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Jim Furyk’s Monday State of Kentucky Basketball Recruiting

furyk

I arrived early this evening in New York, ready to take on one of the bigger challenges of my sports blogging career. Drew and I are doing our thing for Tennis Channel at the US Open, while still writing on this site and doing the morning radio show. Balancing the worlds of John Short and Rafael Nadal is exciting, but to also do it in my favorite city in the world only makes it that much better. My flight was nice (thanks for asking), absent the man from Nigeria (I know because he said loudly to the entire plane when he sat down, “MY NAME is (Indecipherable) AND I AM FROM NIGERIA!”) who smelled as if he had wiped himself down with Rick Bozich’s sweatpants. But once arriving, I got a recommendation for dinner (go to JP Clarkes) and upon entering saw the PGA Tour golfer with the wildest swing Jim Furyk. I have always liked Furyk for his “against the grain” mentality. In a world that says your golf swing should look like the model version, Furyk has taken the ugliest, hitchiest swing imaginable and turned it into PGA Tour success. For that, he should be commended. He was sitting at the bar drinking beer with some mates, and the two tell-tale signs of a pro golfer immediately stuck out to me. First, he was much balder than I imagined (significantly more so than in the picture above). He thankfully had made the decision to go full-Woody Harrellson (a decision that men should all do upon a certain time in their hair-loss lives), but since I am used to seeing him with his hat on, it was a bit striking. And second, the paleness of his head nearly blinded my eyes. We often forget that a life of a PGA Tour golfer means spending days upon days in the sun wearing a hat. That is all good if you are Rickie Fowler and you have more hair than you can handle (and as the Maxim House at the Master taught Drew and me, more women than he can handle as well), but for Furyk, it creates an odd two-toned skin color. His face was leather tan, but his head was limey-white. It caused me to stare momentarily, before realizing that this was rude, taking a seat and eating my chicken pot pie. Furyk seemed to be a likeable guy and I think my meeting (if you want to call it that) makes me like him even more. After a tournament in the area, he doesn’t get on his jet and fly home to his supermodel wife. No instead, he goes to a local restaurant, hangs out with his buddies and rocks his shiny dome with pride. An every-man golfer for the ages, that is our man Jim Furyk and he now drops in behind Teater, Perry and Holmes as the 4th member of #TeamKSR on the PGA Tour.

salinger

JD Salinger, who wrote “Catcher in the Rye” has become like rappers and now will apparently release a number of books after his death. He was famous for being a recluse and no one knew what he did for the last 40 years of his life…now we will find out. A little factoid for your Monday morning

Now let’s talk about the big story of the weekend. Kentucky lost Emmanual Mudiay to SMU and Larry Brown. The loss was a shock to most, but apparently had been in the works for the past month or so. It took me off guard, but rather than dwell on the silly decision (and yes it is silly…there is nothing besides being a little closer to home that SMU has that Kentucky does not…you will never convince me that a kid his age cares about Larry Brown and Kentucky has 500 things SMU doesn’t…but nevertheless I wish the kid well as he has all the talent in the world), it is time to figure out where Kentucky goes next. So I spent a good deal of Friday night and Saturday making phone calls and getting a decent idea of how the 2014 recruiting stacks up, and here is where we are now:

COMMITTED: Karl Towns:

It is easy to forget about Karl Towns because, like your cute friend in college that got engaged early, he has been off the market for a long time. But Towns is a player that not only gives UK a top 10 commitment at this moment, he is also one of the best 2 big men in the class. In fact, it occurred to me while watching the Elite 24 game (a travesty of a television broadcast) that UK fans severely underappreciate what they have in Towns. ESPN has only five centers in America ranked amongst their top 75 players. Towns is second (to Okafor) and guarantees UK a big man presence down low next season of supreme skill. While Mudiay was certainly a tough loss, few teams could lose a player of that caliber, but already have another top 10er in the bag. Calipari does.

