By Justin Young
Special to FoxSports.com
John Calipari made it to the Final Four this year only to lose in the semifinals of the NCAA tournament. A week and a half after the bright lights turned off in Houston, the Kentucky head coach is winning a big one in April.
His Wildcats have been crowned as the top recruiting class in the nation on the first day of the late signing period.
Kentucky has signed four players ranked inside the Scout.com top 25 player rankings in the class of 2011. Anthony Davis (No. 1 overall), Michael Gilchrist (No. 4), Marquis Teague (No. 6) and Kyle Wiltjer (No. 22) give the Wildcats another dominat incoming class.
Calipari signed five players ranked inside the top 70, four of which were ranked inside the top 30. The 2010 class was the No. 1 group overall last year thanks to Enes Kanter, who never played a minute this year. The group has the hands down leader in the team recruiting rankings.
In 2009, Calipari inked five of the top 50 players in the nation and hauled in the first of his three top recruiting classes. John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins, the No. 2 and No. 3 ranked players in America according to Scout.com, highlighted the bunch.
Never in the history of team recruiting rankings has a program had such dominance with the overall class and success in landing the top players nationally quite like Calipari has. Prior to coming to he landed a top five class thanks to Tyreke Evans and a top 10 class thanks to Derrick Rose.
The knock, however, is Kentucky or Memphis has ever won the NCAA tournament. The Cats came close this year.
Davis, the top player in the country according to Scout.com, says he knows what awaits him and his future teammates in the winter.
“Our fans love really Kentucky basketball. There isn’t a pro team there so college basketball is their pro team. Two years ago John Wall’s class made it to the Elite Eight. This year they made the Final Four,” Davis said. “Now they think next year is a National Championship. That’s what they are really expecting. That’s what we have to give our fans.”
With the third straight top recruiting class, Calipari and Kentucky have a rabid fan base with incredible expectations wanting more in 2011-2012.
Davis knows it. He also knows that he and his future teammates enter into a daunting task of trying to live up to incredible hype and a steep competitive target in not just making it to the Final Four but also winning the entire tournament.
“That’s very tough. That puts a lot of pressure on us,” Davis said. “We are a good group of guys and we are going to get it done.”