Tuesday I Get a Little Sideways.....with Recruiting news

by:Matt Jones10/09/06
Even though this was a holiday, we here at Kentucky Sports Radio were working....me trying to continue to turn the wheels of legal justice, the Intern getting the Keeneland scoop for the week of races and Hubby trying to get over his massive hangover. Of course we released EPISODE 9 with Jai Lucas, Marshall Moses and Larry Vaught and the interviews were very interesting. If you havent heard the show yet, please do....and try to like it while you are at it. Midnight Madness is only days away and Kentucky Sports Radio will be THE place to get you prepared, including suggestions for ways to get the crowd hyped to sell the kids on Lexington as their college destination. The next few weeks are big for the University of Kentucky and we will give you all the news as we get it. Here is today's..... (1) It is amazing how many tidbits get whispered into your ear that actually have some validity. An emailer wrote me yesterday and said to watch the name Tracy Smith out of Durham, NC as Kentucky was attempting to become a player in his recruitment. I put the issue on the backburner and then today did some checking, and lo and behold.....the 6'7" power forward has become a bit of a new target for both Kentucky AND Florida. So what does that mean....well the Gators move suggests that they may not be as "confident" on Patrick Patterson as many have suggested (further confirming my point that the Hickson visit cancellation had nothing to do with Patterson). My source said that Coach Smith has made personal calls to Tracy and may even be scheduling a visit depending on how things turn out at Midnight Madness. Why is this important? Well according to a Rivals.com article, Tracy is friends with who else.....everybody's favorite guy, Jai Lucas. And both of these guys are considering Oklahoma St....which could be part of the reason for the movement by UK. Now one big caveat. Grades are a tremendous issue with this kid and eligibility will be a real concern. But this is another name to file away for later. (2) The numbers suggest to me that our latest Kentucky Sports Radio show was listened to buy a huge number of fans, but the discussion has been relatively limited, which is surprising. For me, two things stuck out that deserve attention. First, Jai Lucas dispelled the notion that he was one hundred percent Oklahoma State and went so far as to say, "I dont know where he (meaning the recruiting guy) got that." In addition he reaffirmed, albeit after my question, that he could conceivably commit to a school before his visits are complete. I encourage every UK fan to listen to that interview and make your own judgments, but both seemed like very positive quotes to me. Second, Marshall Moses has NO OTHER VISITS scheduled as of yet. You want a sign that UK is in a good position and Moses may be a Cat....there it is. (3) I know I sound like a broken record on this, but the news is always universally the same. I talked to a national recruiting "guru" today who confirmed once again that all the schools recruiting AJ Stewart have essentially given up. Everyone expects a commitment this weekend, including Illinois who still wants him to visit. This recruitment is like a volley lobbed high in the air, with Roger Federer ready to slam into the open court.....all that is left is for him (i.e. UK) not to whiff (which in my high school tennis career, I did on match point in the regional doubles final.....no video exists, sorry). (4) Two names from UK's past efforts are headed to the end of their recruitments. Dele Coker who UK essentially stopped pursuing when Mike Williams committed is headed to St. John's. Folks can debate whether UK needed another big guy (I think they did), but in my view Williams is a better project than Coker who both Rob Gidel and I saw as the epitome of a kid who needs a LOT of work. And JJ Hickson is ready to announce his decision on Thursday, a decision that may very well be to the UT Vols. I have mixed feelings on Hickson. From a pure talent standpoint he may be the best kid UK recruited....but there is an attitude there, an entourage and some other red flags that are not widely known. The kid is a BEAST on the court. But if Kentucky gets Patterson, I think we came out better.....however if we dont, Hickson at UT (assuming Bruce Pearl keeps the extra stuff off the court) will be a thorn in our side. (5) While the focus is understandably on the seniors, dont forget about the fact that three HIGHLY-RATED, IN-STATE kids in the Junior class will also be at Madness. Scotty Hopson, Darius Miller and Bud Mackey are all kids who will be top players nationally and Hopson and Miller will probably both be top 30-40 recruits. If Tubby Smith gets all of these kids, he likely would fill up the class of 08, and could do so with something very rare......super-talented, in-state kids who are recruiting gems. That would be a great accomplishment and could mean that Tubby might only need one more player in that class.....allowing him to be very selective. None of these kids (with the possible exception of Mackey) will commit soon, but all might by the summer, and UK's long term prognosis would be amazing if all ended up on board. Once again, give a listen to EPISODE 9. And if you know where the line in the title came from, post it....

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