So the news that most, if not all Kentucky fans must have deep down expected, came today as Tyler Smith, the latest in the long line of Kentucky recruits from the past year or so to go in another direction, committed to the Iowa Hawkeyes. Smith had been priority number one for Tubby and company during the Spring signing period (a period that usually sees Tubby doing his best work) and it was clear that maximum effort was being made to add the talented small forward to the mix. Most, including me, believed that he was never likely headed for Kentucky, but I was of the opinion that Pittsburgh or Memphis was his likely destination. However Pittsburgh lost the assistant who was responsible for Tyler and Memphis and Smith had a falling out….leading to the Iowa commitment.
So what is to be said about this loss? Well first, I will say that I dont think that from a basketball standpoint, it means much at all. Smith is a very talented player and would have been an important contributor in future years, however he is also known as a troublemaker. He orginally committed to Tennessee, only to have a falling out with the program with Buzz Peterson left and is known to have a meddling father…..a predicament that Tubby knows oh too well. On the court, the Cats wont miss him greatly and depending on who you ask, didnt have a scholarship to give him in any instance.
But the loss is troubling from another perspective. Whether I personally wanted Tyler or not, it is clear that Tubby DID want him. And Tubby put forth effort PERSONALLY…not through assistant coaches but on his own. And we lost Tyler to a team in Iowa that has been struggling majorly, is in a rural area and plays a slowdown game as well. I am generally one who thinks that too much is made about recruiting battles and I dont think that Tyler was a must get. But it is yet another example of the team coming up short on a recruiting goal. One wonders why this keeps happening and how it will change