Couple of quick notes after a great weekend at the KSTV Casting Call, in which we found a lot of good talent and produced some entertaining television (the Stone Cold Willow tryout will have to be seen to be believed):
It can sometimes be a little bit confusing for those that are not recruitniks, to figure out exactly where things stand at a given moment for UK’s recruiting. So here it is in a nutshell. Kentucky would like to add 1-2 more players for the 2012 class. In a perfect world, the Cats would add one more perimeter player and one more big man. However, such a decision comes with complications…most importantly that the Cats expect to be LOADED in the 2013 class. Virtually anyone that were to take a scholarship at this point (with the exception of Anthony Bennett) would not be a potential “One and Done” candidate. Thus, giving a scholarship to a player now could jeopardize a player in 2013…especially if Goodwin, Harrow or Poythress (or all three) ends up a multiple year player. So that math enters into the thought process. As for who UK would get,
Big Man: The Cats are balancing a delicate situation here, with Anthony Bennett the clear top priority. Bennett seems like he will take more time (I dont believe the talk of a “silent verbal” to UK as was speculated this weekend) and while UK feels good about their chances, no one is sure what he will do. In the meantime, Amile Jefferson is still out there, and many believe that he keeps putting off his decision because of his hope that UK will be his choice. If you keep putting Jefferson off as a backup plan, what do you do if he pulls the trigger elsewhere and then Bennett picks Florida? The next choice is probably Montrezl Harrell, the Virginia Tech commit who is now looking elsewhere. His Hargrave coach is now at Louisville (who is in much heavier on Harrell than has been reported), and UK has made contact but has not become heavily involved. If the Cats feel they wont get Bennett or Jefferson decides soon, then Harrell will have heat generated towards him. Bottom line…if you read the story, “UK recruiting Harrell with more intensity”, it means the feeling isn’t as strong on Bennett as it has been.
Perimeter Players: UK’s top choice here is Torian Graham, the former NC State commitment from Raleigh. UK likes his talent and many believe he can be a big time college player. But it isn’t clear that he can get qualified for next season, and the Cats would only have interest if he can become a player for 2012. If he can get eligible, I think UK would like to take him and he would be a Cat. But there are worries if Graham can get eligible at Kentucky. Mark Lyons is probably the second choice, but the transfer from Xavier is interested heavily in Arizona and there are worries as to how he would fit in Lexington. He has been a shoot first guy, and that cant happen with this UK team, and whether he would accept that is still unclear. I think UK and Lyons will know each other’s situation soon, maybe even on Monday, and then we will know if there is any chance the relationship is furthered. Mislov Brzoja visited UK this past weekend and played with the team. I am not sure that he will get an offer at UK and it may be the case that he simply isn’t quite on the level necessary to be added. The thing to remember is that if a perimeter player is not going to offer a significant upgrade over Hood/Beckham/Polson, why bring him in? That mayb e what keeps Brzoja from being at UK.
2013 recruits: This is where the numbers game becomes very interesting. UK already has a commitment from Derek Willis. The Harrison Twins are almost assuredly Cats, unless something changes dramatically. UK wants to save a scholarship for one of the two big-time studs in the class Julius Randle or (more likely) Jabari Parker. But another top 10 stud (James Young) says UK is his leader and wants an offer. And then you have Troy Williams, who may decide this week, considering pulling the trigger for the Cats versus North Carolina. The numbers game is an interesting dilemma in the 2013 class, as UK could end up with 4 guys in the top 12, while also turning down one or two Top 15 players. Unbelievable.
So that is where we are…I think we will know a lot more by Friday. Stay tunes.
— On a completely different note, I am pleased to announce some staff changes here at KSR. After nearly four full years of service, Thomas Beisner will no longer be writing for the site on a regular basis. We still expect to see Beisner around the block a bit, but he is turning his attention to going full-time as the Producer for KSTV. The Beez is a huge part of why KSR took off and I can’t think him enough for all that he has done. He was the #2 on the site for a couple of years, ran it full-time for a year during the Brandon Knight season and has been a great contributor since his first day. While not having Beez on a daily basis on the site makes me a little sad, I am very thankful for how long he has been with us. He was the first full time employee at KSR and has maintained the site while also maintaining a wife and two wonderful children. Most importantly to me, he is also a great friend and I cant thank him enough for all that he has done over the years for the site and me personally. We love the Beez and look forward to him crushing it with us on KSTV for years to come.
So now we set off with some changes…Drew Franklin will remain the Managing Editor, keeping the site churning at a top level, as he has for the past nine months. Drew is a star, that you already know, and under his leadership, the site hit record levels of traffic this past spring. The great Tyler Thompson, who has been the Weekend Editor, will now step into a new role as the site’s #2. She came to us from the Blogger Contest and has never looked back, and has as loyal a fan base on KSR as anyone that has ever been associated with it. No person with the site has ever created a more popular feature than Tyler’s Tweet Beat and we are very happy to have her in a new, more significant role. Ally Tucker will move over from KSR College to become the site’s new Weekend Editor. If you have read Ally’s work, you know that she too is top notch and her humor level fits right in with the writers here on KSR. She helped launch the KSR College site and is the only writer who has had one of her posts directly referenced to me by John Calipari (he liked a joke she told). We also will have an expanded role for Chris Thomas (now the site’s #3 of sort) and Rashawn Franklin, who will be our UK football beat reporter next year. I hope you will join me in congratulating Tyler and Ally on their new gigs and thanking Beisner for his many years of KSR contribution. He is the best.
For now, that is all…