We begin today’s post with a tribute to the recent passing of one of America’s most known first ladies in history, Lady Bird Johnson. Johnson is of course best known as the wife off former president Lyndon Baines Johnson, but like so many famous wives, to compact her into simply a subservient role would not be to do her justice. Johnson went from a woman who was awarded her high school class valedictorian prize, only to turn it down for fear of public speaking, to arguably the greatest campaigning First Lady in history. For both the 1960 primary in which her husband lost and the 1964 election in which he won, Lady Bird actually campaigned more than her husband, traveling the country and connecting with Americans in a way in which her husband often struggled. She took this newly found love of public speaking into her role after the White House as the primary spokeswoman for conservation and natural beautification of land. Her work led her to become the official “Flower Lady” of America and she opened the National Wildflower Research Center at the University of Texas, where she once served on the Board of Regents. Even with all that accomplishment however, what was said to stand out about Johnson was her grace and compassion. In an era when politics usually amounts to nothing but name calling and television screaming, Johnson was once called by the elder President Bush as “a picture of dignity.” She passed away at 94 years old, the second oldest First Lady in our nation’s history.
To the news…..
(1) Only on Kentucky Sports Radio would you find a transition from Lady Bird Johnson to Darius Miller, but that is how we roll. Speaking of our man Darius, the JD Salinger of Kentucky recruits has been speculated to be everywhere on his decision-making in the last few weeks as we continue to wait and see what and when he will decide. Two rumors that have come out in recent days that should be dispelled are (1) that Kentucky is no longer interested in Darius. That is categorically untrue…..even though some fans wish Darius would “go ahead and decide” (remember it is only July), UK is still actively pursuing Miller. He has been on campus a number of times this summer and all indications are that Kentucky is recruiting him as hard as any player. The (2) rumor that Miller cooled on Kentucky after the Liggins commitment is also untrue. Miller’s interest in Kentucky is still at a peak and his final choice will include UK. So where does Darius stand? I continue to hear from people close to Darius and Mason County basketball that Miller wants to have a decision by the end of the summer and maybe sooner than that. He hopes to visit his four major choices again (Ky, Ville, Tenn and Ill), but there is no requirement that he do it as he has seen all four before. Darius says publically (and to the Sports Mob) that his decision is not rushed, but I am told that he is keenly aware of Kentucky’s scholarship situation and the potential for a quicker decision. As one person told me, “if Darius needs to pull the trigger, he wont wait.” I ultimately think the Darius lottery will come down to two teams….Kentucky and a second choice. For a long time I assumed that to be UT, but I think UL or Illinois may be that. We shall see, but I do know this. Darius knows that his spot wont be held on forever…..and if he decides UK is the final choice, he wont let time keep him from becoming a Cat.
(2) I am much less positive about Chris Singleton. I spoke with a national recruiting analyst recently who told me that Chris is “likely favoring Tennessee” and that Kentucky and others are trying to just get him to hold off on pulling the trigger as long as possible. Singleton is a great player and Kentucky needs a big guy like him. I prefer Zeller in this class, but I like Singleton a lot…..however on this recruitment, the longer it goes, the better for UK.
(3) I have gotten a lot of emails about Leonard Washington and what his status may be. Originally he had hoped to make a decision last week, but his two main picks, UK and Ole Miss, both are taking a wait and see approach to his academics. Simply put, I am not sure either school wants to take a commitment and then wait for 08. I must say that I am very skeptical about Leonard and all that is going on about his recruitment and the baggage that comes with it. UK could use him, but I wont lose any sleep if they dont get him.
(4) Folks watch out for this Wake Forest recruiting class. Today they get Aminu and Tony Woods…..two Top 20 talents to add to an already committed Top 30 player. Can you say #1 class in America? Give those Deacs A LOT of credit….recruiting great kids to an academic school…..those are the recruits Duke usually gets and Wake took them.
(5) Finally, I spoke with Gregg Doyel and he mentioned on his radio show that the head Coach of Tulane is a possibility for the third assistant job at UK. When I spoke with him, he said an assistant coach of a major program mentioned that as the rumored scuttlebutt on the AAU circuit. I have no idea if its true and I dont think Gregg is endorsing it as true either, just passing on info. I still believe the third job could go to a coach that has inroads on a player, but with this group, you never know.
Look for a detailed pickup game report tomorrow sent to us by a fan and more throughout the day and weekend…..