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Narrowing the Focus on UK’s 2010 Recruiting, Part III: Big Men

Now that the July evaluation period is over, we can start to narrow the focus on some of the recruits that UK is most serious about getting commitments from. The quickest way to do so is to look at those that CLAIM to have been offered and then, from those, look at who they are making the most “face-time” appearances with. Of those that have not been offered, it is a good indicator to look at how they feel about the school, for example listing them in their top schools or listing them in their “final” lists, and you can get a better feel for how likely they would be to commit if they were offered. For ease of conveyance, I’ll place each player who claims an offer from UK into groups based on the traditional position they are most categorized in, although this may not be where they would play if they were to make it onto UK’s 2010 roster.

We’ll go through this in three different parts. First, its the guards, then the small forwards and, finally, the big men.

Big Men

CJ Leslie: While he could use some work with his jumper and post moves, his athletic ability and length make him a Calipari favorite. I’ve always found him to be very energetic on the floor, in possession of good touch around the rim and able to fly above others on the block for rebounds, especially in transition. His length and vert make him a great defender and shot block extraordinaire. All those skills make him born to play in Calipari’s offense. John Wall is helping recruit his former teammate and CJ told me that UK will be in his top 3 when he makes a firm list. He’ll will be in Lexington at the end of August, with the suggested date being August 22nd, although CJ isn’t completely sure that will be the exact date. The big man will probably visit UK more than once, unofficially, being close friends with Wall. He also plans on being in NY for the UK/UConn match up. Calipari watched him closely and made his presence known in Cleveland. Other schools involved: UNC, NC State (decommitted from here so its your choice whether or not to include them), Tennessee, Wake Forest, Maryland, Florida, Oregon…

Tobias Harris: Tobias is the quintessential face up four but he also has some tricky moves that allow him to survive in the post. His game is so tremendously versatile and he creates so many match up problems that there is not a coach in America who would pass on the opportunity to add him to their roster. Opposing coaches will dread having to match up with him. UK’s involvement is rather new and as his father, Torrel Harris, said in Orlando, really didn’t get serious until about 3 weeks ago. Since that time, Calipari has extended an offer, the Harris family has visited Lexington and they’ve said that UK will receive serious consideration. After the visit, both Tobias and his father seemed very impressed with the University and the coaching staff’s plans for using Tobias in their system. Syracuse, being the “home school”, is obviously going to pull out all the stops and probably won’t be defeated easily. When they were present in Orlando, the UK assistants attended every one of Tobias’ games. UCLA and Florida are trying to get involved late but Torrel isn’t sure about whether or not they will get substantial interest. Other schools involved: Tennessee, Memphis, UConn, Syracuse, WVU, Georgia Tech, Notre Dame…

Tarik Black: Black doesn’t quite have the height of a center but I think his game more closely resembles that of a center. He is extremely hard working down low but can get out in a hurry and run the floor in transition. He’s not much of shooter and doesn’t have the best foot work but he does have the body and athleticism, which can’t be taught. Black claims a ton of offers and really hasn’t made his mind up on who will make his list. UK coaches were in constant attendance at his games in Vegas, but he does also play with Joe Jackson and Jelan Kendrick, so that makes the “face time” tough to gauge. Black is a pretty tough guy to break but he does admit he probably won’t decide until the spring, which explains his lack of specificity. Other schools involved: Xavier, Miami, Alabama, Arkansas, Memphis, Missouri, Ole Miss, Florida, Tennessee…

Adreian Payne: Payne is a lengthy athlete who is very active on the glass. He can run the floor well and his arms could make even the weakest defender automatically ten times better. Payne consistently racks up his points and rebounds in the transition game. His shot isn’t his strongest point and his post moves could use some work but, like most on this list, his athleticism and length are the unteachable characteristics that interest UK.  Payne has visited UK and came away enjoying the visit, although he was unable to see Coach Calipari while there. He recently cut his list down to five, including West Virginia, Kentucky, Kansas, Arizona and Michigan State. While rumors have been flying that he would commit to UK or WVU soon, none of the coaches seemed to be believing them. Bill Self, Tom Izzo, Bob Huggins and various assistants attended his games in Orlando. UK’s assistants were also constantly in attendance.

UK’s keeping an eye on these guys, but has yet to officially offer: Luke Cothron, Terrence Jones, Josh Smith, Dwight Powell.

Article written by Dustin Rumbaugh

I enjoy basketball, Kentucky sports and extremely short walks on the beach, followed by a nap. Sorry ladies, I'm taken.