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Tidying Up the Office After A Coaching Change

When Billy Gillispie departed from Lexington this spring, he left behind an office full of Dr. Pepper cans, peanut butter cracker wrappers, and a black book full of fake phone numbers given to him by college co-eds the past couple years. He also left a list of recruits for John Calipari’s staff to sift through. When a new coach takes over, one of the first things on his to do list is to call up recruits from his previous job and also to call recruits that were previously linked to his new University by the former staff. Before I left for the NBA Camp, I listed a few of the names that I felt like fit into that category. Now, after being able to talk to those recruits, I can give you a better idea on who survived the coaching change and who was left behind.

Tarik Black

Tarik is a recruit that was being targeted by Calipari’s staff while at Memphis. He was not receiving any interest from the Gillispie staff, to the best of my knowledge. Now that Calipari is in the right shade of blue, Tarik is getting some interest from Kentucky. He told me that he had just received a phone call from Coach Antigua about a week before the NBA camp and that an offer was on the table. Tarik isn’t planning on making a decision anytime soon, as he made apparent while joking “Yeah, I’m definitely more of a spring signer.” That should leave Calipari and his staff plenty of time to get reacquainted with Tarik now that they are in Lexington.

Justin Martin

This is a bit of an odd case. He is not really a carryover, but is more of a new addition to the radar. Martin had already picked UL over other schools, including Kentucky and Memphis, when Calipari arrived in Lexington. Now that Martin has reopened his recruitment, Calipari and his staff are reconnecting with the prospect who they had once recruited. He has offers from Arizona, Miami and Xavier but noted that other schools are just now wanting to come see him play and may offer afterwards. Those interested schools include Memphis, Kentucky, Florida, DePaul, Notre Dame and Oklahoma. When I asked him whether the UK/UL rivalry would put a barrier between him and Kentucky, he laughed “Its totally what’s best for me, it doesn’t matter, if they wanna start booing or whatever, its just what’s best for me.” Martin and his high school teammate, Dominique Ferguson, have thrown around the idea of playing together, but Martin said that they are both pretty set on doing their own thing at the next level. The rumor is that Martin will eventually pick Arizona and Sean Miller, who was very involved with Martin while at Xavier.

Stacey Poole

Stacey is the son of a former Florida Gator and a natural athlete and scorer. He was amongst the top scoring performers at the NBA camp and is easily amongst some of the best built athletes in his age group. Stacey had received some interest from the Gillispie staff but, apparently, the UK interest died when Calipari arrived. He holds offers from Indiana, Florida, Clemson, Xavier and South Carolina, and is also getting interest from Oklahoma and North Carolina. Kentucky is not currently involved in his recruitment, although that could all change after they get wind of his performance at the NBA Camp.

Phil Pressey

Pressey was a top target at the point guard position for Billy Gillispie, who hoped to continue tapping the Texas pipeline with Pressey. None of the former Kentucky staff have contacted Pressey since leaving, but Calipari’s staff may be trying to get involved. Pressey said that he believed that the staff had contacted his coach but he has yet to speak to them personally. That makes the situation worth watching, although it may be a little too late in the process. Pressey said he plans on narrowing his list after the AAU season and hopes to make a final decision toward the end of fall.

Casey Prather

Prather had marvelous performance during the championship game at the NBA camp and made a great overall effort to raise his stock during the camp. The Tennessee native was receiving major interest from Gillispie’s staff but on the interest from Calipari’s staff, Prather said “Not so much anymore. I think they’ve got who they want.”  In response to the obvious follow up, Prather said he wasn’t sure who they had but did notice that they had cooled off in their recruitment of him. He is receiving interest and offers from many schools and will eventually shave it down to the winner by the beginning of his high school basketball season. Much like Poole, I wouldn’t be surprised to see UK’s interest in Prather go up a little bit after his camp performance.

Cameron Clark

Cameron is another Texas product that Gillispie was hoping to pull out of Big 12 country. Calipari continued showing him the UK love once he got settled in Lexington. Cameron told me that UK is “still very involved” in his recruitment. Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas, Memphis, Kansas, UCLA and USC are other schools that Cameron said he is hearing from. The entire list, except for Texas, has confirmed offers on the table waiting for Cameron. He was supposed to visit Texas a couple weeks ago but told me that he didn’t get the chance to make it out there. No reason was given. Cameron also plans on visiting Arizona and Arizona State, along with his AAU teammate Phil Pressey, in the coming weeks.

Other recruiting notes:

– In an interview with DevilsDigest.com, 2010 shooting guard Anthony Brown noted that he is receiving interest from the Kentucky staff. The 6’6″ Brown is ranked as the #12 shooting guard, according to Scout.com. If you remember way back when I attended the Adidas May Classic, I told you how Brown absolutely took it to Dominique Ferguson’s SYF Players. Of course, Dominique received top billing for the showdown, but the crowd was left asking “Who’s that kid on the other team?” That kid was Anthony Brown and I’m very excited about UK’s involvement with him. He is from California and gave Devils Digest his top 5 as UCLA, Washington, Stanford, Arizona and Arizona State. Arizona, Arizona State, Stanford, USC and Virginia are already on board with offers. Georgetown and Gonzaga are also showing interest. Hopefully he will attend the Lebron James Camp this coming weekend and I can get some more information out of him.

– Here’s a few names to watch for in the future from the Fab Frosh Camp in Lexington.  Darryl Hicks of Shelbyville had 11 points in the Allstar matchup and performed well in the three point shooting contest. Hicks finished 4th in scoring for the camp. Rodney Purvis is a scoring point guard who finished amongst the top 5 for scoring at the camp. He is also a friend and former AAU teammate of John Wall. Nigel Williams-Goss showed why many think he is #1 player in his class. He had three different 30 point scoring games and finished #1 in scoring at the camp, outscoring the 2nd highest point getter by 19 points.’

– A name we haven’t heard from in awhile, Marquis Teague, spoke to Insidetheville.com and told them that his recruiting process may extend into the fall. Like I’ve said before, the longer this plays out, the better for UK. Kentucky and Coach Calipari got a late jump on Teague and are trying to work their way into his good graces. Teague also noted that Cal’s staff is trying to get him in for a visit. We’ll see how this one progresses but any news of an extension is good news in my mind.

Article written by Dustin Rumbaugh

I enjoy basketball, Kentucky sports and extremely short walks on the beach, followed by a nap. Sorry ladies, I'm taken.