Since Chad Gray took his controversial transcript and went home, the power forward position has once again been left open. It goes without saying that with Bobby Perry, Sheray Thomas, WOOOOO and possibly Morris gone at the end of the year, getting big men in the 07 class is CRUCIAL. People often ask what the story is with these guys, but since August is basically a dead period, very little will happen in the coming weeks. Thus I thought it might be good to do a quick rundown of how Kentucky stands with some of the Big Men recruits for next year. We will do have today (focusing on the big targets) and half tomorrow:
Patrick Patterson —- The 07 discussion of course begins with Patrick Patterson. Now the picture above is not of our Patrick Patterson but rather the new Seattle Systems Inc. Vice President for Orthapedic Technology Patrick Patterson, but the principle still applies. He is a star. Due to Patterson’s explosive summer, he has moved up in all the recruiting rankings, going as high as number 12 in one.
From my source on this one (and it is good in this case), Kentucky is still the presumptive leader. Patterson will do five visits this fall and three of those are certain, Kentucky, Wake Forest and Florida. It is likely that the other two will be Duke and Carolina, although Virginia, Louisville and UCONN are still possibilities. Tubby Smith has followed this kid like a bloodhound and Kentucky literally has done everything it can. The selection will come down to the visits, but ultimately the final decision will be Kentucky and somebody. The best analogy I can give on this one is that Kentucky has pocket Aces in a multiple player pot. They are still the favorite over any other individual team, but over all the teams together…..too close to call.
Julian Vaughn Now if you were asking me what player is the most likely to join Kentucky in 07, I think today I would point you to Julian Vaughn. The Virginia big man has always had a soft spot in his heart for the Triangle schools, but their focus has been elsewhere, thus causing Vaughn to choose between Pitt, Florida St, Va and Va Tech. But when Kentucky recently offered, his tone has changed. Sources tell me this will be the FIRST recruiting visit of the year and that pre-visit, Vaughn is enamored with the Cats as top choice. Unlike with Patterson, where the Cats have been there the longest and they are trying to hold off new arrivals, here Kentucky is the new arrival and needs to win over the older choices. If I were a betting man, I see Vaughn as piece 1 of the 07 class.
Josh Southern A player whose likelihood of attending Kentucky has risen exponentially in the last few weeks is Josh Southern. The Michigan product was long thought to be likely headed to either the Wolverines or Spartans, but recently expressed that Miami, Kentucky, Tennessee, Boston College and Wake Forest would be getting his visits. Most sources in the know say that Southern likes Miami, UK and UT best and some even say that UK could be the leader in the clubhouse. Southern may be one notch down in talent from Patterson and Vaughn, but UK would be VERY happy to get him aboard.
Marcus and Markief Morris The most bizarre of the 07 recruits are the twins, Marcus and Markief Morris. Just a few weeks ago at Nike Camp, one coach told me that he could see a Kentucky commitment on these kids within a few months. Since then, rumors have flown that they may even prep and be members of the 08 class. Either way, the Morris twins are on the UK radar and they could be in a battle with Indiana, Lasalle (the hometown Philly school), St Josephs and a number of other schools for their services. Exactly no one I know has been able to speak with these guys, so their intentions are unknown. But expect both to continue to rise in the rankings, and if paired with Patterson or Vaughn, would be nice additions to the class.
Anthony Randolph — I put Randolph in this mix only to not the bizarre circumstances of his recruitment. Once thought to be contemplating all the top schools in the country, Anthony has now seen his recruitment head in an odd direction. In Raleigh in May he told me that his top choices were Duke, UNC, Louisville, Kentucky and UCONN. Recently a source close said it is between “Memphis and Cincinnati, although he still also likes Kentucky.” That is an odd group of schools and rumors are flying about Memphis and the possibility of some dirty tactics in play. Either way, there could be a Memphis commit very soon. But watch out…..there are some forces in this kid’s life wanting to push him from the Memphis-type experience and if that happens, UK is a player again.
Tomorrow I will go with some of the lesser names and a bit longer shots. What to watch for is this…..if UK gets TWO of these guys, it is a GREAT haul. If they get ONE of these guys plus one of the guys mentioned tomorrow, folks should be happy. Strike out on all, and it will be a tough class, unless long shot JJ Hickson (who we will discuss tomorrow) comes aboard.