I would venture to say that many of the readers of this blog have been Kentucky fans since the first day they can remember. You likely grew up with someone close to you who was a big UK backer and as long as you can remember, you were pulling for the Cats. For you, like me, not rooting for Kentucky as a resident of Kentucky seems bizarre. I mean come on….this is the Big Blue. Everyone you know wears blue t shirts (some a little too old, some a little too tight), but we all stand for the fight song and love Ashley Judd….thats just how it works.
Well maybe not for everybody. While most attention is focused on the 07 recruiting class, an interesting dynamic is developing in the 08 class. For the first time in recent memory, the state of Kentucky has produced three players of major Division I talent and all three have received a scholarship offer from Kentucky. Sounds like a slam dunk right? I mean hey, considering we may only lose three players, recruiting must be done…..well, not so fast my friend.
According to some, two of those kids, Darius Miller of Mason County and Scotty Hopson of Hopkinsville, not only may not be certain to go to Kentucky, they may not even be fans of the program. Now let me preface this by saying, I have no idea who these guys root for in their hearts of heart. Folks from these two areas have been crowding message boards saying that these two young men “dont even like Kentucky”, but I have no way of knowing that. Hopson is originally from Florida, so his connection to the state is a bit weaker (although he did say in a newspaper article recently that he pulls for Kentucky on occasion) and Miller is in an area where some choose to cheer for Cincy or Louisville.
For all I know, both of these kids have blue and white bedrooms. But enough people are saying that these guys look elsewhere for their rooting interests to at least raise a question. It seems like such a no-brainer if you are from the state to love the Cats. But it may be the case that not all feel the same way. In some parts of the state, proximity to Louisville leads them to follow the evil empire. Some parts of the state are on the border of Tennessee or West Virginia and see a Vol or Thundering Herd as part of their future. And some folks remember the legacy of days gone by and (rightly or wrongly) aren’t necessarily eager to pull for the team that was built by Adolph Rupp.
Either way, in 08 it could be the case that you have a rare occurrence. Kentucky kids who Kentucky wants and has shown that affection early….but who still nevertheless either consider, or even go elsewhere. One of the three offers, Bud Mackey of Scott County has all but said that if Tubby is here, he is here. But as for Miller and Hopson, watching how this plays out will be fascinating.
The story goes that when Rex Chapman was being recruited by UNC, Dean Smith walked into Apollo High school and asked a janitor where the gym was located. The janitor asked the Hall of Fame Coach who he was and when Dean said the coach at UNC, the janitor said, “well you might as well not waste your time. He has an offer from Kentucky, why would he all the way down there?” Apocraphyl or not, that story has the chance to be repeated. Will Billy Donovan get the same answer?