After approximately three weeks of days that seemed to produce news by the buckets, today was relatively peaceful. Sure there were stories about the rival state University, long-winded blowhard journalists forseeing the end of Tiger Woods and Don Imus attempting to get his foot out of his larynx, but in general there wasnt a ton of news around the Kentucky programs. But dont expect this peace to last for long. The beginning of the Spring Signing Period is Wednesday and it is very likely that news will begin breaking on Wednesday that will help make sense of the muddy landscape that is the 2007 recruiting class. While some fans are threatening to put a beeper on Billy Gillispie’s plane to see where he heads, there may be the beginning of dominoes falling that could help the fanbase as a whole see where Gillispie’s head will be going forward. It should be interesting.
And with that some news and or views…..
UPDATE WLEX reports that Jeremy Cox, an assistant under Coach Clyde at Texas A&M is the first member of the new staff here at UK. Cox is known for his ties to the JUCO world (something that may be necessary this year) and has apparently been recruiting Darius Miller already in the past few days. Something to watch….
(1) A lot of talk recently has centered on the extent of Coach Clyde’s interest in big man Anthony McClain. Early rumors suggested that McClain was one of the first calls that Coach Clyde made after taking the job and speculation has run rampant that he could even be the first commitment of the new era. I have yet to be able to get McClain on the phone and thus it isnt clear to me that the high level of interest that has been reported is true. But I am told that he is on UK’s radar screen, even if he is not the pressing commitment that some project. We are trying to get more from him in the coming days and we shall see what comes out.
(2) Coach Clyde is doing what is known as an “un-Tubby” this week by having a news conference on Thursday just to update the status of things since he has taken over the job. The previous administration had news conferences at the same rate as root canals and thus the new openness is refreshing not only for those assigned to cover the team, but the fan base as well. What coaches sometimes forget is that fans want the inside access even more than the journalists. Part of the reason the Mitch Barnhart interview from earlier today (linked here) has been downloaded over 4500 times in four hours is that people want to hear from those in the UK athletics administration. We expect our forthcoming interview with Coach Clyde to shatter all previous records on the site because there is a strong thirst to hear anything and everything UK basketball. Coach Clyde seems to recognize this and be open to it…and it is refreshing.
(3) Stephon Pettigrew will be speaking with Coach Clyde soon face to face about the opportunity to play at Kentucky. He has been contacted and hopes to be offered a scholarship. He will be playing in this Saturday’s Derby Classic in Louisville which will also (in a great bit of foresight) include DeAndre Jordan. AJ Stewart and Mike Williams will be there as well, making this a big event for UK fans…..Jordan will face questions out the wazoo when he gets here…..should be interesting.
(4) Scout.com reported today that Shawn Williams, an 09 Sophomore that is considered one of the best forwards in the country, has a new offer from Kentucky since Coach Clyde came on board. I will admit that I havent scouted the 09s yet…..but it looks like Coach Clyde has…..and I cant tell you what good news that is. Folks, UK hasnt been this early on kids in my time following this. Whatever happens with Williams, in the first 48 hours on the job, Coach Clyde thought it was important enough to talk to recruits that wont enter school for 2 1/2 years…..that is a GREAT sign.
(5) I think the most interesting piece of news today was the offer and commitment of Preston Knowles to Louisville. I have to be honest, this offer SHOCKS me. I like Knowles as a player, but I dont think he is near the level at this point that Louisville should offer for a scholarship. Knowles has always been targeted to VCU and I think this is the type of program that best suits him. He can be a defensive stopper for UL and may ultimately be a contributor. But to offer him a scholarship, when Louisville seems to be sitting well early for 08….just a surprise. Maybe another part of the “Kentucky schools are terrified of another Chris Lofton” syndrome that we have seen recently.
(6) John Pelphrey at his press conference today said that Arkansas had the best fans in college basketball. I know you gotta win them over…..but come on John….
(7) When I was at the press conference on Friday and the team walked in, it struck me, that this team really will be a challenge for the new coach. At this point, you have four guys that have been important contributors to past teams (Bradley, Crawford, Meeks and Jasper)…..two guys that played sparingly (Porter and Stevenson)….one guy coming off a redshirt (Carter)….one guy who has really never played (Harris)…..three walk ons (Coury, Krebs and Dwight P) and two guys that are unknown freshmen (Stewart and Williams). That is what the new coach inherits…..and it wont be easy. Two of your best three players have one year left in the program…..there are three open scholarships and little to no size. Coach Clyde does not have to resurrect a program…..but it does need some serious mending.
Check out the Mitch interview if you havent yet….it is good and shows some personality that we dont often see from the stoic guy. Scroll down and read the good work from the Intern and Mosley yesterday. If you havent joined the Sports Mob Myspace Site, do it.
And check out this Mike Williams video if you havent seen it…..more as the day goes along….