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College Basketball Impact Freshmen: Kentucky

With the college basketball season still four months away, here’s a look at the potential impact freshmen for each team. We’ll take a look at each team that had a top 25 recruiting ranking. Recruiting rankings are based on the 247Sports Composite which calculates the average of all four major recruiting websites (247Sports, Rivals, ESPN and Scout.)

Kentucky Wildcats

2014-15 Record: 38-1 (18-0 in SEC) Final Four 

2015 Team Ranking

National Rank: 2

SEC Rank: 1

Class Breakdown

5-star: 2

4-star: 1

3-star: 1

Top Incoming Recruits

  • Center Skal Labissiere, 5-star, Lausanne Collegiate School (Memphis, TN), 6-10, 200 lbs, No. 1 Center, No. 2 overall
  • Point Guard Isaiah Briscoe, 5-star, Roselle Catholic (Roselle, NJ), 6-3, 200 lbs, No. 2 Point Guard, No. 11 overall
  • Shooting Guard Charles Matthews, 4-star, St. Rita (Chicago, IL) 6-6, 172 lbs, No.15 Shooting Guard, No.56 overall
  • Shooting Guard Mychael Mulder, 3-star, Vincennes University (Junior College), 6-4, 184 lbs

 Class Overview

For a top-2 recruiting class in the nation, this sure seems to feel like a let down the way people are talking about Kentucky. Yes, seven players left from last year, but this is quite a group coming in to join Alex Poythress, Tyler Ulis and Marcus Lee – all McDonald’s All-Americans.

Skal Labissiere is considered to be the favorite to be the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. He’s the perfect big guy on the offensive side of the ball for Calipari’s dribble-drive offense. He can stretch the floor, has range out to the three while never losing his stroke. He likes to play facing the basket and can break a guy down off the dribble. He’s very-skilled and polished on the offensive side of the ball and should be one of the better players in the country next season.

Isaiah Briscoe might be in the best position as anyone in the country. The point guard from high school will get to share a backcourt with the second best pure point guard in the country in Tyler Ulis. Briscoe is a natural scorer and can do it multiple ways. He won the 3-point contest at the BallisLife event, but is strong and big enough to finish at the rim over anyone. He’ll be called upon to bring the ball up and initiate the offense when Ulis is out of the game, but similar to the John Wall and Eric Bledsoe backcourt, Briscoe will improve his game playing off the ball.

Charles Matthews has flown under the radar due to an injury he suffered as a junior in high school. He will be able ot play both the shooting guard and small forward position and brings the toughness that Calipari loves having on defense. He can guard multiple positions and is the definition of a slasher on the offensive side of the ball. Look for him to try and drive into the lane and finish at the rim while being the guy diving after every loose ball. He will be a crowd favorite for Kentucky fans due to his defensive play.

Mychael Mulder is a junior college transfer, something that isn’t common in Lexington. However, his size allows him to play the shooting guard and small forward position and is more athletic than anyone can imagine – seriously look at his dunks on YouTube. More importantly he’s a knock down shooter from deep, which is always needed in the free-flowing offense Calipari likes to run. With the ability of Briscoe and Ulis to get into the lane, it’s important that Mulder shoots well from deep to keep defenders honest and keep the lane open.

Again, this is a talented recruiting class even by Kentucky standards. This is a good mix of talent that fits the dribble-drive offense perfect. Don’t be surprised to see the offense flowing more freely with this group compared to last season.

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