LIKELY COMMITS: Trey Lyles, Tyler Ulis

I feel comfortable putting both players in the “likely to play for Kentucky next season” category. Now this of course comes with a caveat…I would have had Mudiay in said category as of Thursday. But in recruiting things change, and while these may change as well, this is the best info as of now. Kentucky feels very confident about Lyles and they should. Since his decommitment from Indiana, Kentucky has been the leader and I think that position is only getting stronger as the days go along. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him pick the Cats in the near future. He is supremely talented and a player Calipari has targeted for a year. He will be great here. Ulis is more recent and the short Point Guard’s offer should have signaled to us that Kentucky didn’t feel good about Mudiay. He is a player who can do everything you want a point guard to do, distribute, score and shoot. His size is an issue…but Calipari loves his upside and his team leadership capability. And he might, for the first time since Calipari has been in Lexington, be a point guard that he can develop for a few years. I think both end up at Kentucky.

WILL GET AT LEAST ONE, MAYBE BOTH: Devin Booker, James Blackmon Jr

Kentucky needs a shooting guard (operating under the assumption they lose Aaron Harrison) and they love both of these players. It would not surprise me to see Kentucky get both as I don’t think Blackmon is against attending the same school as Booker. Booker is the primary target and a kid with dead-eye range that UK really covets. He is friends with Ulis and I am told the two like the idea of being in the same college backcourt. I am close to putting him in the likely to come to Kentucky category, but am holding off for the time being. Blackmon Jr has all the makings of a Kentucky player and his dad’s connection here certainly helps. If Kentucky ever feels that they won’t get Stanley Johnson (more on him in a bit), then I think they push hard for a Blackmon commitment. He can do it all as well but will probably take a little time to develop before becoming a college star.

BIG TARGETS UK IS STILL GOING AFTER FULL BORE: Jahlil Okafor and Stanley Johnson

Everything I hear coming out of Lexington suggest that Kentucky still covets these two players and believes they can get both. It is likely UK is not the leader for either at this moment however. Stanley Johnson is a presumed Arizona lean but Kentucky will have plenty of opportunities to convince him to leave the West coast and make his way to the Bluegrass. He is a big-scorer and like Shabazz, would excel in Calipari’s system. The question is whether UK can get him to make the leap East and that remains to be seen. The quiet storm to watch is Okafor. I think UK has a better chance than some realize as I don’t think the Jones/Okafor package deal is a certainty by any means. Okafor is also friends with Tyler Ulis (he is a friendly guy) and I think UK is situated much better than people realize. Getting him on campus will be huge and I wouldn’t call UK the favorite…but keep watching this one, as like with Julius Randle, UK sits in a much better position than most recruiting folks are suggesting at this point.

THE REST: Tyus Jones, Myles Turner, Dante Exum and others

It is hard for me to see Tyus Jones going anywhere but Duke. UK is still recruiting him and would certainly like him, but his mother is an avowed Duke fan, wears Duke gear all the time and has said she hopes her child ends up there. I am not saying that mom’s cant have their minds changed but 80% of the time in recruiting, mama plays a key part. Myles Turner is a player that I can’t really get a feel on and my guess is that he goes to a school different than Towns and Okafor. Kentucky is recruiting him but I don’t get the sense that they are in the top two. Dante Exum is the person to watch. He can join a college team in December of this year, but if he does, he has to stay for another season in college. However if he waits until January, he can then decide to go to college or enter the NBA Draft. Kentucky was probably third for Exum for the past few months, but that was when Exum thought (as we all did) that Mudiay was coming here. He was not interested in playing with a similar point guard. But now that Mudiay is off the table, it will be interesting to see if Exum and Kentucky heat up in the next few weeks. I also believe that Kentucky is after a number of other guys and probably end up with at least one (Kelly Oubre and others…potentially a transfer), but at this point other pieces need to fall before it is clear who that will be.

