So if you were like me, about halfway through the UK-UL game you said to yourself, “so when is Midnight Madness again”? Yes nothing makes the heart grow fonder for UK basketball, trouble and all, than a good dose of UK football (I kid because I love). Thus to get you ready, lets set up three big storylines for the month of September:
(1) Can Kentucky Survive the early visits of its big targets?: The Kentucky staff seems to be taking the strategy that it will invest its time on a big show at Midnight Madness. Kentucky has invited Patrick Patterson, Jai Lucas, AJ Stewart and possibly a few other 07 recruits and may even see visits from Scotty Hopson, Darius Miller, Bud Mackey and other in-state 08 recruits. This is, in my opinion a good strategy, but September has to make Cats fans a bit nervous as these 07 kids see other schools first. Patterson has a visit this weekend to Florida (to see the Gators get their rings) and then to Duke later in the month. Jai Lucas begins his whirlwind tour for the next few weekends and AJ Stewart will likely be hitting the road as well.
If at the end of the month, all of these guys are STILL uncommitted, then September is a success. It is likely that none of the above players will commit to KENTUCKY in the month of September (maybe Stewart, but he first needs an offer), but the hope is that none will cast their lot elsewhere. If on the first of October, I am writing my keys to October and these players are still available (which they should be), then September was a success.
(2) AJ Stewart and Marshall Moses: One, both or neither? Probably the most fascinating current storyline to me is the AJ Stewart, Marshall Moses, small forward recruiting by Kentucky. At this time, AJ Stewart has no offer….for reasons that I simply dont understand. Tubby has an in home visit for AJ on September 19th, where it is thought he may offer a scholarship (if that is the plan, it should already be done….but I have said that before). Then AJ is scheduled to be at March Madness. Marshall Moses has a scholarship offer for 08, but with his decision to reclassify to 07, it is clear that Kentucky is interested but whether the scholarship offer is still there is slightly murky.
I have talked to both young men a number of times. I think BOTH not only would like to come to Kentucky, I think there is even a chance that they would commit NOW if the circumstances were right. I certainly hope that the next few weeks see Kentucky clearing up whatever the situation is here with these two kids. A commitment by either (or in a perfect world, both) would be a GREAT start to the 07 class and relieve a bit of the stress going into October.
(3) What about the in-state kids? Kentucky has significant interest in two in-state players, Stephon Pettigrew and Jeff Brooks. Both of these kids are forwards (on the big side) and both are rising in stock. Neither of the players is a top-level recruit, but both would end up being solid members of a class. At this point, neither has an offer (the stories are mixed on Pettigrew, but at this time no offer seems more correct), but Kentucky has shown strong interest in both. Will Kentucky offer either kid this month? Would either commit if offered? My guess is that Pettigrew would and Brooks might hold off. If you start to see more kids fall off the board in September, I could see these guys (at least one of them) getting an offer. My assumption is that Kentucky wants one, but not both, of these guys as part of their class….hopefully to add with Patterson. Who gets the offer and when will be intriguing.
There are other stories such as the fact that JJ Hickson will be taking an unofficial and the likely emergence of new targets. But these are the three stories to keep an eye on. At the end of this month, all three will be clearer, as will the prospects for the recruiting year as a whole.
Watch tomorrow night for the Week 1 results of the KSR “Choose or Lose” Challenge and the next week schedule. KSR Episode 3 is coming Wed night.