There is a lot to get to today and most is depressing…..lets do this quick hits style:
Jai Lucas and Patrick Patterson are both waiting until Spring to make a decision. I interviewed Lucas tonight and if you scroll down the blog, you can read his comments. Patterson is also going to wait and at this point, where he is going is a complete mystery.
The Morris Twins are choosing a school tomorrow. Smart money is on Memphis, although Kentucky is still one of the stated final 3.
Eshaunte Jones picked Indiana.
Jeff Brooks, my preferred backup option to Patrick Patterson, will sign a letter of intent today with either Arkansas or Penn State (never offered by UK).
Marshall Moses has narrowed his final decision to two schools….Kentucky and NC State. He plans to visit both. He received his test scores today and says he will be eligible next year. That is big news for all.
So there you go, those are the news stories. Not a good day for Kentucky (although the Marshall Moses news is positive) in general, although not a catastrophic day that would have occurred to the fan base if Lucas and Patterson were using today to sign elsewhere. People have asked me my thoughts on the decisions of the two kids to wait until the Spring. Put simply my thoughts are this: In the case of Jai Lucas, the news is bad as I think if he were forced to make a decision today, the choice would have been Kentucky. In the case of Patrick Patterson, I think the news is good because if he were forced to make a decision today it would have been Florida. Those are my gut reactions…..I am more confident about the reaction to Lucas than Patterson, but they are both likely close to the case.
As pertains to Lucas, three things need to be kept in mind. First from strictly a need standpoint, this is not a huge deal. The Cats want Lucas bad and he would be a GREAT player at Kentucky, but they dont HAVE to have him. Point guard can be set for the future with Jasper and while I think the two could have played well together, there is not a pressing need to get a point guard at this time. Second, this loss likely says virtually nothing about Patrick PAtterson. Lucas told me that he has no idea what Patrick is going to do and that his decision had “no impact” on the decision to put off the announcement. I think (and this is my own personal take based on my conversation with Jai), Lucas wants to see how Kentucky plays this year and whether the team performs at a level that makes the atmosphere around the program more positive. Put simply, Lucas wants to play for Kentucky if Tubby is here and Kentucky is at its best. We will know if that is the case more as the season goes along. Plus some of his other choices (OSU and OU and even to some degree Maryland) are in a state of transistion and this will be a telling year for them as well. Third, regardless of what happens with Lucas, beyond signing the kid’s name for him, Tubby Smith and company have done all they can do….if Lucas doesnt sign in the Spring, he simply never was going to sign with Kentucky.
But therein lies part of the problem. This decision by these kids to wait until the Spring puts UK in a very difficult situation. You have two open scholarships and it is not clear what you now do with them. Do you wait and try to get two of the 30 best players in the class, or do you go for lesser talents? Do you trust everyone’s instincts on Marshall Moses, sit back and just hope it works out, and if it doesnt, try and pick another late riser? There is no easy answer. I cant imagine this staff will cut bait, and they shouldnt. They still have a tremendous shot at both players…..but man, now if they dont get either guys, they are likely left with a class of Williams, Stewart, Moses, Harris, and another (maybe Pettigrew)…..a class that would have to be considered by optimists a risk and by pessimists a disappointment.
It is important to remember however that this race is not over. The Cats are still in it and it is not time to simply assume that we will not get either guy. Look there is no secret that Noah and Horford are gone at the end of the year…..Patterson doesnt need to “wait and see what these guys do”. He knows. They are leaving. Similarly, there is no doubt that WHEREVER Lucas goes he will play…..and that includes UK. He is that good folks. So he is not worried about competition at his spot. Simply put these guys are waiting because that is what they think is best for their biggest decision of their young lives….and you do have to respect it…..even if it is very frustrating for us.
As for me, I am taking a break on both of these guys for a while. I will still be giving news about Moses and the other UK targets that come up and we will still cover anything that happens, but for the next while there is nothing to report with these guys…..so it is time to move on. We will be broadcasting games for AJ Stewart and Mike Williams in upcoming weeks and our game coverage begins on here anew, with hopefully the most unique take on UK sports anywhere. But incessant banter about Lucas and Patterson deserves a rest…..and we will give it.
If you havent yet, listen to EPISODE 13. I am told by folks that it may be one of our best, although I look at all of them as red-headed step-children that I cannot pick between. We will be doing the ESPN Radio Show in the Ville from 5-7 PM as a PREVIEW FOR THE MIAMI GAME. From 5-6 the reception may even be good enough to hear. 😉 As with last time, even if you cant hear us, call at 1-800-510-ESPN during the show and we will get you on. Most of our calls come from outside the area and we love it. And finally, look for postgame Miami coverage after the game and a preview during the day on Wednesday.
Not the most fun end to signing period. But hey, this is why you do recruiting. AJ Stewart is going to be a great UK player. I think Marshall Moses will be a great UK player…..and I hope for good things on Mike Williams…..and we got a guy from Alaska……so why not be happy! And the season is starting and the class that everyone said was “mediocre” last year is about to show those of us that believed in it that we were correct. These four guys are going to be special. So enough recruiting for now…..its game time!
And oh yeah, Indiana lost and Zamfir is the man…..