James Young chooses Kentucky

Updated: October 11, 2012, 7:23 PM ET
By Dave Telep | ESPN.com

The Kentucky Wildcats are on the verge of a historic recruiting class.

James Young, rated No. 5 overall in the ESPN 100, committed to Kentucky on Thursday, choosing the Wildcats over Michigan State, Syracuse and Kansas.

Young, a 6-foot-6 guard/forward from Rochester, Mich., was named to The Detroit News Dream Team last season after averaging 25.1 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.

"Kentucky has always been my dream school," said Young, who made his announcement while pulling out a "Kentucky Bound" blue T-shirt with his last name on it. "Once I went up there to visit, I just fell in love with the place.

"I'm not just looking for the NBA. I'm looking for an education and a national championship and that's about it."

Young is the third player -- all top-five recruits -- to commit to Kentucky in the past seven days. He joins the Harrison twins, Andrew and Aaron, to form what is quickly cementing itself as the No. 1 recruiting class in the country for 2013.

"I'm excited," Young said of playing with the Harrison twins. "I've been seeing them over the summer. They're great players and I'm looking forward to playing with them."

John Calipari's Wildcats are treading in historic water. Few times in the history of recruiting has a program landed three top-five players. Those pledges alone give UK ammunition in the conversation as one of the top recruiting classes of all time.

James Young
John F. Rhodes for ESPN.comJames Young, No. 5 overall in the ESPN 100, committed to Kentucky on Thursday.

To polish off the claim and potentially end any arguments, Calipari would need a pledge from either elite power forward the Wildcats are still in the mix with -- No. 3 recruit Julius Randle of Dallas or No. 6 prospect Aaron Gordon of San Jose, Calif.

The Wildcats also have scholarships out to top-30 recruits Kennedy Meeks, a center out of Charlotte, N.C., and Marcus Lee, a power forward from Antioch, Calif.

As the spring unfolded, Young emerged as a prime Kentucky recruiting target. The Wildcats ascended to the role of favorite in the summer and he visited UK unofficially in September.

Kentucky has had the nation's No. 1 recruiting class in three of the past four years. In 2012, UCLA's contingent, led by Shabazz Muhammad and Kyle Anderson, unseated the Wildcats, who had been at the top in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

So far in the 2013 class, Florida is giving UK the most heat as the Gators own commitments from two of the top-10 players in the ESPN 100 -- No. 8 Kasey Hill of Eustis, Fla., and No. 9 Chris Walker of Bonifay, Fla.

The big winner so far in the 2013 recruiting race is the SEC. With Young in the fold at Kentucky, there are now six committed top-10 players and all of them are headed to SEC schools.

Arkansas rounds out the list with a commitment from No. 10 prospect Bobby Portis of Little Rock, Ark.

ALSO SEE