On a night where ice has overtaken the central part of Kentucky (and made people go running to the grocery for milk and bread….why do people do that by the way? Is it the case that if you are stuck in a storm, you need milk and bread more than other foods? Besides 4 year old pre-school kids, I know no-one that drinks milk in large amounts, but it is always emptied on the shelves the moment a storm is predicted), the word around UK basketball circles is of our traveling coach, Billy Clyde Gillispe. After giving the team off on Wednesday as he traveled the country to North Carolina and Illinois, Gillispie found himself in Hopkinsville tonight watcing Scotty Hopson as he poured in 37 points on Senior night to delight the UHA faithful (both of them). Gillispie joined a host of other coaches, including Rick Stansbury and Tennessee assistants, at the game as the world goes after the hottest recruit left in the continental United States. Hopson, who was recently named a McDonalds All American and a participant in the Jordan Classic, now can certainly be said to be on Kentucky’s radar as Gillispie has made multiple trips to watch the phenom play. Where Kentucky ranks on Hopson’s radar is up for debate. Those close to Scotty continue to tell me that the Cats are behind the original leaders (Miss St, Tenn, UL) but that UK can make up that ground if they express interest. It is clear that there is some interest by the fact of Gillispie’s appearance, but if it will be enough remains to be seen.
Whatever happens however, it is clear that the Scotty Hopson recruitment has been a bit bizarre. Back in the fall, I was told by someone close to the coaching staff that there was very little interest in Hopson and the Cats were happy with Miller and Liggins in that position. But over the last couple of months that has changed, and some recruiting followers insist that contact has occurred between the staff and Hopson. However the Hopsons continue to deny this and claim they have been told that Gillispie would call, only to never hear from him (a similar charge was made by Brad Tinsley, the Oregon guard that all are drooling over). Yet Gillispie has now taken in multiple Hopson games and has said that he is still looking for a dynamic wing scorer in this class….a role that really only Hopson can fill. It is safe to say that UK now wants Scotty in blue….but the courtship process is interesting to say the least.
Scotty is shifting into tournament mode and the news on Hopson may be scarce for a few weeks. He says he will take a couple more visits after the season is over, and may expect that Kentucky will be one of those. If the Cats can somehow land Hopson in Lexington and squeeze out a JUCO big guy, watch out…..that would put this class shooting up the rankings and into Top 10 land….and give the Cats what they REALLY need for next year….another scoring option. The Cats need a big man…but with the development of Perry Stevenson, they can squeeze out a year without another low post scoring machine. But Crawford and Bradley are leaving and taking 40 points a game with them. Miller and Liggins may bring 15-20 of those points with them, but someone else needs to find another 15 or so if the Cats are going to improve. That man may be Hopson and it looks as if Gillispie’s decision to go visit him in Hoptown shows that Billy Clyde is hoping to make it a reality.
Later today you will Know Your Enemy and learn more about Arkansas….and dont forget that Saturday is the all-day Bracket Buster Blog here on this site. Make sure and tune in. More later…..