I’m going to start with a selfish moment. I got to spend a while talking to one of my childhood idols today, one of the biggest NCAA recruits of all time, Ralph Sampson. One of my earliest vivid memories is crying while listening to Ralph Sampson announce for UVA. I actually recounted that story to Ralph today and he apologized (tounge in cheek of course).
Now, back to stuff you guys may actually care about….
As I’ve reported already, Rotnei Clarke is visiting UK around the 28th/29th. I spoke to him on a number of occassions and at one point asked him if there was any chance that he may verbal to UK during his visit, to which he replied, “I don’t know….I’ve had a lot of people say that I’d get up there (to UK’s campus) and not want to come home…I’m not ruling anything out.”
Rotnei was among a number or normally great shooters that were off early but started hitting shots late in the camp. I can only assume that the large arena may have had something to do with the poor shooting percentage until the players got adjusted to shooting in an ambient environment. The other unusual factor was the platoon style substitutions mandated by the NBAPA camp. Each team had 2 squads that played exactly half of each game. Most of these kids are the go to guys from their teams and are not used to sitting for 10 minute stretches.
Rotnei’s competition for the PG spot in 2008 is Dashan Harris, who had a poor scoring camp, but as a pass first PG with lockdown D, he was effective. His father sought me out and our discussion gave me a clue as to what’s important to Dashan. His dad was curious to know if UK would be pushing the ball up the court, which is where Dashan is most effective as a scorer who can get to the rim in transition. He also mentioned that Dashan had talked to Acie Law who gave glowing reviews about coach Gillispie. Finally, he revealed that he felt Dashan would be taking some time to before verballing to a program. This makes me think that Rotnei may beat him to the punch…
Tyler Zeller played VERY well and averaged almost 12 points per game (equal to 24 pts per in regular style game). He showed more of the same aggressive style of play that he’s known for against some of the top post players in the class. He still has the same 9 schools listed and intends to cut to 5 by August. Other than continued great play, there is little to report.
Unofficial visits are not allowed during the month of July, so expect to see a surge of visits to UK before July 1st. I fully expect that Leonard Washington will visit shortly as well as a number of 2009-2010 players.
I hear that the leading candidate for the 3rd assistant position is a high profile assistant from an SEC school in the southern part of the conference. I can only assume this would be Phil Cunningham from Miss St. Add him to the list that also includes Jeff Kidder and Mike Mennega (and 2 other names). It’s only a short time till the final choice will be made, although a public announcement may not be forthcoming.
Andre Clark is OUT for UK. He listed 10 schools and UK was not one of them two days ago. I actually asked him today about the conspicuous absence and he said that UK is not one of his schools and he is not planning to visit.
Leonard Washington is IN for UK. He gets out of summer school on July16 (or close to it) and if he gets his grades, the smart money would be that he attends UK and joins Patrick Patterson in the post as a freshman in 2007. His game is in the style of a Charles Barkley and height is not a factor in his post play. He is a matchup nightmare due to his ability to drag bigger 4’s out to the perimeter and shoot or drive around them. For a smaller guy, he is very powerful and athletic and his crafty scoring ability makes him a prolific scorer. He also has the kind of motor that Billy Gillispie demands from his players.
Darius Miller came alive the last half of the NBA camp. He is the kind of player who lets the game come to him regardless of his production or lack thereof. He never forces anything, but is quick to capitalize when an opportunity presents itself. His 9 ppg average had him in the top tier of scorers for the camp and it was an efficient manner in which he scored. His jumper was silky smooth and he seemed to glide to the rim with ease when necessary. His father, Morehead State alum, Brian Miller, talked with me on a number of occasions, but gave away little insight into his recruitment. I will say that those close to UK are happy with their position with this recruit.
Olek Czyz got a late invite to the NBA camp and elected to simply rest up for the strenuous July schedule.
www.ukuncensored.com and Kentucky Sports Radio