If the Cats are lucky, the answer to that question will be yes. For those of you that dont follow recruiting on a daily basis, meet Jon Hood of Madisonville, Kentucky, who along with Scotty Hopson and Darius Miller this year is helping raise the talent level of the basketball coming out of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Hood is part of the Class of 2009, and has quickly established himself as one of the handful of top targets in the country. Hood is 6’6″, 180 pounds, a relatively lanky frame, but a kid who can put it in the hole from all areas on the court. I have seen Hood play a couple of times over the past year and each time he looks better than before. You can literally see his confidence growing as his smooth-shooting touch puts up great performance after great performance.
But his best act of all may have been Tuesday night, when Hood showed a dazzling array of scoring moves and a deft shooting touch to finish with 24 points and cause more than one onlooker at the Louisville Invitational Tournament to turn their head. Hood will take you off guard….the first time you see him, you will think “this kid cant be much of a player…..he just doesnt LOOK like a player.” But then you see him on the court, fighting through screens and finding ways to get himself open and put the ball in the basket. While Scotty Hopson and Darius Miller may set the bar high in this class, Hood is on pace to be one of the highest touted recruits from Kentucky in many a year…..and he is only getting better.
So the question then becomes, will Kentucky get him? Well the short answer is probably, but not assuredly. Tennessee, Ole Miss and other schools are recruiting Hood, but Kentucky has offered and his family is firmly in the Blue camp. This is a young man who likes Pitino, so Louisville will get a look, but it will be VERY difficult for the team in Red and Black to pull him from Lexington’s grasp. But dont think it is assured Jon is a Cat. Lurking out on the horizon is a little team from Durham that has Hood on their list of 7 or 8 guys that may get a Duke scholarship offer….a prize that unfortunately is rarely turned down (Patrick Patterson being an obvious exception). Hood has always liked the Dukies and is excited about visiting Cameron Indoor in the near future. Thus if a team has the potential to pry Hood from Kentucky’s hands, it will be the dreaded Dukies, setting up a summer recruiting battle that could be quite intense.
Do yourself a favor and go see Hood play. He is going tonight at 8:30 at the LIT at Louisville Gardens and I will be there, along with most of the local reporters who want to see what the buzz is about. Hood is a throwback, both in looks and game style, but no one can fault his performance and his effort always pleases the crowd. Over the next few months, you will hear Hood’s name multiple times as he becomes the “must-get” of the early 2009 class. Rarely is such a recruit so close to the Bluegrass state, so he is worth going and seeing if you are close by.
In other news….
— The Tubbster couldnt pull it off. Classic Tubby game though….after an initial run of pressing, he packed in a zone and made Indiana beat him from the outside….unfortunately some late offensive problems and a wide open three (the achilles heel of Tubby’s zone) did him in….good performance however.
— Big commitment of Trevathan from Florida….not a high star kid, but a guy who won a lot of awards and played for a top high school….he will be a good one.
— Received an email from one of the folks close to Tyrone Appleton who said that the list of schools recruiting the JUCO point guard is “expanding every day.” Texas and Oregon are the latest to add to the list. Looks like the kid has a great deal of talent.
— Big day at Louisville Gardens….four good games and lots of solid local players….good place to hang out on a bitter cold afternoon/evening
— Look for the return of the “Kentucky Sports Radio” podcast on Sunday as Hubby, the Turkey Hunter and I review the Kentucky-Florida game….good old school fun that we hope will be entertaining.
— Meeks and Jasper are still not practicing…..no word on Saturday