This morning as I was taking my trip across the state, I spoke with Deniz Kilicli’s prep school coach, Rob Fulford about his recruiting status. His coach told me that “you see a lot of 6’9″ guys, but you dont see many with Deniz’s skills, which is why everybody and their brother is interested in him.” According to the coach, “four schools have sent their head coach here, West Virginia, Kentucky, UCLA and NC State, so I think you can say they are ahead of the rest of the pack. I told Deniz that if the head coach comes then they really want you because if the head coach isnt here, that means they are somewhere else looking at another player. So I think you can say those four schools are the leader.” When asked if any school was the sole leader, he said, “Maybe West Virginia because Bob Huggins has taken such an interest in Deniz. The coaches can come once a week here and Bob is here once a week. They have a great relationship. But the other coaches are developing that too, so all those schools are still in it.”
I asked him about the Midnight Madness issue and he said this: “Kentucky asked him to come on October 10 and he really wanted to be there. But then West Virginia moved their Madness to the 10th and he had already told Coach Huggins he would go to the West Virginia event first. So he felt like he owed it to him to come. He is disappointed though because he wanted to go to both.” When I asked if this meant anything about preferring WVU over UK, he said, “No not at all. Deniz just felt like he owed it to Coach Huggins since Coach Huggins was the first one to invite him to Midnight Madness.”
All in all, I left the conversation convinced that (a) Deniz is a big priority for UK. His coach said that he “talks to assistants and the Coach from UK all the time.” I also think that (b) West Virginia is the leader, with UK a close second. So there you go….keep an eye on the Turkish talent in Beckley.