The great thing about Kentucky sports is that news comes from all sources. Take today for instance. While this site was abuzz with the down-day topics ranging from Tayshaun’s playoff series to Michael Hartline’s funny faces, an Iowa State site broke news we may be able to use. Apparently, Wesley Johnson, a 6’7″, athletic wing player is going to transfer from the Cyclones and the rumor has him ending up in Lexington. According to the Iowa State rumor mill, Johnson has had it with the coach for a number of reasons, including the feeling he was being rushed back from an injury. He is now looking for a transfer and Kentucky may be the leader for his services.
Now I know that the Matthew Pilgrim transfer is still possible (although we have now been told multiple times that it would be done “by the end of the day” only to have that not happen) and I have already expressed my somewhat ambivalent feelings on his addition. But I have no such ambivalence about Johnson, who is exactly the type of transfer UK can use. When talking on the radio about the Pilgrim transfer, I mentioned that I like to see UK get guys that either (a) have some secondary issue that makes them leave or (b) want to step up in program strength. Pilgrim’s transfer is more based on attitude issues….and those scare me. But Johnson’s is simply a desire to have a fresh start after a tumultuous set of circumstances around the Iowa State program. Attitude has not been an issue for Johnson and is skill set is STRONG. He was on the Big 12 All-Freshman team, was honorable mention All Big 12 this year and has averaged 12 points a game, while trying to help carry a really bad team. Can Johnson play against good opponents? Well look no farther than last season when he went for over 20 points a game twice against national champion Kansas. The kid has talent and as Verne Lundquist sometimes says, “he isnt afraid to use it.”
We will learn more about the interest level UK has for Johnson and whether Wesley is looking this way over the next couple of days. But if you are asking me who I would really like to see in Blue, I will take Johnson over Pilgrim. Johnson has the length and athleticism that Gillispie’s defense requires, while exhibiting none of the warning signs we have seen from some of the other prospects. It may be the case that both young men are being pursued (however if that happens, the 2009 class recruiting may be over) and I admit that I question whether any transfer makes sense at this point. But if Wesley Johnson ends up a Cat, I think it would be a GREAT pickup. Take one of the best two players on a bad BCS team and move him to a top program and good things can happen. Such a transfer is rare, but if UK can be the beneficiary, it will quite a coup by Coach G.
In other news, some Lexington folks are saying that DeAndre Liggins missed his needed test score as supposedly reported by Channel 36 in Lexington. That leaves one test in June for him to get qualified. From the beginning, we have heard that it is a long shot and it looks like that may still be the case. Best of luck to the young man.
More throughout the day as we learn about Wesley Johnson, the best import from Ames, Iowa since the two girls the Turkey Hunter and I met on our cross-country trip four years ago….