That picture above is a picture that may one day be put in the archives of UK lore, as it shows the past and the present, and the beginning of the new era of Kentucky basketball. Or it could one day be an oddity, sort of like the picture of Elvis Presley shaking hands with Richard Nixon, where we all wonder how in the world that happened. It will all depend on the decisions of the next few weeks. What is clear however is that there are going to be a lot of things happening very quickly over the next couple of weeks. It should be fairly exciting and we hope to be your site for all the big news.
And by the way, thanks to all of you who have written us and congratulated the site for the AJ Stewart story. The last 48 hours is why we got into this in the first place and what makes it worthwhile. We hope to keep it up. Now onto the news……
UPDATE Morris Twins to prep school. Will still visit UK but are not going to be part of the 07 class according to Victoria Sun. Interesting development indeed.
(1) So less than 12 hours after digesting the AJ Stewart commitment, the next question on everyone’s minds was, “what about Patrick Patterson? And that is a good question….unfortunately it is one that I dont think anyone has a good answer for. I spoke tonight with Patrick’s father, who is quite a character and always full of interesting comments. He told me that “Patrick could not have had a better time” and that the visit “exceeded everyone’s expectations.” He mentioned the chance to get to meet with the team members (who he characterized as a “family”), the explanation of the academic support for the players and the great interactions with the fans as the highlights of Patrick’s trip. He said that they plan to take BOTH the visits to Virginia and Wake Forest and then make a decision. However according to Patterson’s father, that decision could be to pick a school, or to narrow it to three and wait until later in the year. It just depends on how things go.
None of this is really a surprise. The Pattersons have mastered the poker face and they continue along that way now. However after talking with a number of sources about the recruitment, here is how I think it currently stands (and this is as close to a prediction as you will ever see me give). I think that Patterson was heavily leaning Florida before he came to Lexington. Prior to his visit to Gainesville it was a UK-Duke race, but he was blown away by the time in Florida and in comparing that to Duke, Florida was the choice. I think however UK made up whatever ground it lost this weekend. He LOVED being around the UK fans and the chance to play with two guys that have become his friends in Lucas and Stewart is really appealing to him. I personally think it is a tossup between Florida and UK at this point. I dont want to say Duke is out, because wiht K you never know……but he has work to do. After speaking with sources close to Pat, UK and his fellow recruits, that is my take and I think it is a fair representation of how things stand. We shall see….
(2) Spoke tonight with Marshall Moses who told me that he is postponing his visit to UK until NEXT weekend. The reason for this postponement is a family situation that has NOTHING to do with his interest in UK. The postponement is from his end, not UK’s. He said he was in Indiana last weekend, but he was filming a “Christian Dunking Documentary” (which I did not completely understand, but apparently is done by a group that combines religion and basketball). He STILL has no more visits scheduled but UK and once again, he spoke of his interest in Kentucky in a glowing way. He said he heard about AJ Stewart’s commitment earlier today and he “couldnt wait to talk with him about it.”
(3) Also got an update from Chris Barnes, who will announce his decision on Thursday as part of his school’s homecoming. He said that he is down to two schools in his head, one of which is UK and the other of which he would not tell me. He said he knows where he is leaning but still “has not made the final decision.” He said all of his visits have been good, but “one really stood out.” We shall see and the Barnes saga should be the big news of the next couple of days.
(4) As you may have heard, Gary Clark a shooting guard who was committed to Florida, backed out of his commitment today and has decided to reopen his recruiting process. I talked to Clark’s father today, just on a hunch, and he told me that Gary was considering “three to four schools, all in the Southeast.” When I asked if Kentucky was one, he said, “oh yeah, for sure. Now that AJ is there that is becoming a real option.” I am not sure to what extent UK needs a shooting guard, or if the interest is mutual, but this is an interesting story to follow. AJ and Gary played AAU ball together and this de-committal had been rumored for a while. The only other school I have heard mentioned with Gary is Florida St, but we should keep an eye on this one in the next week or two.
(5) Finally, I am happy to see the excitement with which many are taking the AJ Stewart commitment. Folks, I think Stewart is a GREAT pickup and the only reason he is not ranked higher is because of his status on a strong team that leads to individual production being diminished. I was a HUGE fan of this kid when I saw him last year and I expect him to have a Jodie Meeks-like senior season. For those who gripe and moan about where he is ranked, my advice is to simply grow up. No offense to those who rank recruits, but it is an unscientific process. As I will go into more detail in the coming weeks, the top 20 players in America are obvious (and Patterson is one), but once you get past that, it is completely subjective and the line between 21 and 121 is a grey one. I have seen all the top kids this year play……and some do DEFINITELY stand out. But once you get past that group, what the six or seven guys who make these rankings think, is truly subjective. I trust Dave Telep, Bob Gibbons, etc, BUT they are taking their three to four observations of kids that have a hairline of talent difference and making a rating out of it.
What matters much more is whether a kid has the talent, work ethic and skill set to fit in at a particular program. AJ is a talent…..and one that wants to work hard, likes to play defense and is a coachable kid. Add to that the fact that he is an ATHLETE (something Tubby has not had enough of in recent years) and I think he is a perfect pickup. Sometimes you can debate the worth of a recruit…..Mike Williams is a valid debate (although in hindsight I support the offer)…..but AJ Stewart should be a unanimously hailed recruit.
If you havent yet, take a listen to EPISODE 10, with our recruiting roundup and general mirth and goodness. Keep checking in for more as we get it……