John Calipari made the difficult decision to leave Memphis Tuesday, helped by a historically lucrative contract and the reality that turning Kentucky’s program around might not be that hard after all.
Kentucky’s fall from grace has been surprising, but it ended with the hire of Calipari.
It starts with Jodie Meeks and Patrick Patterson. The underclassman may test the NBA waters, but seem likely to return following the hire.
Meeks was one of the best stories in College Basketball last season, and will be one the top players in the game next season, especially if he gets some help.
Patterson is a better pro prospect than Meeks but could use another season in college. He provides explosive inside scoring and athleticism.
Two down years in recruiting have left Kentucky with a bad supporting cast around its two stars and little depth.
That is about to change.
Calipari is expected to bring at least two recruits to Lexington, including SG Xavier Henry, considered by many as the top player in the country.
The Wildcats could also land PG John Wall, who was reportedly close to signing with Memphis. Wall would likely move into the starting lineup as a freshman.
Assuming Meeks and Patterson return to school, Kentucky is primed to roll through what will be a depleted SEC conference next season.