Various internet sources now reporting Kentucky has secured a verbal commitment from ... wait for it ... AN EIGHTH-GRADER.
Michael Avery, a 6'4" combo guard out of Southern California, joins the nascent UK Class of 2012.
Clark Francis, the infamous recruiting guru, has Avery ranked as his No. 8 player in the class, No. 2 at his position, inexplicably listed as power forward.
A brief writeup from an AAU event in which his team went undefeated among strong competition...
Marc Maggard spoke to Michael's father about the commitment on his latest podcast, which I recommend. Great way of hearing how some of this stuff goes.
Avery recently spent time playing with Indiana Elite, the top flight AAU team which brought the world Greg Oden and Mike Conley, among others, and which currently boasts Stephen Van Treese, another UK target.
Avery also has played a level "up" on teams with players such as Duke commit Mason Plumlee and Treese, meaning this kid is getting into some very heady company recruit-wise.
More as it comes...
For all of those folks talking about how sad this is, or how somehow we've crossed a line, what did you expect?
I'll address this in a future post, but you can't have it both ways. If you want elite talent a la UNC, Duke and Kansas, you have to be willing to play the game. We had a coach who was "above" such tactics. And it landed us more Mike Williamses and Sheray Thomases of late than it did Tywon Lawsons.
It's admittedly new ground for the program, but Billy Gillispie has a crack staff who is extremely visible on the AAU circuit. This trend, at least for now, of taking super early commitments is ahead of the curve. Maybe eventually, the game will change. But for now, I'd rather have a coach willing to play the game, short of cheating or shady street agents, than one who is above it and slowly fading into the woodwork.
End of brief rant...