By the time the early signing period ends, Kentucky should have a big jump on landing a fourth straight No. 1 recruiting class for coach John Calipari.
California’s Marcus Lee, a 6-9 forward and a consensus top-25 prospect, signed his scholarship Wednesday on the first day of the signing period. He picked UK¿over California. Bullitt East forward Derek Willis also signed Wednesday after picking UK¿over Louisville and Purdue.
Twins Andrew and Aaron Harrison of Texas, two of the nation’s top 10 players, are scheduled to sign this week as is forward James Young of Michigan, another top 10 prospect.
While Calipari is also pursuing several other top 15 prospects in the 2013 class, he may well get a big head start on the 2015 recruiting class when 6-11 New Jersey sophomore Karl Towns Jr. announces his college choice Dec. 4 at 10 a.m. The 6-9 Towns is the No. 1 player in his class after averaging 11.6 points, 10.1 rebounds and 5.1 blocked shots per game as a freshman for St. Joseph’s High School and led his team to its first non-public group A state championship.
Christine Denham, senior account executive with Coyne Public Relations in New York, notified media members Wednesday that Towns — “arguably the nation’s best sophomore in high school basketball and a University of Kentucky recruit” — would make his verbal commitment live on regional cable network MSG Varsity. The MSG Varsity special will be broadcast from the high school, will air on Optimum TV channel 14 and will be streamed live on www.MSGVarsity.com.
Towns attended Big Blue Madness at the same time the Harrisons, Willis, Young and Lee were on campus. He also visited Duke and Michigan State this fall.
He was on the Dominican Republic national team coached by Calipari last summer and spent time on the Kentucky campus. He was also in Brooklyn when UK¿opened the season with a win over Maryland.
Towns is an all-A student who takes advanced classes. So far there has been no confirmation of him re-classifying to the 2014 recruiting class, but his father told Scout.com Wednesday that he might re-classify to the 2014 class or even 2013.
Beast mode: Calipari said after Tuesday’s loss to Duke that forward Alex Poythress had one job — be a beast.
“Everybody has a job and that is Alex’s job,” Calipari said. “That is his whole role on this team. He can do all the other things, but that’s how he makes his mark.”
Poythress, a freshman, doesn’t mind the “beast” label.
“I just try to make the right play whenever I am out there,” Poythress said after the Duke game. “This game was pretty physical and I just wanted to bang with them.
“Coach does get on me and pushes me hard in practice every day. When he is yelling, you listen to what he is saying and not how he is saying it. Just go on to the next play.”