I have had a really long week and am about to fall over, so we are going to make this quick. Here is the roundup on coaching and UK news from the past 24 hours.
(1) Rumors abound that Mark Few of Gonzaga will be part of some type of “interview” process this weekend with UK. I have heard this from multiple people, but none I believe with any real insight into the situation. A couple of national media people have told me that if they were betting, Few would be their horse. Andy Katz continues to insist he is second on the UK depth chart. I dont hear that from anyone involved with the program, but the national media believe it……which suggests to me that this is what was told to them back when Mitch Barnhart was talking…..which is not now.
(2) Local media people (who likely are a little more plugged in) continue to say that Jay Wright is the likely second choice. As many know, Wright is my candidate if Donovan says no and I think he would be a great fit. My best source on the matter continues to tell me Rick Barnes is the number two target, but I would prefer to be wrong. There have been conversations with UK and Wright (or his people) and I think he is a serious contender. But Barnes has some buzz around him, even though I think he lacks in coaching. For whatever its worth, my coaching list would go like this:
Then a big drop off of the names mentioned
I dont have Calipari or Gillispie on the list due to their new deals, although if they were available they would both be ahead of Barnes in my view. I continue to hold out belief that there may be folks off the radar that no one is talking about who could be considered.
(3) I have heard the rumor that many of you have emailed to me about John Pelphrey coming to UK as Billy’s assistant. Of all the stories I have heard, this one would shock me the most. You leave major college programs as an assistant to become a coach at a smaller school and move up…..not the other way around. Pelphrey leaving a coaching gig where he has been to the NCAA Tournament to become an assistant would be unprecedented……and HIGHLY unlikely in my view.
(4) As for the question of whether Donovan will come, I think it has become a virtual split decision. Those around Lexington continue to tell me a definitive yes. The folks I talk to in Florida believe a definitive no. The national media seems split. The two people who I know who know Donovan well both tell me the same thing…..they dont know. They think he hasnt made up his mind and will do so after the tournament. I think these folks know what they are talking about and I believe that is the status at this point…..on hold.
(5) Still hearing very little on the transfer wire. Only Derrick Jasper is really considered a possibility but I am told that all players are open to coming back if the new coaching staff does the correct selling job.
(6) Last night Patterson and Lucas both told me that they had not spoken with Mitch Barnhart. I have learned tonight that Mitch has either contacted or attempted to contact both sets of parents. That makes me feel better after being a bit concerned with the kids’ comments.
(7) Finally, UK will play in next year’s Coaches vs Cancer Classic as its preseason tournament. The Cats will play two home games against in a four team regional in Lexington and if they win, move onto Madison Square Garden. Their likely opponents there will be Oklahoma, UCONN and Memphis, all of whom will also be hosting mini-regionals. Would be a nice early New York homecoming for Billy, eh?
More as Friday progresses…….now I am off to sleep….finally!