Bledsoe to UK -- What Next?

The big news this morning is the apparent matriculation of Eric Bledsoe to UK, and I don't think there is anyone in the Big Blue Nation who is not excited at the prospect of having a five-star freshman point guard on the UK team next year.  We still do not know what will happen with John Wall, but it's hard to imagine that this news will not have some kind of impact on Wall's decision-making process.  With that said, it still appears quite possible that UK could wind up with both players.  If so, I think this recruiting class would break all records as to the most highly-touted freshmen assembled in one year at the college level.

It is truly an amazing reversal of fortune to see a Kentucky program that failed to make the NCAA last year starting out the next year likely ranked in the top ten, depending on what happens with Patterson and Meeks.  I am fairly confident the young man pictured to the left will be coming back for another shot at UK glory, and the idea of having a good ball-handler and distributor like Bledsoe hitting Meeks on the wing for wide-open jump shots makes October seem so achingly distant.  I love the summertime, but this summer may well wind up being the longest in history for Wildcat basketball fans.

One thing that this commitment does (and I am working off the assumption that so many people deeply connected with UK and college basketball recruiting can't all be wrong at the same time) is take the pressure off of getting John Wall.  Wall has just become a dead luxury rather than a necessity.  Bledsoe is not as good as Wall, at least at the high school level, but he is surely good enough. 

But with all that said, one thing that neither Wall nor Bledsoe have is a reliable jump shot.  I haven't seen that much of Wall, but I saw Bledsoe in person in the Kentucky Derby Festival Classic, and his jump shot is very ugly right now, and needs a lot of work.  The good news is, Bledsoe is perhaps a better finisher at the rim than Wall is.  He is so strong in his upper body and is absolutely not afraid of contact -- the perfect penetrating point guard for the Dribble Drive Motion Offense.  He will no doubt teach some of the UK players a thing or two about playing through the contact, as John Calipari teaches.  Wall is the faster and more athletic of the two, but Bledsoe appears to be much stronger physically.

It is really very good to see UK getting almost every player they want again.  I frankly had come to believe that those days were over, but I am very pleased to find that I was mistaken in that conclusion.  If this kind of recruiting continues year over year, there is no reason whatever that UK cannot contend for a national championship almost every year, something that we have seen lately from North Carolina and Kansas.  It's about time the most storied program in college basketball history got back in the big-time game, and it's looking more and more like we got there pretty quick (even though it seems like an eternity to most Wildcat fans).  As of this moment, Kentucky basketball has a workable roster to make a deep run in the NCAA, has at least a 4-star player at every single position on the floor, and has arguably achieved the best recruiting class in the nation.

Ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, we have a point guard.  The pieces to the puzzle are almost all there, the last ones being Jodie and Patrick.  All Coach Calipari has to do is assemble them into a contender.  I'm sure that's a job he can't wait to start.

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