and 9.3 rebounds last season.
The Wildcats will get another perimeter threat in Young.
The 6-6 swingman from Rochester Hills, Mich., is also a top-10 player. Young averaged 25.1 points, 10.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.5 steals for Troy High School as a junior; he’s playing for Rochester High this season.