Matt Jones at Kentucky Sports Radio stirred up a bit of a controversy this morning with his remarks on G.J. Vilarino, K.C. Ross-Miller and Dakotah Euton that apparently inspired some angry defenders of at least one of the young men to come forth in their defense.
Further to that tempest in a teapot, Matt decided to add this post to revise and extend his remarks, and respond to those who were alarmed by his earlier post. I think Matt is merely passing on the perceptions he has had from people who do observe these guys play, and I know what it is like to have to take heat for not always having the Big Blue glasses on.
With all that said, though, here are the things that caused me a tiny bit of consternation in Matt's remarks:
GJ Vilarino: It has continued to be a tough run for GJ this summer. He has basically blended into the woodwork during most of his action and whispers continue to increase that his status with UK might change in the coming months. He is actively being recruited over by UK, which is never a good sign, and his performance has made him listed somewhere between 200-300 by most services. It has been a tough summer for GJ and it is unclear what is ahead.
KC Ross-Miller: Like GJ Vilarino, it has been a tough go for Miller. KC has simply not improved at the rate of his fellow classmates and it is showing on the court. While he likely shows more upside than Vilarino, he still has a lot of work to do. He finds himself outside of the rankings and continues to mystify as to why we havent seen more from him. I think it is safe to say that between GJ and KC, it is likely at least one wont end up at UK. As to who that is, who knows.
Dakotah Euton: Another tough summer. Dakotah simply doesnt look good enough to play at Kentucky when he is on the court. I like Dakotah as a kid and he still has time to develop. But if you ask any talent scout not affiliated with UK if Dakotah is a UK player, they will not say yes. His move to Scott County is a good one….if he gets to play. This is a huge year for Dakotah….not time by far to give up on him, but seeing him at UK becomes harder and harder.
Here is why this rankles. Every one of these guys is an "early" commit, and basically Matt appears to be saying that Gillispie has possibly struck out on his first three early commitments before they even arrive at UK, and is likely to abandon one or more of them, or "encourage" one or more of them to go elsewhere.
If this happens, the firestorm over Gillispie's very early recruiting will absolutely explode back in his face, and we will see stories by the hundreds explaining that this is exactly why recruits shouldn't commit early -- because if they don't live up to expectations, unethical coaches will withdraw their offer or "convince" the recruit to break his commitment and go elsewhere. Both, to me, are ugly.
And how does Matt square the above remarks with this comment he made on his blog back in May? Quoth he:
(2): Billy Clyde was on the Scott Van Pelt show and said that UK would honor commitments of young players, regardless of their development. That means that if Avery, Zollo, Miller, Euton, etc dont develop, they still will be coming to UK. That is good from an ethical standpoint, but sure puts a LOT of pressure on the staff to identify talent early on.[SIC]
Gillispie has said that with respect to recruiting, his word is his bond. Matt appears to be suggesting (or passing on the suggestion of others) that it really isn't so. Maybe I am misreading him here, but how else do these guys not make it to UK?
Let's hope for UK's sake that Matt's sources are wrong, that all these guys develop, and that all three make it here. Kentucky in general and Gillispie in particular cannot afford to be seen as vascillating on this point, as it is a cornerstone of Gillispie's "I'm just an old country boy and my word is stronger than oak" persona (Jerry McGuire reference intended).