So that is where I see Kentucky basketball recruiting at this moment. I still like Kentucky’s position, but the unknown quality has risen in the last three days. UK looked as if, no matter what else happened, it would get at least two top ten players. Now it needs a commitment from either Johnson, Okafor or Lyles for that to happen. My guess is Kentucky gets at least one from that group and maybe two. If that happens, and UK gets the people back that I presume they will (at least Marcus Lee and then possibly James Young), then the Cats will be fine for the next season. I also think this is the year that UK looks for a transfer, probably of the 5th year senior variety. Many unknowns remain, and while things aren’t as positive as they seemed on Thursday, the chances of a top class are still very good.

We get the week of the WKU game started tomorrow morning with the radio show and the blog….there will be LOTS of FOOTBALL on the site this week with the WKU game coming Saturday. The Twins and James Young are both here and school starts Wednesday. Vacation is over…UK sports are back center stage and we have a site redesign ready for the new era. #9 is coming folks…strap yourself in.

Article written by Matt Jones

50 Comments for Jim Furyk’s Monday State of Kentucky Basketball Recruiting



  1. First
    10:18 pm August 25, 2013 Permalink

    First duhhhh



  2. capt
    10:26 pm August 25, 2013 Permalink

    Thanks for the insight, Matt.



  3. KYMASH
    10:29 pm August 25, 2013 Permalink

    #9…I like the way that sounds.



  4. Mass Confusion
    10:36 pm August 25, 2013 Permalink

    what about Rashad Vaughn?



  5. Louisville Kentucky Mortgage
    10:38 pm August 25, 2013 Permalink

    I still like Kentucky’s position



  6. yup
    10:41 pm August 25, 2013 Permalink

    What about Jason Alexander?



  7. UKGAL-InFL
    10:41 pm August 25, 2013 Permalink

    Matt & Drew –I am glad you all are following your dreams and great things are happening for you. Don’t let the haters get you both down. You can do many things at once and tonight’s post proves it!!



  8. SeaCat
    10:42 pm August 25, 2013 Permalink

    Matt, this is disturbing…
    We are afraid you will leave KSR
    for a tennis ball.



  9. SJR
    10:42 pm August 25, 2013 Permalink

    “who smelled as if he had wiped himself down with Rick Bozich’s sweatpants”

    I laughed ridiculously hard at that. Please tell me you’ve seen the new WDRB sports commercials with Paula Deen and Eric Crawford.



  10. Wildcatsteeler
    10:43 pm August 25, 2013 Permalink

    This season hasn’t even started and this site is nonstop obsessing about next season.



  11. lol
    10:46 pm August 25, 2013 Permalink

    I would think Dakari is more likely to stay than James Young. Young was pretty vocal about his chances of being a one-and-done.



  12. Still hope
    10:47 pm August 25, 2013 Permalink

    I still think there is a shot Mudiay changes his mind and comes to Kentucky



  13. Bleed Blue
    10:51 pm August 25, 2013 Permalink

    Why does everybody forget Vaughn who is the best SG in this class. UK still has a good chance with him, but he won’t commit till the spring which means we will already have Booker and possibly Blackmon.



  14. Hicks
    10:57 pm August 25, 2013 Permalink

    I was wondering about Vaughn as well. If we didn’t feel confident in Stanley then you would think he would be more likely to come in and play the 3 than would Blackmon Jr. For the Jerry Meyer fans out there, at one point I thought he said he was more confident that Vaughn would come here than any other recruit because he likes the style of play. I appreciate the write up Matt, until the season starts recruiting always seems to be top priority for me but I’m hoping that changes after a Sat. in Nashville.



  15. pooky
    10:58 pm August 25, 2013 Permalink

    Rashad Vaughn? How could you forget him?



