John Calipari Move Sparks Speculation on Kentucky’s No. 2 Recruiting Class

John Calipari

Getty John Calipari coaching his Kentucky players on March 21.

Several players in men’s college basketball‘s No. 2 recruiting class may “at least consider reopening their recruitment” by Kentucky in the wake of a Shams Charania report that longtime head coach John Calipari was going to accept the head coaching job at Arkansas, according to’s Rob Cassidy.

“The move will not only have wide-ranging effects on the recruiting landscape, but on the sport as a whole,” Cassidy wrote on April 8. “It stands to reason that most of the prospects committed to the program will at least consider reopening their recruitment. Still, if multiple members of the class end up asking out of their letters of intent to follow Calipari to Arkansas, bad blood could permeate.”

Kentucky’s stacked 2024 recruiting class includes three McDonald’s All-Americans and four five-star recruits: Karter Knox, Jayden Quaintance, Billy Richmond and Boogie Fland.

April 10 Update: As of April 10, both Karter Knox and Jayden Quaintance have decommitted from Kentucky, and are seeking elsewhere to play college basketball. This story will be updated if more Kentucky recruits decommit, and whether they end up playing for Calipari in Arkansas.

Charania, along with Dana O’Neil and Kyle Tucker, noted in an April 7 story in The Athletic that when Calipari left Memphis for Kentucky in 2009, his legendary recruiting class (which included future NBA stars John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins) all went to Kentucky with him.

Here’s what you need to know about which Kentucky commits might be playing for Arkansas next season:

McDonald’s All-Americans Among Most Likely Kentucky Commits to Leave

According to Cassidy, the two most likely players to decommit and follow Calipari to Arkansas are Knox and Quaintance.

“For Knox, a major chunk of the Kentucky allure was Calipari, who helped his older brother, Kevin Knox, become a lottery pick at the school years ago,” Cassidy wrote.

Knox had committed only as recently as March 9, and he’s also one of two commits who had yet to sign his letter of intent.

Quaintance, the No. 2 center in the entire 2024 recruiting class, seems likely to end up at Arkansas, according to Cassidy.

“Arkansas feels like a particularly large threat here should Calipari try to take [Quiantance] along,” Cassidy wrote.

Quaintance is 16 years old, making him ineligible for the NBA draft until 2026 and ensuring that whichever college gets him will have him for two seasons.

The third most likely player to leave Kentucky is Billy Richmond.

The Memphis native was heavily recruited by the University of Memphis before verbally committing to Kentucky in December 2023. Either way, don’t expect Richmond to be a Wildcat next season.

Where Does Calipari’s Exit Leave Kentucky?

For the first time in 15 seasons, Calipari won’t be coaching Kentucky next year. But who will take over for him?

CBS Sports listed a few potential options to replace Calipari. Among the most intriguing is Alabama coach Nate Oats.

Oats just led Alabama’s basketball team to their first Final Four appearance in school history.

Although the Crimson Tide will want to keep him around, Kentucky might be more appealing for Oats in the long run. UConn coach Dan Hurley is potential fit for the Wildcats.

“While it seems unlikely that Hurley would leave his post at UConn,” CBS Sports’ Cameron Salerno wrote, “you at least make the call if you’re Kentucky.”