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Jason Heyward’s Thursday News and Views (with PATTERSON UPDATE)

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I have an odd mindset when it comes to baseball. Generally I am not really a baseball fan and my ability to watch baseball games lasts about two weeks into the season. But, besides Kentucky, the Atlanta Braves are my favorite sports team. I date back to the 80s, pre- the Maddux, Smoltz, Glavine, Justice, Chipper Braves and more the Dale Murphy, Bob Horner, Claudell Washington, Rick Mahler, Glenn “Old Mother” Hubbard, Ken Oberkfell days. Back then, Braves baseball was on television every day and the Braves were awful…a perfect combination for me to sit every Summer night and turn on TBS to hear Skip Carey call the trainwreck. In recent years, my loss of passion for baseball has led to a slight loss of passion for the Braves, although I always still check their score. But now they have the real deal in Jason Heyward and I have watched every pitch of the first two games. If you havent seen or heard about Heyward, he is 20 years old and like John Wall, he just radiates “superstar.” In his first Major League at bat, he hit a homerun. He has the city of Atlanta jacked for the first time in years and he has become the first “cant miss” player to follow early in the season. I am still not a huge baseball guy and chances are, in two weeks I will be done with it. But for now, the Heyward shirt is on order and I am ready for a little old school Tomahawk Chop action.

To the news….

(1): Today gave the official word that we have all expected for some time as UK announced that five UK players were entering the NBA Draft. According to UK, John Wall, Demarcus Cousins, Patrick Patterson, Eric Bledsoe and Daniel Orton all declared for the draft, and in so doing, provided likely the greatest mass exodus of non-Senior talent in college basketball history. According to UK, the five guys all “put their names” in the Draft, but for three of those guys, the decision is most certainly made. Then came news late tonight that Patrick Patterson may not have actually filed the papers and was still mulling a decision as to what he was going to do. I spoke with Tywanna Patterson tonight and she told me this:

Patrick has not made a decision yet. He will do so in the next week or two and he will decide it by the 24th. It his decision and he knows that if he puts in the Draft he cant take it out. He wants to weigh the pros and the cons of the decison. The pros like the fact that he loves the fans and he could get his master’s degree at Kentucky. But then he sees cons like the injury that Desean from West Virginia got in that last game. But he is taking his time and wants to make a thoughtful decision on his own terms.

So there you go. Four guys are gone, but Patrick’s future is still not certain at this point.

(2): The futures of the players is now the discussion and ESPN’s draft expert Chad Ford believes it is bright. He tweeted out today after the decision that John Wall was the certain #1 pick, Demarcus Cousins would go somewhere between #3-5, Patrick Patterson was likely #8-#16, Daniel Orton was #10-18 and Eric Bledsoe #12-#20. That is an unbelievable stretch of draft numbers and if it ended up like that, would be the highest five picks from one team in the history of the NBA Draft. While UK fans would prefer a national championship, that is still a fairly amazing accomplishment when you think about it. Orton’s stock surprises me somewhat, but as Ford says, “the NBA loves size above all else.” And he does have that. I wish all of the guys much success and now cant wait for the NBA Draft….always one of my five favorite sports nights and this year more than ever.

(3): So if all these players are leaving, who is coming. I am told by a number of different people that next week is the week that the UK roster will take shape, not just for next year, but maybe for the year after as well. Brandon Knight is announcing on the 14th, CJ Leslie and Josh Selby on the 17th and we could even hear from some of the 2011 guys as well, as rumors persist that Michael Gilchrist and Marquis Teague are close to a decision. Teague announced today that the media would get “one week’s notice” as to his press conference decision and the presser would be in Indiana at his high school. If UK seems likely to get him (and the buzz continues to get louder and louder in that direction), I will make the trip up there. You have to go back to Corey Peter’s football decision to have a high school press conference I attended, so it would be a good trip for old times sake….although the PAtrick Patterson “stream his announcement on the radio via a friend’s cell phone” will likely never be topped.

(4): There was some other interesting news today as we found out that UK is interested in West Jessamine Point Guard Jerrod Polson, a kid known to some in the Lexington area, but not really known outside of it. He is playing pickup with the team today and there is talk that he will be offered either a walk-on or potential one year scholarship role with the team. I have not seen the kid play, but a coach familiar with him wrote this to me about his game:

Jarrod Polson has very good basketball skills that are surpassed only by his intelligence for the game. Jarrod has all of the intangibles that make very good basketball players. He makes great judgments out on the floor, and is always aware of changing defenses by the opposing team. Jarrod does what is necessary for the team to win rather than force things for himself. He is a team player. He works hard on both ends of the floor, and has been working out all year and will be a much stronger this year.

I had seen Jarrod Polson in the past, but I could tell right away during the 2008-2009 HS season that Jarrod was going to be a very nice player, He has a very nice shot, has a high percentage from the line, and isn’t afraid to hit the boards or do anything a coach will ask of him for the team, and he can create his own shots/plays.

Jarrod has played against some very talented basketball players, and he will never back down from anyone, and would be an asset for any team.

(5): Finally, lost in the UK shuffle were the early entrants from other teams today. Evan Turner entered, surprising no one as he is headed likely for the #2 overall pick. Zah Vee Ay Henry left Kansas after one year as well and will likely be a first rounder at the end of the day. Other decisions were more curious. Lance Stephenson may have been “Born Ready”, but I am not sure the NBA feels the same way, and his decision was perplexing. Chris Wright, who grew up a UK fan but was not recruited by the Cats, left Dayton early, another decision that is likely not a good one. And Alex Tyus, he of the great hairline, has left Florida but is not hiring an agent so he has the option to return. The ladies of the SEC are holding their collective breath.

More all day as the news continues to truck on…

Article written by Matt Jones