Well we could act like there are lots of things to talk about today….but in reality there is one…..and that is the continued saga of Jai Lucas. First a little background. Lucas has four teams that are courting him for his services. At some point during this process, a story has come out that he is definitely going to all four of those schools. That obviously cant be…..unless of course there are derivative Jai Lucases out there, which I think would be a great addition to the world. Anyway, over the course of the last few weeks there has been heated vitriol from fans of all teams about where he is going. Each of these schools has a case:
Kentucky: Jai’s first visit was of course to the Bluegrass State where he proclaimed that he was “blown away” by the Midnight Madness festivities. Lucas attended the visit with Patrick Patterson and AJ Stewart, both of whom he knows, and has later communicated with both guys. There is no doubt that Jai is a huge fan of the UK program, calling it “big time basketball” on multiple occasions. There have been some UK folks (although no writers that I know of) who have proclaimed that Jai committed to UK on this visit. I do not believe that to be the case.
Oklahoma State: Then of course we have Oklahoma State, the school where Jai’s brother John attended. Jai has a good relationship with Coach Sean Sutton and now has a friend attending the university in James Anderson. As for the Cowboys’ chances, Greg Swaim, a writer and radio host who covers OSU says that he is 100% sure that Jai will be at Oklahoma State next year. He has never wavered from this and continues to proclaim it to all who will listen.
Maryland: The Terps are of course the alma mater of Jai’s father John and produced a visit that was very impressive to Jai, thanks in part to their football upset of Florida State. Jai likes the players on the team and has a comfort level with the school. It was rumored by some that Jai may have already verbaled to Maryland, but Jai told us tonight on the show that this is not true (and that he hasnt rumored to anyone). Some internet folks have said Jai is Maryland bound, although it seems that no writer at this point is GUARANTEEING his commitment to College Park.
Oklahoma: Finally Oklahoma, where Jai is a big fan of Coach Capel and the new program being built in Norman. Because no one cares about Oklahoma basketball, little has been written. Jai did do one interview where he was quoted as saying that the visit “changed things”, but the meaning of that quote is unclear.
So as a backdrop, a case can be made for all four teams. I have maintained throughout that I believe Kentucky has been and is the leader, and I still believe that to be true now. Contrary to what other fans of schools have said, this is not wild conjecture on my part, but is rather based on an informed source. When all this is over, I will let it be known why I have thought what I think, but at this point, I am still of the belief that UK looks good. I still dont think it is certain he ends up in Lexington and I also dont think a final decision has been made. But I still think Kentucky is the favorite at this juncture.
We had Jai Lucas on the show this evening. We hope to have the ESPN show available for download on Thursday (although this is requiring some technical work that may have glitches….cross your fingers). It was a GREAT show with Jai, Chip Cosby of the Herald Leader, GREAAAAT calls from fans of the show that were extremely entertaining and other banter (including Hubby’s crush on Perry Stevenson). But most interestingly were Jai’s comments. Here were some highlights:
When asked for words to describe why he likes each program he said for Kentucky that it is “big time basketball” and that “75 percent” of why he likes the Cats is Tubby Smith. For Oklahoma State he mentioned the word “family”…..for Maryland he said “playing in the ACC” and for Oklahoma he mentioned his fondness for Jeff Capel and “starting something new.”
Said he will decide sometime next week, not sure which day yet. He plans on having a press conference.
He called us from the parking lot after a basketball game and spoke of how he is looking forward to making his decision. He also said that he loved the fact that at Kentucky “you get 24,000 fans for a practice and that happens nowhere else.”
There is much more, but we will let you hear it when it comes out. Nothing earth-shattering, but the quality of the kid as a person is evident throughout the interview.
As this recruitment finishes up, I have one final comment on how it will go. No matter what happens, Jai is a GREAT kid. Wherever he ends up, I hope UK fans will respect him and his decision. I think this has been tough on him as there are substantial pulls at each school, ranging from family ties at two schools to genuine affinity for coaches at the other two. Jai has been professional throughout the whole thing and I hope fans will recognize how good a kid he is, wherever he decides to go.
I still think Kentucky is the leader. If I think that changes, I will let you know as soon as I do. I feel confident about this one, IF THE DECISION WERE TODAY. The decision is not today and I cant say definitively what I feel about next week. If he goes elsewhere, the folks at Maryland sites, Greg Swaim and I will likely be criticized. I would just hope that folks remember that I have never guaranteed any commitment and am simply passing on (free) information that I have gathered. If Jai ends up elsewhere…..well hell, you get what you pay for and I will still believe that the info has been correct as of my recitation of it. If its right…..well then I hope someone will come sing me a song (preferably one by Waylon Jennings). And either way, we can bask in the glory of what is going to be a VERY GOOD season for UK this year (I really believe that) and the wondrous beauty that is OH Napier.