The commitments of both Mackey and Hopson this week make the recruitment of Darius Miller that much more important from a perception standpoint for Tubby. Regardless of whether Miller would be a difference-maker, he becomes more important because if he decides to go elsewhere, UK will have gone 0 for 3 in what is thought to be the best in-state high school class in better than ten years (Ross Neltner notwithstanding). Whether justified or not, even reasonable UK fans will have to at least question UK’s recruitment strategy given the misses over the past couple of years. If UK goes 0 for 3 with all these guys (although their is still two years before any of them graduate and a lot can change) it will not necessarily mean that our recruiting is awful, or that we can’t still have a great class; it will merely be perceived that we had difficulty landed prized recruits from the proverbial “backyard” (I don’t recall “backyard” being in any proverbs, though). This perception could have ramifications in future recruiting as competing coaches will surely bring this up to prospective recruits.
Now, while I have been explicit in saying that this would be a perceived problem, even such a perception can be washed away by the landing of Patterson, et al. this season. For all intents and purposes, Patterson is an in-state recruit hailing from Huntington, WV (Just across the river from Ash-Vegas). The commitment of Patterson would do two things: 1) Would partially counter the argument that UK is having trouble recruiting in-state, and 2) a Patterson-led recruiting class plus the current freshman plus Crawford and Bradley would equal a talent-laden squad not so in need of the talented ’08 Kentuckians. As Matt pointed out to me, Patterson’s recruitment deals with the “National” perception of whether UK can land a big-name recruit, while the recruitment of the local kids deals with the “State” perception particularly from those who appreciate Kentucky boys playing for the beloved Cats.
In short, none of this becomes much of an issue if Tubby lands Patterson, Lucas, Anderson/Moses… this year. However, if Kentucky were to lose out on Patterson the ’08 class will already have two of the Commonwealth’s best committed elsewhere and the grumblings will only become louder. If there wasn’t enough pressure on Tubby to sign Pat Pat already, it just got a little heavier.