Another day, another batch of recruiting information. Lots to get to tonight, but first let me shill a couple of things. This Sunday we will be taping our 2006 Recruiting Special where we get you ready for Midnight Madness and what will hopefully be a slew of commitments in the coming weeks. We will have on many of the players in question, various recruitniks who know the kids, their high school coaches and everything else you need to know. If you are not somebody who has followed recruiting a great deal or if you are someone who wants to know every detail of the process, parts of this show will be for you. IT will be ready on Monday afternoon, so be looking for it. Oh and while you are at it, listen to this week’s show (EPISODE 8 HERE)….it is good too. Now onto the news…
(1) Spoke at length tonight again with AJ Stewart. He confirmed to me again that he is down to UK and Illinois. However in what can only be good news for UK fans, he has postponed his visit to Illinois from this weekend to the weekend after Midnight Madness. He reiterated to me that he would be perfectly comfortable committing at Midnight Madness and that he “cannot wait to get up there and see it all.” He also said he has been talking to Patrick Patterson and that “we talk about how a team with me, him and Jai will be great. I dont know what he will do but we have been talking about how we could take over with that group.” This kid will be a Cat absent a complete dropping of the ball by Kentucky next weekend.
(2) Spoke also with Marshall Moses who told me he will be visiting UK on Oct 20. He mentioned that he is in constant contact with UK and Coach David Hobbs had been to see him a few days ago. HE said that Tubby and Hobbs have told him exactly how he could be used at Kentucky and they went over how he might fit in with, according to Marshall, “AJ, Patrick Patterson and the other guys they want.” Moses said he would be completely comfortable playing with those guys and he had a real rapport with AJ Stewart after playing with him at the ABCD Camp this year. He said that he is planning on taking visits to Kansas, Memphis and USC, but that he still loved Kentucky. When I asked if he could see himself committing to UK after his visit even if he hadnt taken other visits, he said, “yeah I could do that if that is what they wanted and I was comfortable there.” He said some schools have told him that scholarships may not be there forever and thus, “when I know where I want, I will hop on as soon as I can.” I really like Marshall and would like to see him in this class.
(3) UPDATE: Hickson has cancelled his visit to Florida and says they are eliminated from contention. Very interesting news. Much has been made about the fact that JJ Hickson has basically stopped talking about UK on his lists. That is all fine and dandy, but the Cats are now in an odd position that they should be pulling for Hickson to fall in love in Gainesville this weekend. See Hickson is on his official visit there and one has to think that the Gators only have room for one more forward. IF you are rooting (as we all are) for Patrick Patterson to be at Kentucky, a JJ Hickson commitment to Florida would mean that it would be down to UK and Duke for Pat. With Florida truly rising in Patrick’s eyes after his visit, this would certainly help UK’s chances. So I will be pulling for JJ to pull the trigger for Billy….it is odd, but it likely will be best.
(4) Finally, we have now heard from Lucas, Stewart, Barnes and Moses that Tubby is selling these recruits on the idea of playing with each other. I love this strategy and it is one that UK has not used a lot in the past. The idea of selling kids not as a package deal, but as part of a greater unit is huge. Jai Lucas told me that he wants to “play with good players” and telling kids where they fit in with other UK recruits is a great strategy. In the past, when you interviewed these kids, they wouldnt even know who else UK was looking at…..now with the addition of myspace and text messages, they are recruiting each other much more. Good change in strategy by UK.
We will have a lot from UK-USC this weekend and you should check for updates on Sunday on recruiting….we tape on Sunday night and there could be some news coming from those interviews. Seven days folks till the big night…..and lets see if we can give the old Ball Coach a shocker…..