This was a crazy weekend around the Kentucky Sports Radio Compound. We had the Moses mess from Friday (more on that later), the debut of our new show on Saturday (which by the way, I am told can be heard in Lexington now on 1600 AM for your future reference) and a great deal of legal work that I had to do to put sustenance on the table. But still yet, I decided it would be time for a movie. There are tons that I want to see, ranging from “The Last King of Scotland” to “Blood Diamond” to “The Queen” to “Letters from Iwo Jima” to “The Departed.” So what did I end up seeing….the utterly awful “Smokin Aces.” I went because it was the only movie on at the free time that I had and because I wanted to support Jeremy Piven….or more accurately, support Ari from Entourage. What I ended up seeing (while paying 2 extra dollars so I could sit in the “Directors Hall”) was a ridiculously awful attempt to create a hip “Pulp Fiction”-esque movie with none of the elements that made Pulp Fiction great….mainly strong writing and an entertaining cast of characters. The movie was horrendous….way too bloody (for no reason)….and managed to have a schlock-filled ending that had me want to punch the remaining characters who had not died in the movie, directly in the face. Bottom line….dont go.
But you do want to follow the news….
(1) Lets start with what may be the last word for a little bit on Marshall Moses. By now you likely know the story….Moses told on Wednesday to come this weekend for a visit….on Friday, Tubby calls and cancels, citing the losing streak and the inability to show a good time to Moses as the reason. Marshall becomes very frustrated but does not yet commit to his other top choice, Oklahoma State, but makes clear that he “isnt scheduling another visit to Kentucky again.” There has been a great deal of frustration on the internet about the decision, and that is completely understandable in my view. Put simply, scheduling and then cancelling four visits for Marshall is completely inexcusable. Regardless of where Moses fits in UK’s plans, they simply handled this incorrectly.
The big question of course is where this leaves the 07 class. Has Kentucky completely burned the Marshall Moses bridge? I think that is likely, but not necessarily assured. If Kentucky truely reversed course and showed Moses he was a top priority, there might still be a chance. But as Moses told me Friday, “its pretty clear to me that Patrick Patterson is their top choice….and I understand that….but for a lot of schools, I am their Patrick Patterson.” I have said numerous times that if Marshall Moses is playing on a court next year that is not Rupp Arena, I think UK messed up. Moses will be a great player in college and I think the Cats are taking a risk in putting all their eggs in the Patrick Patterson basket.
(2) What the Moses postponement does open up however is the greater potential that Stephon Pettigrew will eventually end up a Wildcat. Pettigrew made an unofficial visit to the game today (I guess there was enough time to “focus” on his visit) and says he had a great time. “I loved being in the atmosphere and I got to meet the guys on the team, who were all real cool,” Pettigrew said. He told me tonight that he is currently looking to take an official visit to UMASS and also to Kentucky. He said, “Coach wants me to come in for an official so I can see the new practice facility, the lodge, and hang out a bit with the players. I am looking forward to doing that.” Pettigrew however did not get an offer today. This means that UK has two outstanding offers (Patterson and Lucas), with two open scholarships and one almost certain open scholarship (Morris in my view is all but assured to leave). Maybe Pettigrew gets that offer….we shall see.
I will say this about Pettigrew….while I question whether he should get an offer over Moses, I like the kid as a player and he has won me over to the extent that he was my choice as first backup plan if we lost Patterson, Lucas or Moses. I attended the Doss-Elizabethtown game that featured a matchup between he and Jeff Brooks and was once again impressed. He didnt have a great game….but he did score 36 points and nearly lead his team to a win that they had no business getting. He is a gamer, has a good shot, and is a beast down low. Count me among those who wonder how his skills will translate in the SEC with his 6’3″ frame, but no matter what, he is a gamer. What is odd to me however is how long it has taken this staff to get on board the Pettigrew train. You will remember that just four weeks ago, Pettigrew and his father said they got no calls from UK and were very frustrated….now he may get an offer. Stephon won me over the four to five times I saw him this year. Maybe that is what happened with UK as well. One thing is for sure…..Pettigrew is not a “project”……he is who he is…..he doesnt need to be “developed”, he will come in with the necessary talent. The question just becomes whether his game is one that works at the highest level, or is one better suited for a Missouri Valley type setting….where shooting matters more than height. Pettigrew is a beast….muscular….and a great high school scorer. In this respect, he is unlike any of the “shooters” from the state in recent years (Carrier, Blevins, Tackett, Lofton, Stockton, Sparks, etc). He is a very unique player…..we will just have to see if his game translates to the SEC level.
(3) Also at the game today on official visits (which UK must have had time to “focus” on) were 08 big man Kenny Frease and (rumored to be there) Darius Miller. The focus on both guys is not surprising, as UK seeks to get more frontcourt depth with Frease and lock up a HUGE in-state target in Miller. Frease has long been thought to be an Xavier lean, but he is seeing his offers increase and this marks his second unofficial visit to UK. Along with Carter McMasters and Phillip Jurick, Frease represents the main early big men targets for the Cats, not counting the huge names (Drew Gordon and Greg Monroe). As for Miller, he is having a great year and things continue to look positive on his recruitment. Unlike fellow in-state sensation Scotty Hopson (who is seeing his reputation take a nose dive thanks to attitude problems, poor team play, baffling coaching and an inflated sense of self that is being whispered about all over the state), Miller is setting himself up as the favorite for Mr. Basketball next season and a consensus Top 30 recruit. The Cats are doing well with Miller (contrary to what some say) and will be right there at the end, likely along with Florida and Illinois.
(4) There was of course a game on Sunday as well, and it was a positive win for the Cats. Tennessee is not the same team without Lofton, but their lack of firepower without their star player is one of the issues I have with people calling Bruce Pearl an elite-level coach. I see Pearl (at least as of now) as a one-trick pony coach, who takes teams off guard with his pressing style and three point shooting. However, so much of his success has been Lofton based, and while his recruiting has been stellar, some of the development of the players is questionable (Duke Crews to me looks worse than when he was in school and spends WAY too much time camped outside). Kentucky on the other hand gets a big win, but answers few questions. They have a week off, in which people are left with the visions of a tough home loss to Vandy and a road collapse to Georgia…..both teams, however who are playing above their ability this season. I still think UK is the second best team in the SEC, and it is looking like four and maybe five (if you count Tennessee) SEC East teams are better right now than ANY SEC West team. Crazy year in a deep conference, with few elite teams, but tons of good teams.
(5) Poor UK PA Announcer Doug Bruce tonight. Called one three made by Bradley for Jasper and then corrected himself to say it was made by Padgett. Said Morris was from Atlanta, Florida and at one point commented that Derek Anderson was checking into the game. Very odd…..
Around lunch today, we hope to have our Saturday show up for your listening pleasure. The show was great, including an enlightening game of “Tuna, Buddha or Luda” by Chris Tomlin where we had to guess who made a particular quote, Bill Parcells, Buddha or Ludacris. Rob Gidel and I will be taping a special “Football Signing Day” Preview this week and will have it for you by Wednesday. And we got a new segment on the blog coming soon, the “Rashard Carruth story of the Week”….watch for it….