Big Blue Madness: Where UK's 2012 Mega Recruiting Class Will Take Shape

Eric HampfordContributor IIIOctober 4, 2011

HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 02:  Head coach John Calipari of the Kentucky Wildcats reacts from the sidelines against the Connecticut Huskies during the National Semifinal game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship at Reliant Stadium on April 2, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

It's no secret. John Calipari is the best recruiter in all of college basketball.

After reeling in the nation's no. 1-ranked recruiting classes in each of the past three years, Coach Cal has proved that he can sell his program and his coaching philosophy to anyone who is willing to listen. The recruiting game seems too easy for him at this point. Kids want to play for him, because he, more so than any other coach in America, is an advocate for his players leaving school after their freshman season if they are highly-projected NBA draft picks.

So far this recruiting season, all has been eerily quiet on the Kentucky Wildcats recruiting front. Recently, the staff made waves when they landed their first commitment of their 2012 class, five-star shooting guard Archie Goodwin. Expect that to be a precursor of big things to come. When John Calipari can't land a recruit with his slick talking skills alone (which doesn't happen often), he can reach into his "bag of tricks" and bring out the best UK selling point of all...Big Blue Madness.

This year, their recruiting guest list may be the most impressive list in quite some time. Shabazz Muhammad, Dajuan Coleman, Alex Poythress, Willie Cauley and Archie Goodwin will all be descending upon Lexington for the midnight festivities. If you are keeping count, that is five top 50 prospects slated to be on campus. You can bet that Goodwin will be playing recruiter for UK, attempting to get future teammates to Lexington with him.

Word on the street is that Tennessee power forward Alex Poythress is close to picking the Wildcats as well, and Midnight Madness could be where he commits. If that is the case, he also could be trying to sway the other big-timers to Big Blue Nation. Let's take a look at the chances of UK landing the other three top-notch athletes. 

At this point, Shabazz Muhammad seems to be leaning toward UCLA, but that could all change after Big Blue Madness. The nation's number one-ranked player is considering several schools, including USC, UNLV, Texas, Kansas, Memphis, Texas A&M, Arizona and Duke.  

Jared Sullinger-type big man Dajuan Coleman is down to Kentucky, Ohio State and hometown Syracuse. He has publicly stated that he is excited to experience the phenomenon known as Big Blue Madness, and John Calipari has let the big man know he is his top post priority.

The wild card prospect here is Willie Cauley. The seven-foot center recently narrowed his college choices to a final four of Kansas State, Alabama, Florida and Kentucky. He was very interested in the Kentucky program even before they began actively recruiting him. I would consider him to be the easiest recruit to land of the remaining three. 

After Big Blue Madness has come and gone, I expect the Wildcats to have landed three of the five high-profile recruits; Goodwin, Poythress and Cauley. If Coach Cal can land either Shabazz Muhammad or Dajuan Coleman as well, expect Kentucky to land their fourth consecutive no. 1 recruiting class in the typical Calipari fashion.