  16. KySportsFan
    11:04 pm August 25, 2013 Permalink

    # 8 …I agree….this would be a great loss. Matt enjoy NYC but come back to the Bluegrass



  17. Steve Fitts
    11:15 pm August 25, 2013 Permalink

    Lot of parallels between Emmanuel Mudiay’s choice of SMU over UK and Matt Elam hoped for choice of UK over Alabama. Larry Brown convinces a local kid to turn down the Roman Empire of college basketball to play for his hometown school. Mark Stoops tries to convince a kid to turn down the Roman Empire of college football to play for his home state school. I used to think UK didn’t stand a chance on the recruiting trail against Alabama. Mudiay’s decision to say “no” to Kentucky gives me hope that Elam might be persuaded to say “no” to Alabama, though not many football players say “no” to Alabama. Matt Elam turning down Alabama to play at UK in football would be roughly equivalent to Emmanuel Mudiay turning down UK to play at SMU in basketball



  18. Ville Cat
    11:19 pm August 25, 2013 Permalink

    Matt, you say it would not surprise you if Lyles were to commit in the near future. What time frame would you consider near future?



  19. MO Cat
    11:22 pm August 25, 2013 Permalink

    Great article – thanks Matt!

    Any worry w/Ulis where he might see himself as a ‘harrow’? A player that’s a stopgap for a year & then will get recruited over?



  20. NYC Reader
    11:31 pm August 25, 2013 Permalink

    It’s PJ Calrke’s, not JP Clarke’s. Great burgers either way.



  21. cracka
    11:36 pm August 25, 2013 Permalink

    i don’t see ulis ever being the starting pg … kinda like the idea of having multiple sg’s and sf’s that handle the ball splitting the time at the 1, 2 and 3 and running and working the dribble drive



  22. Linda Taylor
    11:44 pm August 25, 2013 Permalink

    17 – Except UK plays in the best football conference where Elam will play against the best and develop his full potential, SMU plays in what is basically the reconstituted Conference USA where Mudiay won’t ever have good enough competition to develop as much as he would have playing against the schedule UK plays. Elam has a chance to compete at the highest level of the SEC by his senior year the way Stoops & Co. have been recruiting. Mudiay will never have enough pieces around him to compete for a title at SMU. If he comes to UK Elam will play for a rabid fan base that is hungry for football success. Mudiay will play in front of 3,500 fans who care very little about basketball. Elam would have those fans follow his pro career. Mudiay could have had a rabid fan base who would have followed and supported his pro career but chose his brother’s education instead, something he could have easily paid for with the Kentucky Effect $ from the fans buying his shoes, shirts, etc.



  23. Average Redneck with a Beer Gut
    11:50 pm August 25, 2013 Permalink

    Stoop better beat Petriner



  24. PV Mike
    11:52 pm August 25, 2013 Permalink

    Good write up. You mentioned you thought the Cats may look for an experienced transfer player.
    How about somebody from Robert Morris?



  25. OddsAre
    12:14 am August 26, 2013 Permalink

    @ #’s 8 & 16 – If I was a wiseguy I might say the odds of Matt abandoning a position he’s worked his butt of to achieve would be about the same as

    1) Rick Pitino leaving a coaching job at UK when he is atop the college basketball world
    2) Daniel Orton being a 1st round NBA pick
    3) The 2011 UK BB team beating OSU & UNC in the regionals and almost winning it all
    4) Georgetown’s Fred Brown passing to UNC’s James Worthy with 6 seconds left in the title game and seal the loss.

    Those are a few of my WTF moments. Hope Matt doesn’t end up on my list. I have faith he’ll keep KSR rolling along.



  26. Catsfan93
    12:24 am August 26, 2013 Permalink

    There is no way we are going to have a 5 foot 8 point guard run our team. Not going to happen cal will go after exum and convince him it’s best for him to come to college. Exum is the point guard we will get. And as far as Stanley Johnson goes, he is coming to uk. Stanley Johnson will have a mkg like effect at Kentucky.



  27. Pikeville25
    1:00 am August 26, 2013 Permalink

    Ummm Rashad Vaughn anyone??? Exum ain’t playing college, and Ulis can ball, so get used to him and support him!



  28. Obi wan
    1:07 am August 26, 2013 Permalink

    It’s tiring reading the amount of comments night in and night out that state, no way blank will happen, or we will do or get blank for sure. I love confidence, but arrogance from people who clearly have no idea what will happen is just embarrassing. Only a sith deals in absolutes.



