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So just who is this Draymond Green kid anyway?

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Well as the Kentucky world was focused on watching the sky fall and wondering whether Big Baby had gotten on the LSU plane, a surprise occurred and Kentucky got its first 2008 commitment, 6’7″ 225 pound forward Draymond Green out of Saginaw, Michigan. The news came as a surprise to most but is the culmination of a long series of efforts for Green by this Kentucky staff…..efforts that began as long ago as last summer when recruiting teammate Josh Southern. Kentucky established an early relationship (a problem in the past), followed up with an early visit to a big game (in this case Florida) and then got a much-needed early commitment. Textbook recruiting….at least as it has been practiced by other top programs in recent years.

So what exactly did UK get? Well, for one thing, they got a bruising, physical forward who can put points on the board…..averaging 25 a game this season for the #1 team in Michigan. I have seen Green play once, although I admit to not focusing on him in that game, and remember a kid who was aggressive with a smooth jumper. Going through some old notes, I found that I had written this at the time….”Impressive frame….nice jumper….decent low-post moves….knack for the ball.” In the recruiting ranks, I had many people tell me that missing out on Josh Southern was not all that bad for UK and more than once I was told, “there is a player on his team better.” That player is Green. I have been told on two occasions that he is the best player in Michigan. One evaluation I read said:

“Day Day” is the most well rounded and in my opinion the best high school player in Michigan.I will take production over potential any day, and every night Day Day produces. Tonight he accounted for 13 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, and 5 blocks. Should blow up nationally after the AAU Season. Boston College will be offering soon as well as Michigan. Michigan State is still recruiting him, but they are waiting to see what 6’7 JR All-American CF Delvon Roe from Lakewood, OH/St. Edwards will do, who is their top target for the 2008 class. Kentucky flew in to see him at the game {Tubby Smith} and he will be going to their game against Florida, next weekend with his AAU Coach Norm Oden and High School Coach Lou Dawkins.

Another opinion from a Michigan St. poster on Rivals.com who I have communicated with in the past:

Great Lakes Hoops only ranks players in mid-Michigan. Detroit is excluded as is the west side of the state. That being said, Green is potentially an absolute STEAL for Kentucky and at worst it’s a good pickup. I’ve seen him play a couple times and the kid is a baller. High IQ and has the rare ability to see plays before they develop. The main reason MSU didn’t offer is because Izzo only has 2 scholarships available for 2008 and he’s waiting for (similarly sized) Delvon Roe to make his decision before he offers anything to anyone else. Day Day’s undersized power forward status (he’s listed anywhere from 6’5″ to 6’7″) probably played a small role in that as well…but if this kid grows just a couple of inches (he is just 16 or 17) his name will be known nationwide prior to him stepping foot on Kentucky’s campus.

In all honesty, he’s not particularly fast end to end and he doesn’t have an eye-popping vertical and he still has some baby fat to burn off but he can just flat out play. He’s easily the best passing forward in the state of Michigan. I believe he’s had at least 2 triple doubles already this year. And consider this, he’s the best player on the best team in the highest class in the state. That right there has got to say something.

As a MSU grad I’m kind of glad that Michigan didn’t get their hands on Green. He’s the kind of talent that has the potential to just explode on the national scene over a single summer. It would’ve pained me to see a kid like him (who MSU could’ve had) develop and then go on to bite my team in the @$$ for the next four years.

Nice get Cats and good luck.

So what about his star ranking? Many have been obsessed with the fact that he is only a consensus three star player. AT this point, I think that ranking is rather irrelevant. The true evaluations by the scouting services that matter will begin during this AAU season….that is when the focus completely shifts to 08 and the players are matched up against each other. It will be interesting to see where things shake out with Green, especially as opposed to other supposed UK targets like Ed Davis and Kevin Jones. One would think this commitment makes it is less likely these players end up at UK and likely the end of the run for the UK-Teeng Akol connection (thankfully).

When all is said and done, we wont know anything for sure about this commitment until the summer. But there are reasons to be optimistic. First, the kid is a scorer. Remember that he is averaging more points per game than Perry Stevenson, Patrick Patterson, JJ Hickson and others did in high school….on a team ranked first in the state. That is good. Second, from all indications he is a great kid who WANTS TO BE AT KENTUCKY. We have seen this year how much the Cats need heart and this kid is excited to be here. He was ready to commit at his visit but Tubby wanted to meet his parents and was impressed when he saw them…..that is a good sign in my book.

Finally, the 08 class will be small but crucial. Green is a good start and one that in a few months may be seen as great. He had offers from Boston College, Indiana and Xavier and was likely to get an offer from Michigan and Michigan State. If Green is combined with Darius Miller and Kenny Frease, the 08 class will be very good…..which would be important for the program going forward. All in all, I am pleased with this news today. Green takes away some 08 options, but it locks up a good one….and as we have seen this year, sometimes that is very important, especially early. Kentucky fans should be cautiously optimistic at this point…..wait and see how the summer develops and then make a final evaluation….but for now, the fans should be happy. This kid is the best player in a state that produces a lot of great ones.

Article written by Matt Jones