I was talking with a friend of mine last weekend and he asked me the now ubiquitous question, “what do you think Patterson and Lucas are going to do?” In the long 28 years of my life, I believe that question may be the most often asked question towards me ever, surpassing even the old high school favorite, “are you ever going to get rid of those glasses and get contacts?” I responded to my friend that in many ways, the Patterson/Lucas saga has become a part of my life in ways that I would never have believed over two years ago when I threw out Jai’s name for the first time in a post about point guard prospects for the future. The Lucas/Patterson question becomes the way that virtually everyone that I know informally relates to me. Fellow lawyers, acquaintances and even maintanence men use the question to pass the awkward time riding the elevator or seeing each other after many years in a local watering hold. As a matter of fact, I often wonder if when people see me on the street, they intrinsically see the words “Patterson and Lucas” tattooed on my forehead so that it comes immediately to their minds.
But I must admit, even with that constant reminder of the guys, I find myself with mixed emotions as we head to their decisions next week. It is not an exaggeration to say that these two young men have helped fuel the rise of this blog in the last year. I did a search recently and only the name “Tubby Smith” has been written more on this blog than “Jai Lucas” (Patterson is fourth to Woo by the way). The initial podcasts of Kentucky Sports Radio were helped greatly by early interviews with the kids that were then linked all over the internet. Patterson and Lucas is often a default blog topic as both guys have always been available for interviews and are a topic that will ALWAYS garner the most hit counts (no matter how much people say they are tired of the question). I think it is not an exaggeration to say that these two young men may be the most talked about recruits in UK history and are known more by the common fan than any two players ever that were not from the state of Kentucky. That is a strong statement, but one that is actually likely to be true.
In addition, these are two guys who are also great young men. Patrick is much quieter and more reserved, but he has never hesitated to answer every question respectfully and has agreed to do any interview at any time we have requested. His mother and father are interesting people who have enjoyed this process and are also always available for conversations. And as for Jai, well in my time doing this, he is by far my favorite kid whose recruitment I have followed. From the days last summer when he did the “Shoulder Lean” with Mosley to his countless times pitying the fools on the Sports Mob, Jai is the total package…..a smart kid with tons of personality and a whole lot of game. Whatever school gets him will get a guy the university can really be proud of.
Having said all of this however, like most of you, I am ready for this saga to end. Someone has brought these two young men up to me almost every day since August and it will be nice to hear the names move to Miller, Warren, Osby, etc in the near future. However what happens in the next two weeks could have serious, long-term implications for UK. If Billy Clyde somehow pulls both young men to the Bluegrass state, the Cats are immediately in position to ROLL For the next five years. With Patterson’s inside presence, Jai’s point guard skills and recruiting ability…..UK could make a statement….none louder than the fact that Billy Clyde won two McDonalds All Americans over in a matter of weeks. If they dont go to Kentucky, that will be a speedbump to the path onward and upward, but not a huge one. We all can believe that if Billy Clyde had a little more time (as he will with the 08 guys), he would have locked them up.
In the end, as Jai’s announcement comes for Monday and Patrick for Wednesday, I am looking forward to it but it is also a bit disconcerting. What will we talk about now when nothing else is going on? Will random strangers ask me what these kids are doing from now on, even if it is at another school? Will Chris Tomlin be able to keep his life size Jai Lucas poster in his wife’s closet? These questions still remain as Kentucky Sports Radio watches its proud first batch of recruits head down that aisle. Whatever happens, we will follow Jai and Patrick’s career (and that of Marshall Moses) and will always remember that we knew them when they would each make fun of Hubby off the air.
And oh yeah…..as to where they are going? With Jai, I have a good idea…..with Patrick, I couldnt tell you if my life depended on it. But Chris Tomlin is leaning Xavier….