  29. Qui-Gon Jinn
    1:40 am August 26, 2013 Permalink

    Obi Wan, that’s some strong talk from my apprentice whom I last saw as a spirit sitting in a tree with the Sith Lord who sliced him in half. Let’s focus on #9 instead, shall we?



  30. bigcatstanding
    3:04 am August 26, 2013 Permalink

    I I know what the 93 stand for, not the year you were born, but the year your mother was born. get real you can have a small player run your team, especially when he’s probably a top two assist man in the country. This kid scores with ease against anyone no matter his height, and is a great teammate not selfish at all, ever heard of Anthony epps of course not you weren’t born yet. Muggsy Bogues / spud Webb yeah you’re right after I think about it ( not ). like I’ve said before I hope he has selective reading and hearing, because if he can hear and read we most definitely won’t get him, with all the ignorance coming from all the so-called Kentucky fans. BBN IS CBB. PS. people need to trust coach he does this for a living and does very well.



  31. Sandra Chali
    5:06 am August 26, 2013 Permalink

    When I married my husband I was already pregnant and so I didn’t have a job. He had a really good job though so I was able to stay home and take care of our son when it was born. When we had our second child we moved to a bigger house, but then strange things started to happen. Things would fly off the walls and doors would slam at night. Our oldest son talked about seeing figures and hearing voices. We consulted a medium and they said the house was haunted. After living there about a year more with only minor occurrences we moved out. That was when the bad luck started to happen. Everything started to fail, with my husband’s job, our money and our luck in general. I went back to the same medium and they told me that a spirit had followed me and placed a curse upon me for disturbing it and not being respectful in the previous house. He tried to remove it but was unable. The misfortune kept going on and getting more severe as I tried to search out someone to break the curse. But when I found Dr.Azonto spell he finally did it. Things started turning around almost immediately after he cast the spell and have been great from there! This was really a miracle for us, thank you . [email protected] yahoo. com spell from the bottom of my heart!
    Posted by. miss Sandra Chali



  32. Truth
    5:56 am August 26, 2013 Permalink

    Fact: James Blackmon, Jr. was on IU’s campus this past weekend. Proves once again Jones isn’t as plugged in as he tries to pretend to be.



  33. Reality
    6:29 am August 26, 2013 Permalink

    Wes and Brown are good friends. So, Wes isn’t funneling all his nephews to Cal anymore. Brown will now get a few here and there. Heck, Brown is the one who taught Cal everything he knows about purchasing players.



  34. Rumblings
    6:39 am August 26, 2013 Permalink

    There are rumblings that Trey Lyles is concerned about who the pg will be for us next year.



  35. Seriously?
    7:37 am August 26, 2013 Permalink

    Reality-Isn’t it time you came up with some new material? Wes? Really. You are soooo boring…..zzzzzzzz Are you even capable of an original thought?



  36. asdf
    8:46 am August 26, 2013 Permalink

    KSR looks too much like a real website now.



  37. RahRah
    8:49 am August 26, 2013 Permalink

    Love the new look for the site, but some of these titles are really hard to read – blue on blue. Unless Larry Brown pulls a few more rabbits out of his hat, Mudiay’s decision seems a bit ridiculous but it was his to make. Best of luck to the kid.



  38. Some Guy in Kentucky
    8:52 am August 26, 2013 Permalink

    I would be surprised if Mudiay changes his mind about going to SMU since his brother is going as part of the deal.



  39. Don
    8:53 am August 26, 2013 Permalink

    Most of this is nonsense..there is nothing out there but conjecture from “sky is falling” UK fans that says Stanley Johnson is an Arizona lean..Once some of our fans hear a Jerry Meyer or someone of his ilk say,Johnson is leaning to Arizona,then all hell breaks loose and panic sets in..they just do that to get hits on their sites and see what kind of response follows..And our fans sure oblige..

