On Tuesday night, the Kentucky Wildcats made the wrong kind of history, becoming the first defending national champion to lose in the first round of the NIT in nearly three decades.
On Wednesday, Kentucky made a different kind of history, though, adding to quite possibly the best recruiting class a college basketball program has ever assembled.
That's because on Wednesday afternoon, Julius Randle, the No. 3 ranked player in the high school class of 2013, according to ESPN.com, announced he would play his college basketball next fall at Kentucky. Randle chose the Wildcats over Kansas, Florida and Texas.
What's maybe more impressive is that Randle is just one of a handful of All-Americans who will play in Lexington next season. With Randle's announcement, head coach John Calipari now has five of the top 11 ranked players in the ESPNU 100 committed to Kentucky, and six of the top 18. Add in local forward Derek Willis, and it's a class many are saying is the best in college basketball recruiting history.
It starts with the most recent commitment, Randle, a 6'9 power forward from Prestonwood Christian Academy in Dallas. Randle was limited during his senior season because of a foot injury, but has long been considered one of the top high school basketball prospects in the country, regardless of class.
Last summer, Randle was one of three high school players selected to participate on the Team USA Under-18 team, a club which included current college stars Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State), Rasheed Sulaimon (Duke) and Rodney Purvis (North Carolina State) among others. He finished the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship as the team's leading scorer and rebounder.
Beyond Randle, Calipari also tapped into the state of Texas for the top two guards in high school basketball, as well: Houston twins Andrew and Aaron Harrison. Andrew is listed as the No. 1 point guard in the class and No. 5-rated player overall, according to ESPN.com, while his brother Aaron is listed as the No. 1 shooting guard and No. 7 player overall.
Along with Randle, both Harrison twins were recently named McDonald's All-Americans.
And incredibly, beyond those three, three more Kentucky commitments were also named to the McDonald's All-American team: small forward James Young, center Dakari Johnson and power forward Marcus Lee. Young is rated as the No. 6 player overall in the class (and No. 3 small forward), while Johnson is rated as the No. 11 player and No. 1 center. Lee is listed as the No. 18 player overall.
Additionally, local forward Derek Willis will also join this class. Willis committed in the winter of 2012 and is the first Kentucky high school player to sign with the school under Calipari's watch.
Furthermore, Kentucky is also in the mix for the No. 1 high school player in the country, forward Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins has yet to set a date for his announcement, but is considering the Wildcats along with Florida State (where both of his parents attended college), Kansas and North Carolina.
Looking ahead, with so many top players going to Kentucky next year, what will be interesting to see is how it impacts the decisions of players currently on the roster.
The Wildcats lost their NIT opener to Robert Morris on Tuesday night, and following the game, speculation began as to which players might leave the school, either via transfer or enter the NBA Draft.