Four big visits occurred this weekend and while none directly involved UK, all of them will have a significant affect UK’s recruiting efforts. One of those visits was Terrence Jones taking an official to his home state of Oregon. Kentucky received a visit from Terrence earlier in the week, for the Blue/White scrimmage, and all indications are that he had a great time. But no matter how good UK may feel after that visit, you still have to respect a visit to a school that will allow a prospect to remain close to his friends and family. Terrence has yet to speak on this visit to Oregon but we’ll let you know how it goes and where Kentucky stands. There is one remaining official visit on his list (UCLA/Nov. 6th) and, barring unofficial visits to Arizona and Kansas, that should be his last. He’ll have all the info he needs at that point and should be able to make a decision this fall.
A recruit that has spoke a bit about his visit so far is Tobias Harris. He remains on UL’s campus until Tuesday but through the great invention that is Twitter, he’s told us a little about what he’s experienced so far. On Sunday he was able to watch the team practice and then hung out with the players, saying “had a great day today chillen with the guys.” This morning he is watching the team go through individual workouts. Harris has officially visited Kentucky, Tennessee and now Louisville. West Virginia is set up for this weekend but he doesn’t know yet whether that will be an official visit or not. Georgia Tech should receive an official visit, while Syracuse and Maryland, the final two schools on his list, have received unofficial visits plenty of times and may receive others before his decision is made in mid-November.
Brandon Knight has finished up his official visit to Kansas. After the visit, his father talked to TheShiver.com and spoke highly of Knight’s interaction with the players, the coaching methods of Bill Self and the Kansas basketball community. He also said that Florida could be getting a visit on November 13th. Knight has also made official visits to Kentucky and Connecticut. Miami and Syracuse are also in the mix and I would expect Syracuse to get one of the official visits before Knight makes any decisions. The young man has a lot of good schools on his list and a lot of schools willing to wait it out for him. Because of that, he has the option of waiting past the November signing date and deciding during the Spring if he feels he needs the extra time.
Lastly, Jelan Kendrick made an official visit to Indiana. He spoke to HoosierNation.com and, of course, noted IU’s history and tradition. He also seems to have a pretty good relationship with Tom Crean, who is obviously making Kendrick a top priority and told him that he could be the leader of the program and talk of the town (which I guess means that the old ladies at the Brown County craft fair will be chatting about Jelan while weaving baskets and knitting blankets). Kendrick doesn’t seem to be in any rush to end his process and it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see him wait until late in the Spring.
Finally, I know that Matt has already written a little about Tipton’s recent corrections, particularly about chanting, but I thought I’d throw in my personal experience with this situation. First off, it’s hard to not be infuriated by this late correction since it comes after Tobias Harris, Kyrie Irving, CJ Leslie, Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb, Michael Gilchrist and Achraf Yacoubou all visited UK during games. It also hurts to read about those same prospects as they react to other schools and the warm receptions they received there.
But in my own personal experience speaking to these prospects, I’ve been able to see how much this sort of thing means to them. I was recently talking to someone close to one of Kentucky’s visitors and I learned that after the visit the prospect had voiced his confusion over why he received different reactions at other schools, saying specifically that the entire crowd it seemed had chanted his name during another visit, but at Kentucky the chants began, remained pretty quiet and died off rather quickly. It seemed that the prospect felt that UK and their fans wanted him at their school but the mild reception that he received just confused him. This of course occurred after Kentucky fans learned that they might be getting the University in trouble recognizing that recruits were in the building. While this prospect said that it wouldn’t sway him either way when making his eventual decision, you’d be pretty naive if you didn’t realize that this sort of thing certainly carries some sort of weight with kids and their thoughts about the school.
So while you have to be glad that Tipton eventually let up on his earlier claim that Kentucky fans were in some way cheating the system (even though that would make all college fans cheaters), you have to be frustrated that it has occurred so late in the process.