Now wasnt this weekend fun? I mean it was a GREAT weekend to be a UK fan. First we saw the dreaded Louisville Cardinals have their national championship dreams shattered by the loveable gangsters from New Jersey. Then we had the greatness of a Kentucky win in the rain over Vanderbilt that has sent the Cats’ bowling and Rich Brooks into another extended home lease. And now we get into recruiting week and the beginning of the new college basketball season. I am giddy!!!
Tonight also has me ready to begin this great time of year. I watched our man Chuck Hayes START for the Houston Rockets tonight against the defending champions, the Miami Heat. I want you to read that sentence again. Chuck Hayes, who everyone in America loved in college but said “he has no future in the NBA” has become an NBA starter at power forward and (according to a recent ESPN article), one of the most efficient players in the league. Folks that is a revelation. The next time someone says Tubby doesnt “develop” players or that he cant make them into NBA prospects, show them a picture of Chuck. If Tubby were to create his ultimate player, Chuck would be it and watching him play makes me feel like a proud papa.
Now what of the week ahead you may ask? Well first off, Episode 13 of Kentucky Sports Radio will be available for your consumption at noon on Monday. What do we have for you, you ask? Well we have the mysterious test taker Marshall Moses who comments on when he will get his scores and when he will visit UK. We also have football coverage with Duncan Cavanah, a discussion of all the hot recruiting topics with Brian Eldridge and a HILARIOUS (at least to me) preview of the non-conference portion of UK’s basketball schedule. I think you will enjoy. In addition, be sure and scroll down and dont miss some of the weekend postings, including Rob Gidel’s GREAT football recruiting blog where he gives you the lowdown on all the big football prospects (great work Rob!). Plus we unveiled the first Kentucky Sports Radio girl and we look forward to introducing the rest during the week. Finally, OH Napier was in his underwear….which I know you had to enjoy.
And oh yeah, Jared Carter injured his shoulder. We learn more about how seriously early this week. MRI coming on Monday. Hope its not serious….
And dont forget….DA BEARS!!!! (and yet another Triple Play…..Boro, Cats and Bears)
But its Monday and its signing week….you want recruiting news….
(1) Lets start with the name that is on everyone’s lips, Jai Lucas. Lucas has decided to make his decision public in the next three days and everyone is anxiously awaiting. I spoke with Jai at the beginning of the weekend and he told me that basically communication lines were being severed for the next few days as he tried to “focus on the decision at hand.” Here is the info I have been hearing this weekend. First, the Kentucky staff is “cautiously optimistic” that this is going to work itself out and that Lucas will commit. Second, I have heard from no one that anything has changed regarding my assumption that UK is Lucas’ leader at this point. If such information is coming, then I would expect tomorrow is the day, but for now, no news is good news. Having said all of this, I am also hearing that the folks at Oklahoma State remain confident and that Maryland believes it is a real player as well. Obviously some of us are wrong…..but as of now, the Lucas situation remains similar to before……which as a UK fan, should make you happy.
(2) I am hearing strong talk that Kentucky is making a big move to try and get Patrick Patterson to commit to UK this week. Kentucky knows that there is a lot at stake here and that waiting puts the CAts in an odd position. Thus my source has said that UK is about to make a “full court press” (and not Tubby ball…..just kidding) on Patterson, beginning on Monday. Patrick visited Virginia this weekend and now has taken all of his official visits. Word I am hearing is that Coach K has asked Patrick to wait until Spring and to visit for a regular season Duke home game (which falls in line with my understanding that the Duke visit was mediocre at best). Kentucky hopes to make a push now and end the saga now. The assumption is at this point that Patrick is waiting…..but Kentucky is going to be proactive and attempt to make something happen now……a strategy that I think is very good on UK’s part.
(3) So what about Marshall Moses? Well to tease a bit (what can I say), I will leave the Moses news for his interview which will be out this afternoon. But the big question, when will Marshall get his test score has been answered. He will receive it on Tuesday and will visit as soon thereafter as he can. Moses went into some detail on what he is hearing from the UK staff, but I will leave that for him to say. But for now, know that Moses will have the score this week.
(4) The Morris Twins did NOT make a visit this weekend due to a family illness. I am told however that they still want to take such a visit, but they also may make a decision this week…..which seems contradictory. At this point the twins are set for 08, but seem to want to end the process this fall. Whereas two weeks ago, their coach told me that UK had backed off, seemingly the next day, UK came back on (and you think this blog has no power…. ;)_ UK does want the twins apparently….even if it is for the very small 08 class.
(5) So what about Eshaunte Jones, the guard from Indiana? Well he is choosing between the Hoosiers and Cats on Monday. Most everyone, myself included, thinks it is virtually a given that he is going to Indiana…..but there are whispers that Jones may have visited in the last two weeks and the decision by Gordon to go to the Hoosiers may have pushed him UK’s way. Two thoughts on this. First, if UK gets him, it will be the quitest recruitment of a major player UK has done in some time. Kudos to the staff for keeping this quiet. Second, that cant be good news for Lucas if UK ends up with Jones. Really there is only a spot for one guard in this class in my view as the forward needs are more prevalent. I still think Jones is a Hoosier…..but you just never know.
UPDATE Just saw that Jones has reclassified to 08 (which I was not aware of)…..so the Jai Lucas part is not of importance. Still think he is a Hoosier, but now UK not as unlikely as I had thought….
(6) So is Ramon Harris actually eligible? Well that is an interesting question. Many members of the UK media all reported “hearing” that Harris may not be eligible at the same time (which likely means the information was UK-driven). According to Harris, he is eligible. Jerry Tipton reported in the Herald that it isnt clear that he is, while also quoting Brick Oettinger saying Harris isnt that good. We shall see whether Harris ends up being good, but Tipton’s use of him as a source is classic…..get the guy who likes the UK player the least and put that in the paper. Jerry Tipton is ALWAYS negative and the use of Oettinger (who is notoriously anti-UK) is not surprising in the least. Will Harris be eligible? Well it looks like we may have conflicting opinions at this time. Stay tuned…..
(7) So what about OJ Mayo? It was reported in the Huntington newspaper today that OJ is still considering schools including USC, Kansas St, UK, UL, UConn and Florida and hopes to visit FIVE of these schools this year. First off let me be clear. I think the chance of OJ at Kentucky is negative zero. Tubby and OJ simply dont seem to me to be compatible in the least. Having said that, this news is interesting to me for one reason. UK hasnt been mentioned by Mayo in a long time. He moves to Huntington High and mentions UK and Florida again, both schools likely leading for Patrick Patterson. Do you think that means that Patrick talks about those schools a lot? I do. The notion of a Mayo-Patterson package deal to either school is absurd…,..the Pattersons dont function like that. But seeing UK mentioned by OJ suggests to me that many UK fans’ worries (that OJ would swing Patrick away from UK) was not worthy of a worry.
So what is going to happen this week. Well the smart money by Vegas would be on a Lucas commitment, a date for a Moses visit and that is it. But it could also include a Lucas loss, a Jones commitment, a Patterson decision, a Morris Twins’ decision or the entry of a new name that we know nothing about. I have a sneaking suspicion that a surprise is on the horizon (as I am still told that there is a “mystery” Kentucky recruit), and I hope that surprise is favorable. As soon as I hear ANYTHING about Lucas (which will likely be the first story to break), I will let you folks know. Until then, hang on…..and look for Episode 13 tomorrow…..