April 14, 2010

Kentucky lands top recruits of 2010 and 2011

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If anyone felt sorry for Kentucky earlier this month when it had four freshmen declare early for the NBA draft, they shouldn't now.

Rebuild ... more like reload.

The Wildcats hit the daily double Wednesday, landing both Brandon Knight, the No. 1 player in the Class of 2010, and Mike Gilchrist, the No. 1 player in the Class of 2011.

Knight, of Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) Pine Crest, went first, committing to Kentucky in the afternoon. He said the tradition of playing at Kentucky - not to mention the tradition of playing point guard for head coach John Calipari - was too much to pass up.

"I just chose Kentucky just because I felt it was the place that had great players, great environment and just a place where I can elevate my game," he said. "There are great coaches and great players around me already. It just came down to, you know what I said before, being comfortable when I went on my visit and feeling that I can get better at Kentucky."

It's hard to imagine Knight getting too much better. The two-time Gatorade national Player of the Year, Knight is the all-time leading scorer in Broward County (Fla.) with 3,515 points. He led his school to two state titles.

Knight (6-3, 185) will replace John Wall at point guard for Kentucky.

Wall, who left after his freshman year, is expected to be the top player taken in this year's NBA draft.

But Knight also follows in the footsteps of Tyreke Evans and Derrick Rose, who played point guard for Calipari at Memphis.

Knight will have to wait a year to play with Gilchrist, a 6-6 forward from Elizabeth (N.J.) St. Patrick who gave Kentucky a verbal commitment in the early evening.

Gilchrist, who mentioned the passion of Calipari and the Kentucky fans for his choice, led St. Patrick to a 26-3 record and a No. 9 ranking in the final RivalsHigh Top 100 boys basketball rankings.

"It's his attitude toward the game," he said about his future coach after his announcement.

His announcement is just a verbal commitment. He can not sign an official letter of intent until November.

Gilchrist averaged 16.4 points, 11.5 rebounds and three blocks per game for St. Patrick, but saved his best efforts for the biggest games.

He had 28 points in a one-point loss to No. 13 Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill and 29 points and 15 rebounds in a two-point victory over No. 35 Memphis (Tenn.) White Station.

The announcement had special significance to Gilchrist as it came on the birthday of his late father, who passed away when Gilchrist was 2

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