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No Surprise: Kentucky Has Nation’s Top Recruiting Class

Kentucky’s basketball signing class for 2012 moved to No. 1 in the nation on Wednesday night when center Nerlens Noel from Everett, Mass., announced he would play for the Wildcats.

“It was the toughest decision of my entire life,” said Noel, who chose Kentucky over Georgetown and Syracuse.

Noel, who’s ranked the No. 1 player in the nation by ESPNU, helped move Kentucky’s class to the No. 1 ranking by ESPNU. Guard Archie Goodwin, forward Alex Poythress and center Willie Cauley signed with the Wildcats in the fall.

Noel said he noticed the recent success for young players at Kentucky under the guidance of head coach John Calipari.

“Coach Cal recruited me real hard,” Noel said. “He is a good person who cares about his players, he helps them reach their goals and the team’s goals. They play as a unit and are very unselfish. Also the fans were incredible on my visit. They are behind the program 100 percent.”

Kentucky’s 2012 class might not be 100 percent complete. Forward Anthony Bennett from Henderson, Nev., is still on the board and considering Kentucky. The Wildcats will have to battle Florida, Oregon, UNLV and Washington for Bennett’s services.

Evan Daniels of predicted on Wednesday that Bennett’s recruitment will come down to an SEC battle.

Wednesday wasn’t a complete success for Kentucky. The Wildcats lost out on forward Shabazz Muhammad, who announced he will play at UCLA. But that news shouldn’t be surprising when you consider the influence of Adidas, writes Gary Parrish of

Just check out this tweet from Jeff Goodman, Gary Parrish’s colleague at CBSSports, shortly after Muhammad made his announcement.

Ah, college basketball recruiting.

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