October 11, 2012

What new commit James Young brings to Kentucky

With the Thursday evening commitment of the nation's no. 8 prospect, Michigan wing James Young, Kentucky took another step towards signing their next top ranked recruiting class.

The commitment of the 6-foot-6 Young, who can play either shooting guard or small forward, gives Kentucky verbal commitments from three of the top eight prospects in the class of 2013; as Young is joined by twin brothers Aaron Harrison and Andrew Harrison, as well as Rivals150 forward Derek Willis.

With Young fully committed to Kentucky, a place that he called his "dream school" during the announcement, the Wildcats have now solidified their perimeter play for the 2013-2014 season; regardless if every single current rotational player leaves Kentucky after this season.

The Harrison twins should man the point guard and shooting guard spots next season, while the lefty five-star, Young, will slide right in at the small forward position. Putting Young and the Harrison's together not only makes up one of the most talented back-courts in the country; it's also one of the top long range shooting units.

Even at 6-foot-6, Young is known as an excellent three-point marksman who loves to square up and shoot jumpers over smaller defenders on the wing. He's an aggressive scorer who uses his good athleticism, and size, to score around the rim; where he tries to dunk over the top of defenders with physicality.

While scoring is what he does best, Young is also an all-around player who can pass, rebound and is willing to defend. While he'll be relied on heavily at Kentucky to knock down open three's off of Kentucky's dribble drive sets, Young should also be able to add a dimension to the offense with his ability to create shots in the mid-range off of the bounce.

Many recruiting experts have compared Young to NBA players like Michael Redd, James Harden, Nick Young and Xavier Henry; all of whom are big guards who can shoot the ball from deep.

In fact, having Young as the third member of next season's back-court should give Kentucky excellent size on the perimeter; as both the Harrison twins stand 6-foot-5, to go with Young's 6-foot-6.

During his announcement on ESPNU on Thursday night, Young mentioned that he is going to spend a lot of time working on his right hand scoring (Young is a natural lefty) and his ball-handling before getting to campus.

Young is in the fold, so what's next?

With four prospects committed, Kentucky is now in search of two more players to finish off the class. With a point guard, shooting guard, a wing and a versatile, skilled forward committed; those other two players should be interior prospects.

The top two targets for those spots are Julius Randle and Marcus Lee. With this weekend's official visit from Lee for Big Blue Madness, we should learn if Lee intends to sign with California or Kentucky sometime in the next week or so.

Some experts have claimed that Lee is much more likely to verbally commit to California instead of Kentucky, citing both the distance from home and Lee not enjoying the spotlight as reasons why the 6-foot-9 five-star would choose the Golden Bears.

Randle might have six schools left on his list, but Florida, Texas and Kentucky are getting the most buzz. A decision from Randle will almost surely not come until the spring, leaving Big Blue fans with months to worry about where the 6-foot-9 power forward, who is the nation's number one prospect, will land.

Critics of Kentucky are quick to point out that with a talented trio in the backcourt it is unlikely that Randle would commit to the Wildcats; because there is only one ball to go around. But Randle was quick to congratulate the Harrison twins on their commitment to Kentucky on Twitter, and the verbal commitment of Young shouldn't have any effect on Randle's recruitment.

Now, if 2014's number one prospect, Andrew Wiggins, decides to reclassify to the class of 2013, then Kentucky would pursue Wiggins for that class; and likely sign three more players for a total of seven 2013 signees. Despite speculation on the internet after the Young commitment, it is highly unlikely, in the opinion of Cats Illustrated, that Wiggins' decision will be at all influenced by who Kentucky already has committed in the 2013 class.

Even though Wiggins is a natural wing, who needs to have the ball in his hands and also does not want to be stuck at the power forward spot, a problem should not arise; as Kentucky coach John Calipari would have to find a way to make all four perimeter stars happy.

Here are some highlights of Young, just released today, from City League Hoops TV:

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