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John Calipari says 2016 “could be best class ever”

John Calipari



Last month, Kentucky head coach John Calipari saw Karl-Anthony Towns get selected first overall in the NBA Draft and two more members of his Class of 2014 -- Trey Lyles and Devin Booker -- also go on to be lottery picks.

His incoming recruiting class includes Skal Labissiere, the top player in the Rivals150, Isaiah Briscoe, the top-rated point guard and guard Jamal Murray, who led Canada to a silver medal in the Pan Am Games and dropped 22 points in a win over Team USA.

But according to Calipari, who joined Andy Katz and Seth Greenberg on the ESPNU College Basketball podcast Tuesday, the best class may be coming in next fall.

“This year’s recruiting class, we’re in the middle of right now, could be one of our best ever,” Calipari said 20 minutes into podcast. “The kids that I’m seeing, that we’re involved with, that I feel really good about. This could be our best class ever. And that’s a pretty scary statement coming from who we’ve been able to recruit over the last 25 years.”

Kentucky has already missed on wing Jayson Tatum, who committed to Duke after the Peach Jam. But the Wildcats are still in play for Josh Jackson, Harry Giles and Dennis Smith, three of the top four players in the Class, according to Rivals. Giles cut his list to five last week while Smith, the nation’s top point guard, narrowed his choices down to six. Kentucky also remain options for Kobi Simmons and Miles Bridges -- who both trimmed their lists in mid-July -- as well as Malik Monk.

Kentucky’s current 2016 class consists of 6-foot-8 forward Tai Wynyard, who led New Zealand to gold in the FIBA U18 3×3 World Championship in June.

Another possible 2016 target is Calipari’s son, Brad, a 6-foot point guard who is entering his senior year at the MacDuffie School in Massachusetts, located 12 miles south of where his father began his head coaching career at UMass.

“Well, first of all, my wife (Ellen) has already told me if he decides to come, ‘you’re not leaving,’ so that would mean I’d be here five more years,” Calipari said at the halfway through the podcast. “And then if I’m here for five more years, why not stay until [I’m] 70? Maybe I sign a new contract and I’ll be 70 when I leave. Seems like everybody else coaches until 70. I was thinking 60. I think I’ll coach until 72 ... maybe 73. No, I don’t know.

“If he comes, and he wants to walk on, to be able to spend four years with my son and the ups and downs of this ... The only thing is he likes to talk back. You can’t do that when you’re playing for me.”

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