For the record, following tonight’s post, everything that you see from this blog for the next couple of days will be positive and intended to get folks ready for Midnight Madness. However until then, I thought it necessary to address what the vast majority of you ask me mainly, “how bad is it if Patterson goes elsewhere?” First a couple of quick bits of news (and oh yeah, listen to EPISODE 9….
(1) That picture up there was taken from AJ Stewart’s myspace account and is four of UK’s top targets in uniform. AJ did not create the picture, but he put it up in his picture section and asked everybody for their comments on this potential group of future Cats. All the more evidence of where AJ’s head is at this point.
(2) I spoke tonight for the first time with power forward recruit Tracy Smith from Durham, NC. For those of you unfamiliar with Smith, he is a top 50 recruit who is friends with Jai Lucas and, most importantly, is coached by Lucas’ uncle. Now here is the part I dont understand. I asked him if Kentucky had been recruiting him and he said, “yeah they are in my top 5 and I like them a lot….was hoping to take a visit at some point.” But then I asked him about how UK is pursuing him and he said, “well they used to call all the time….but they stopped a couple of weeks ago, I dont know why. Jai and I are buddies and had talked about UK and Oklahoma State, so I am not sure what my status now is with UK.” Those quotes can be taken two ways. One, you can say that UK is confident about Patterson and has backed off a bit from Smith (who may have grade issues). Or you can criticize the move as the connection to Lucas should mean that the Cats at least keep calling. I havent followed Smith much, so I am hesitant to comment yet, but it is definitely a story to follow.
Now onto Patrick Patterson. His big visit is of course this weekend to Midnight Madness and the state is abuzz about the potential of an immediate commitment. I have heard people say that he is the most important recruit from an in-state standpoint since Rex Chapman and that the fanbase will go on meltdown if he goes elsewhere. In addition, many have claimed that a class without Patterson is certain to be unsuccessful and will be a failure of epic proportions. So I decided to weigh in.
First, I want to make my opinion clear. Of the players UK is recruiting, Patrick Patterson is the best. Make no mistake about that. Others players are good, some may end up being great, but nobody is more ready right now than Patrick. Having said that, all is not lost if we lose him. To me the best way to explain the situation is this…..WITHOUT Patrick Patterson, this class cannot be GREAT (as in a Top 5 class). Patterson, Lucas, Stewart, Barnes and Williams is a great class…..but take Patterson out of there, and it is not GREAT. However WITHOUT Patterson this class can still be GOOD to VERY GOOD. If UK could still pull Stewart, Moses, Barnes, Williams and either Lucas, Morris Twins, Allen, etc…..then that is a very good class….likely proportionate to the freshmen class just starting. Thus all is not lost if we lose Patterson….it is a big blow, especially considering how long UK has been going after him…..but it is not a devastating blow as some have suggested.
I have seen all the recruits we are currently in with play. I think that many of the guys are very similar in abilities. Patterson, Lucas and Stewart (who I believe to be vastly underrated) are in my view, the top three. Below them is the group of Barnes, Moses, Morris Twins and Anderson. Below them are Brooks, Allen, Pettigrew, etc. There is not to me a huge difference between that second and third group and thus if UK gets Brooks instead of Barnes, its not the end of the world. But I do firmly believe that at least THREE members of the class need to come from the top two groups to be a successful class. That group could very easily, and with not much work, include Stewart and Barnes. If you get Patterson and Lucas as well, then start singing…..but there needs to be one more out of Patterson, Lucas, Barnes and the Morris Twins to satisfy me. That is where I stand.
Ultimately nothing I say in this regard is going to matter a lot if Patterson goes elsewhere. I STILL think UK has AS GOOD A SHOT AS ANYONE right now. I think going into Madness UK may be a little behind….but that is because he has been on his other visits and not ours. This weekend is CRUCIAL. If Patterson has a great time and everyone is pumped, UK might be in perfect shape. If the weekend is slow, the guys at the visit grumble a bit, then we could lose everyone on the visit and it is panic time. Larry Vaught on our show this week (linked below) worried about that possibility and wondered if UK has too many eggs in one basket. That could be the case. It really is an all or nothing thing. Have a great weekend, have a great class…..have an awful weekend, who knows what happens?
Finally, people ask me, “will Lucas and Patterson commit at Madness?” I think there is a chance, but not a huge one. To me if you want to evaluate the weekend, the first sign will be this:
Did AJ Stewart commit? If Stewart commits, then the weekend was not a failure, and his inclination to go to UK was confirmed. That means that the weekend was positive and likely was for Patterson and Lucas as well. If he doesnt, especially after all the signs that he would, then something may have gone wrong….not good.
Bottom line…..will UK be ok if they dont get Patterson? Yes…..the class can still be good, but in my view not great.