I hope everyone out there had a Happy Holiday season
. It was a great one here at the Kentucky Sports Radio Compound as we had lots of food, lots of fun and a little break from the day-to-day hassles of the working world. The sad news of the weekend of course was the passing on Christmas day of the great music icon James Brown
. The career of James Brown is one that could entertain anyone, and his status as a musical legend, so famous that he even inspired his own legendary SNL skit with Eddie Murphy and the "Hot Tub", is unquestioned. For those of my generation, it is often forgotten that he also had a legacy as a Civil Rights Leader and was part of many of the more controversial issues of the Civil Rights era. He was associated, at times, heavily with the Rev. Al Sharpton, and it was Sharpton's associations with Brown that led the Reverend to national prominence (dont hold that against the Godfather of Soul). Brown was a legendary performer and one of those guys (along with Ray Charles) whose mere image brought a smile to my face. In honor of James, I have my hair in the exact style as the picture above.....it is a great look.
Now onto the business of UK at hand. Lots to update since the Christmas holiday as we get back on track. There was no radio show this week, due to the holiday season, but we will have a special post-Music City Bowl show on Friday which will be available this weekend. But until then, the news.....
Friday's game against UMASS was not only a game on the hardwood, but was an important chance for UK to bring in some top recruits. I was told that there were four recruits of the game, two of which are unknown and two of which are Philip Jurick and Carter McMasters.
Both of these young men are big guys from Tennessee and both are men that you will here more and more about as part of the developing 2008 class. I have seen Jurick play and he is an extremely talented, well developed center that will be a hot recruiting ticket for schools in the area. Jurick has great low post moves and is what Jared Carter wishes he were....a guy comfortable with his size and solid on both ends of the floor. Carter McMasters, who I as of yet have not seen, is supposedly a bit rawer and is not attracting quite the attention of Jurick. McMasters, while not labeled a "project", is nevertheless a kid who needs development before he reaches a star level. However Jurick is the main story as he is being heavily recruited by Tennessee, Memphis and Indiana. UK and UT are two of the likely main targets and both are putting the full court press on Jurick. Friday's game was a great one for Jurick to attend as the crowd energy was spectacular. We hope to have Jurick on the show in two weeks to learn more about him. There is no word on who the other two guys were, but if you find out, let me know.
Keeping with the them of 08, is a power forward out of New York named Kevin Jones
who Tubby recently saw play in person. Jones is another of the now-featured UK recruits....a long, athletic 6'7" player (a la Stewart and Moses) who can get up and down the floor. UK has not offered Jones yet, but Tubby has kept in contact with him and he is on their top 12-15 list at this point for 2008. It will be interesting to see how the list develops and beginning next week (at the first of the year), we will run down the primary targets for UK in the 08 class, so you can have a primer as the season goes forward.
One more 2008 note. There has been a lot of talk about target Drew Gordon
who may be one of the most high-profile recruits of the class. Gordon is out of California and is a special player and scorer. His recruitment is attracting the usual California suspects (Cal, UCLA and Washington) but now is also getting heat from UNC and Duke. Gordon may be (after Darius Miller), Kentucky's #1 dream choice for the 2008 class. But Gordon is likely to see major affection from the two triangle schools and has been rumored to truly be enamored with Romar and Washington. Keep your eye on Gordon (who we hope to have on in mid-January), but dont hold your breath....it will be quite an undertaking for him to end up in Lexington.
Our man Marshall Moses
told me recently that he wants to "end this recruitment as soon as possible." Moses has had the heat turned up on him a bit in recent weeks by Bob Huggins and Kansas State and they have now become part of his top three schools (joining NC State and UK). UK of course has the first visit (scheduled for Jan 13.....when Patrick Patterson will also be on his unofficial visit) and that game may end up being (along with Midnight Madness), the BIGGEST day of the 2007 recruiting year. I know I sound like a broken record on Marshall, but I truly think getting Marshall to UK in the fall of 2007 will be a GREAT get for UK. They obviously have to seal the deal (and hope that continually putting him off carried no adverse reactions) and the grades have to be 100% sealed. But Moses is the real deal.....and the kind of athlete that we simply have not had at UK in a long time.
Finally, one last word on the UMASS game on Friday night
. The game has gotten lost a bit due to the holiday season, but it truly was the best performance of the season. I have said from the beginning of the year that this is not a championship team, but this is a team that when they play well can be a top 10-12 team. The game against UCLA and UMASS are two examples of performances that can put them on pace to be a top contending team. Travis Ford said after the game that when UK is hitting threes like they did Friday, there are not five teams better in the country. I would alter that just a bit to say that five teams have UK covered (Kansas, UCLA, UNC, Florida and Ohio St) but after that, if this team were to be consistently like Friday, they could be just below that. Now we all know that consistency is not this team's strong suit......but performances like Friday are what give me hope that this team can put together a solid season and be in position to pull some surprises come March.
We are now back to normal on here, so expect lots of posts, news, views and some inside dish (look for that tonight), in the coming days.....and get ready for the road show at the Music City Bowl on Friday.....should be fun.