No. 5 recruit set to announce Thursday


It was early May at the Hensley Memorial Foundation and James Young (Rochester, Mich./Rochester) was in the layup line. All of his teammates were sporting the traditional garb of gold and black, the colors of travel team The Family. Young was the outlier. He was decked out in a blue Kentucky T-shirt and he wasn’t hiding it either.

Thursday night on “ESPN RecruitingNation” (ESPNU, 5 p.m. ET), Young will announce his college decision. It’s widely expected that he’ll pick the Kentucky Wildcats. Syracuse, Michigan State and Kansas also recruited him, but Young hasn’t been on those campuses recently. He was on UK’s campus in late September, and the Wildcats will enter the evening as the prohibitive favorite.

Let's say Kentucky does land Young, the No. 5 prospect in the ESPN 100. At that point, John Calipari and his staff would have the Nos. 2, 4 and 5 overall players in the class of 2013. Last week, the Harrison twins -- Andrew and Aaron -- popped for UK over Maryland. That would give the Wildcats three of the top five overall players, and they’d be one piece away from claiming another historic recruiting class.

Still in Calipari’s recruiting crosshairs are No. 3 Julius Randle (Dallas/Prestonwood Christian) and No. 6 Aaron Gordon (San Jose, Calif./Archbishop Mitty). Either power forward would do, though the Wildcats, at least on the surface, seem more entrenched with Randle. You’ll also hear them mentioned with No. 7 Noah Vonleh (Haverhill, Mass./New Hampton).

In the bigger picture, the SEC is cleaning up on the hardwood. Should Young tip for Kentucky, he would become the sixth top-10 player to pick an SEC school. No other conference in the country has a single top-10 player to date. Florida has a pair (No. 8 Kasey Hill and No. 9 Chris Walker) and Arkansas owns one (No. 10 Bobby Portis).