So today was an exciting one in UK land as DeAndre Liggins, the #18 ranked player in America by Rivals.com and the #26 player by Scout.com committed to the University of Kentucky. It was a big get by Coach Billy Gillispie and was proof once again of his amazing recruiting prowess. At this point, Gillispie has been on the job for a little over two months and has brought in 5 recruits that were Top 40 guys in their class. Liggins followed the lead of Alex Legion, by visiting on campus and then realizing that Kentucky was the place he wanted to be, even in the process shunning Memphis, which had long been thought to be his leader. To give you an idea of how much ground Kentucky made up, when I spoke with Liggins at the Tournament of Champions, he mentioned Kentucky to me fifth on his list of schools and almost even forgot to mention them at all saying, “and oh yeah, Kentucky too.” A month later, he is a Cat.
Liggins is a versatile player that is unlike virtually anyone else in the class. He is 6’6″, but a ball handler….more of a classic point forward, a la Scottie Pippen. He can bring the ball up and set up for his other teammates (thus able to play point) and this is how he is generally used in high school. Liggins believes that he will come in and replace Ramel Bradley, and he may very well do that. However he also has the ability to step out and play the wing, and he (like Derrick Jasper) can be a great big guard in a potential four guard lineup. He is a top-notch defender and penetrator who has no problem getting to the basket. He is not however a great shooter and it will be this skill that will be interesting to watch as the year develops. He compliments Alex Legion very well and the two of them have UK set for some time in the future at the wing position.
Is there any downside. Well not really, although I do admit that Liggins was not my favorite player in the class. I am not a huge fan of guys who struggle with their shot as I generally believe that a player never really “develops” a jump shot, and their natural instincts by this point in their career tend to be their base skills as they go onto college. However Liggins is not a bad shooter, so if it improves at all, he could be a dominant player. In addition, I admit to being enamored with Willie Warren, Rotnei Clarke and Darius Miller….and at this point, it is hard to forsee a scenario where all three will be on UK’s roster. Liggins however is an AAU teammate of Tyler Zeller and that connection cant hurt in trying to get the big guy on campus.
All in all, a great pickup for the Cats and another testament to Billy Clyde as a recruiter. Today we talked about Liggins on the Sports Mob and the link below is some audio of our conversation with Marc Maggard about Liggins and other UK targets. In addition, we talk the news of the day, and even a little wrestling. Listen up. The videos below are also of Liggins (#34 in most games) and you can see his game for yourself. Leonard Washington joins the Mob today at 6 pm, so be ready for that. And look for more news throughout the day……