So the big day is finally here. As Chris Tomlin observed, the kind people at Big Lots have been gracious enough to give UK fans Midnight Madness and we are ready to take it for a spin tonight, with the biggest recruiting night in at least ten years. Before we get to that, a little word. Tonight, this blog will be your home for Midnight Madness Coverage as I will be covering the event for Kentucky Sports Report and live blogging from the event here. I will be taking audio interviews with various people at the event (available to the premium subscribers at Kentucky Sports Report) and giving my tidbits and news on this here blog. So as you watch the event….or if you are out of town, as you wish you were watching the event, check in here and get all the latest pieces of news. It should be fun.
Now onto the news….
(1) The big news of the last two days is that the Morris twins and Lavoy Allen have had their visits postponed until next weekend. I have attempted to get into contact with the Morris twins’ coach to determine the reason for the postponement, but thus far have been unsuccessful. My source at UK tells me that the University asked for the later visits, which if true, is very interesting news indeed. That would likely mean that the Cats believe they could get a threesome this weekend of Patterson, Jai Lucas and AJ Stewart. Either way, next weekend is shaping up to be a big second weekend of recruiting now with the Twins and Marshall Moses seeing campus.
(2) I spoke this evening with Chris Barnes who confirmed for me his intention to make a decision on October 19th during his high school’s homecoming. He said the decision had nothing to do with the dates of other people’s choices but was at the end of his visits (he has been to Georgia, Wichita St, Kentucky and will be going to Oklahoma this weekend) and during the homecoming festivities. He said he knows Patterson, Lucas and Stewart and he “loves all those guys’ games.” Barnes told me that UK was an “amazing visit” and that Coach Smith “let me know just how I can fit in with the class they want.” Very positive vibes from Chris.
(3) For those of you that dont check myspace (one of the best unofficial places to find recruiting news and stories), lots of news about Marshall Moses today. A female friend of his “congratulated him on his commitment” to Kentucky. Now of course we have no idea if that is true or not, or if such a commitment happened, but sometimes this is how these things slip out….
(4) JJ Hickson‘s commitment today to NC State was a real shocker for many who have followed him this year. NC State was a late comer to the list and was not one of the five schools he mentioned to me this past summer. Florida’s decision to pull out was likely academic related and it will be quite some time before we are sure that Hickson will even seen the floor next year for the Pack. However for UK, if they get Patterson (a big IF), the Hickson decision to not go to SEC East rivals UT or Florida is very good news indeed.
(5) Lots of folks around UK think they may actually have a problem of more kids wanting to join this class than spots they have. Let me first of all say, I dont know if I agree with this or not. UK has been notoriously over optimistic about their stance with major recruits (see Brandon Wright) so I would take this one with a grain of salt. But it is clear that there is a top tier of recruits for UK (in my view it is the guys coming this weekend and Moses/Barnes) and the hope is that their decisions will be made before others have to make decisions. What UK has done by emphasizing the “Big 3” this weekend is take three guys, all of whom are friends, and sell a package deal to them…..making them realize that they can be the cornerstones of the future of this school. It is a risky, but potentially very rewarding, strategy. And considering how into UK one of those guys is (AJ Stewart), it has the potential to work.
One last word before the big activities tomorrow night. There has been a lot of buildup leading to this time. Many of you ask me what I think these kids will do and whether we will have three new Wildcats at the end of the weekend. I will just say this…..ANYTHING is really possible. I am not expecting three new Cats at the end of the weekend….in fact, that result would surprise me. But I do think it is somewhat likely that UK gets a commitment from Stewart and less likely, but not impossible with Lucas. I would be very surprised if Patrick Patterson made his decision so soon.
However regardless of what happens, I dont think it is panic time. A week ago I would have told you that if Lucas and Patterson waited more than a week after Madness, we were done. I dont think so anymore. Patrick’s mother says he is committed to visiting all the schools and Jai seems likely to at least visit Oklahoma St and Maryland. I have good feelings about these guys individually, but I REALLY have good feelings about these guys collectively. They genuinely like each other and this is the weekend to have them all together as one.
One last thing…..for those of you going…..this is YOUR CHANCE to have a positive effect on the team. It is often frustrating to many of us that the team we like so much, we have so little ability to effect. THis is different however. Make signs, do chants, but overall just be crazy UK fans. I know that these guys and their families are watching the fanbase…..and this is your chance to show what the REAL UK fanbase is like.
See you tomorrow night on the blog and at the event…..if you see me, say hey and if you have any suggestions for coverage you want to see, email me at [email protected]….until next time….