    There was nothing new in this little article and we are sitting well with Rashaad Vaughn by the way..My advice to everyone,dont panic..



  40. Footballguy
    8:54 am August 26, 2013 Permalink

    Lets just worry about football right now, ok? Basketball and its drama will be here soon enough



  41. bigbluelush
    8:59 am August 26, 2013 Permalink

    Why am i seeing an advertisement for UT football tickets on this site???!!!!!



  42. btowncatfan
    9:02 am August 26, 2013 Permalink

    Kentucky fans can drive you crazy. We haven’t even started practice for this season yet and are freaking about next year. You people are crazy (Cal voice).



  43. classof68
    9:21 am August 26, 2013 Permalink

    So what if we didn’t get Mudiay and UK fans didn’t have a clue about what was going on with his recruiting. What we really want to know is who is the tennis team recruiting?



  44. KevinM
    10:22 am August 26, 2013 Permalink

    Mudiay will only be there one year, so he will soon be yesterday’s news.

    This era of recruiting is not as exciting as it used to be because we had guys for 4 years in the past.

    This reminds me of the Xavier Henry battle where the Henrys were making sure brother got a scholly as well. Not that Cal didn’t, but you have to take the entire family in on this.
    Cal only had to offer his brother to get him?



  45. bigcatstanding
    11:13 am August 26, 2013 Permalink

    #38 you got that right did you catch what that kid said in his interview, saying he wanted to play with his brother for that year. I guess he was counting on being a lottery pick, or whatever that kid has in his head. He said all the right stuff, he knew way back when he tweeted about shocking the world where he was going. And no way a team like Kentucky can throw away a scholarship on a sibling, thats not how its done here and kudos for Coach not going that route.



  46. bigcatstanding
    11:24 am August 26, 2013 Permalink

    #39 Coach hasn’t even offered Vaughn a scholarship, so how can we be in good shape with him, surely he’s looking elsewhere more so than Kentucky especially with no offer. And this UK fan isn’t freaking out, for the past 4 years I’ve been enjoying the ride, everyone else better do the same because if not it will be over before you learn to enjoy it. Don’t think he will leave for a better job, or more money but can see him leaving after two championships. Hope he knows how much we appreciate him, so if your listening Coach we love you lol.



  47. Free Chelsea Manning
    11:34 am August 26, 2013 Permalink

    46. Yes, we have offered Vaughn. Check Ben Roberts’ LHL site if you don’t believe me.



  48. bigcatstanding
    11:44 am August 26, 2013 Permalink

    #13. you mention Vaughn with high praise, then put Devin Booker as just someone we will get, that kid blew everyone away in the 3 point contest, and is easily the number 1 SG in the class no matter the ranking. And like coach says Kentucky is not for everyone, and Devin Booker is perfect for Kentucky. We after landing him will have Hawkins so 2 really talented SGs is plenty. Enuff said I’m right everyone else is wrong lol just kidding. GO BIG BLUE. PS Julius Randle in that whatever 24 game last year won the slam dunk contest, kind of letting you know what type of talent this PF is. What I am saying is power forwards never win Slam Dunk Contest, that normally is reserved for smaller players that can really job, but if you watch Randall on YouTube he is amazing doing dunks you only see SFs / shooting guards and big PGs attempt. ILF#9. kick back and enjoy the ride



  49. Not the size, but the motion
    11:46 am August 26, 2013 Permalink

    For those concerned about Ulis, check out this video of him going head-to-head with Tyus Jones at Peach Jam: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=LwyQadf1Cew

    Tyus Jones drops 24 points and 7 assists. Ulis drops 22 points and 17 ASSISTS. Dude can ball.



  50. PhilUK18
    1:23 pm August 26, 2013 Permalink

    49.

    That stat line speaks well to Ulis’s offensive game, but it concerns me that going head to head he let Tyus Jones put in 24 and 7 assists on him. I mean, I know Jones is an excellent PG too, but you’ve got to defend better than that.