We are coming to you live from the middle of the night in Canmore, Alberta, just outside of Calgary, next to the Canadian Rockies. Let me just say that if you have never been this way, you truly have to make a trip at some point. The Canadian Rockies may be some of the most unbelievable pieces of scenery that I have ever seen and this area is truly stunning. I know that some of you may believe that you will never see anything more gorgeous than a Sheray Thomas three pointer, but the Canadian Rockies may actually outdo their native son.
But of course, you are not here totally for my stories (although there may be some later), but you want basketball and football news. Here is what my message machine says today:
(1) The recruitment of Stephon Pettigrew may very well be the big news of the next few weeks. As we stated here earlier, it is very likely that Pettigrew will receive an offer from UK in the very near future. There is some movement to try and get Pettigrew to commit early, which suggests to me a couple of possibilities. One is that Kentucky genuinely likes what they saw from Pettigrew this summer and would like to get him onboard as a solid member of the class. This would be perfectly reasonable as Pettigrew showed to onlookers that he is a solid talent and his Kentucky roots make him a good option. However the other school of thought (where I find some truth) is that there is a desire to get someone locked up before the next couple of months go by. Everyone knows what this class means and what it can become and the goal of having someone on board, makes folks breathe a little easier. Knowing that, I wish AJ Stewart had an offer….but I digress.
(2) The JJ Hickson news about the narrowing of his list is truly disappointing. I have spent the past day (when not enjoying the gorgeous views of Alberta) thinking about what the staff’s angle will be if Patterson decides to go elsewhere, and I honestly cant figure it out. On the one hand they can sign Brooks from Doss (which may or may not even be possible), get a couple of other off the radar types and hope for the best (thus recreating this senior class). Or they can say, “well we are in a great position for 08, so we wont worry about it.” However that logic would be nothing but faulty. At this point last year, we all thought Kentucky was set up well for 07 (which they were), and that there would be no worries this year. But things change. Thus guys like Eric Gordon, Scotty Hopson, Darius Miller, the Morris twins etc who look so good for Kentucky right now may end up elsewhere…and then what happens. No, Kentucky HAS to get a good to great class this year. And great is certainly possible if Lucas and Patterson sign on (especially with Stewart and Pettigrew). But without Patterson (or Lucas or Stewart, etc), then the class, in my view, can barely be good. I mean who else are they going to get? It truly baffles me and I hope someone has a plan. I assume they do, but I cant for the life of me figure out what it is.
(3) For those of you who havent seen it, ESPN has an interview with Ramel Bradley in its SEC Preview where he talks about his excitement at being the most important player on next year’s team. Two things stood out to me. First, Ramel talks about the importance of adding leadership to the team, a trait he believes (and I believe) that he has over Rondo, even if the talent difference between the two is noticeable. But second, he also says that the team will have a smaller rotation with him, Crawford, Perry, Thomas, Morris and Jasper. That is interesting to me as even though it says nothing about what Tubby thinks (you will see Carter, Woo and Meeks on the court), it does suggest that Ramel believes Jasper is playing at a high level. I am not concerned at all about Meeks (best physical guard at UK since Bogans), so to here that Jasper is playing great makes me very happy.
So that is all from Canmore. We have had a stellar night here, in this mountain town that is full of tourists looking to the Rockies. Tomorrow we will cross the Rockies and head back into the states through Idaho and Montana. We will catch you then…..