Another beautiful day today in the Bluegrass (or as my man Rob Gidel would say, a B-E-A-YOUTIFUL day) filled with excitement. Folks seemed to have mixed opinions on the whole decision to put Harold Ford at the top of the Recruiting News from yesterday. It is a very high honor, recently bestowed on Nikita Koloff, the Bushwhackers and now, Skippy, so I understand the sentiment. Some believe that politics and sports should never mix and that I should “shut up and just do sports.” Well seeing as how I am a trained monkey who exists only to please the masses, that is what I will do. But I will tell you that I really am upsetting Jim Webb as he had already told the voters of Virginia that he would lead off the Friday news…..well sorry Jim, the people have spoken. Your spot has been taken by Rue McClanahan…..those are the breaks.
Now onto the news (and views)….
(1) A few sources reported today that Patrick Patterson has postponed his visit this weekend to Virginia due to a minor injury he had this week that caused him to miss some school. Speculation has circulated on the internet (hey what else is the internet for?) that this means he isnt interested in Virginia and folks have tried to decipher the meaning. Well here is a hint folks, he wasnt ever going to Virginia and he is not going to Virginia now. The visit has however been rescheduled to November 11th and that IS important for one big reason. The signing period for recruits is November 8-12 (as I understand it) and thus this visit means that if Patrick wants to sign this fall, he will be making his decision at the very end of the time frame. That likely means that the other big UK targets (Lucas, Anderson and Moses) will have already decided and that Patrick will know those decisions when he pulls the trigger (if he doesnt already….which he likely does). I do expect Patterson to take the visit (especially if his parents say he will) and thus this whole saga will likely drag on a little longer…..just what we need.
(2) I think it is very possible we hear something from Jai Lucas either Sunday or the first of next week. He has already all but said he is skipping out on Oklahoma (which came after telling me on Sunday he was going, which may mean he has now made up him mind) and after the Maryland visit, it is likely he will be ready to pull the trigger. UPDATE Now apparently he will go to Oklahoma….but the fact that he was thinking about not going says enough. While I still like UK’s chances and think they are in the driver’s seat, I DO NOT buy what I have read that he has already given the school a “silent verbal.” I dont think the Lucases would continue visits if that were the case. While I think Jai knows where he wants to go, that is a different scenario than having already committed.
Best scenario for UK: Lucas goes to Maryland and Oklahoma, comes home….decides that he thinks Anderson MAY still consider UK and that Patterson is at least 50/50 UK and decides to go ahead and commit. That commitment does a chicken/egg thing and makes both above scenarios more likely.
Worst scenario for UK: Lucas knows Anderson is going to OSU or Kansas (he has apparently eliminated Arkansas) , feels that Patterson is likely to Florida or Duke and decides to go play for Sutton at OSU. A Lucas commitment to OSU says REALLY bad things for the likelihood of Patrick in Lexington.
It may all be made clear soon…..
(3) Speaking of James Anderson, you remember when we told you that we were hearing that Anderson’s coach didnt want him to visit UK. Well if you read the Rivals.com interview with him today, you would see we were right. Anderson’s coach made clear that James could decide this week and essentially said he hoped that would happen. He said James had interest in visiting UK but the coach “wasnt sure it would work out.” I still have NO IDEA as to why (and cant comment on all the various conspiracy theories) but there is no doubt that for whatever reason, the Coach doesnt want James to take the visit (it may be as benign as he wants him to focus on the high school team). Thus the fact that James is still considering it says that he does have other forces who want him to go. I can tell you definitively that Tubby has been working this HARD in the last few weeks and Jai Lucas has pushed James to take a visit. IF UK gets him on campus, it will be a great accomplishment for the Cats, as James has always had UK on the backburner. And if by chance he comes here, the HUGE assist to a young man in Houston should be remembered.
(4) If you havent yet, scroll down and read the Turkey Hunter’s news on Scotty Hopson. I know his source on this one and there could not be a better one.
(5) Quick word on potential back-up plans if Lucas and Patterson fall through. The plans involve Darnell Gant and Lavoy Allen, but the staff is truly confident they will not need them. The decision to back off Chris Barnes was a calculated gamble. I am not high on the kid, but others were, and the Cats could have had him. But they likely couldnt have had him and Patterson, so letting him go, while smart, is risky. If Patterson gets on campus, or even if the similar (to Barnes) Gant or Allen end up here….then the decision not to take Barnes is forgiven. But if we whiff on all three, then I honestly dont know where the power forward recruit comes from. What likely happens is that you get Moses, Stewart and Stevenson and from those four, the furutre of the power forward position is born. Not a bad future….but not a dominant one…..and at that point you REALLY have to hope Jared Carter because the natural backup plan (a solid Patterson or Stevenson) may have gone away.
But no reason to be negative yet. There is still a good chance it will work out. And if doesnt…..well then we just enjoy the season and see what happens. Recruiting is the lifeblood of internet talk and it dominates a lot of this board….but I still bet 80% of UK fans dont even know who these kids are. The morale of the fan base will be determined by how we do this season….and I am optimistic.
6 days until ESPN Louisville….