The next Michael Jordan. The next Patrick Ewing. The next Steve Nash. The next Adam Morrison.
Whether you realize it or not, the moustachioed Bulldog turned Bobcat is the next big thing. And like all next big things, searching for a talent in any way resemblant to Morrison's is well under way.
For envious Wildcats fans, such a player is a dream. Kentucky basketball tradition is chock full of the awkwardly talented hoopsters, from Bill Spivey to Tayshaun Prince. In some ways, it's quite fitting in a very Kentucky way. Whether that has played any role in the kind of players who feel most comfortable on the UK campus, and around Lexington, who knows? Regardless, the school's greatest player (Dan Issel) and it's biggest recruits ever (Sam Bowie, Rex Chapman, Jamal Mashburn, Prince) were all freakishly talented in not-that-traditional way.
Ergo, it's no surprise that Morrison was the kind of player that most UK fans would loved to have (minus, perhaps the crying). Believe it or not, Kentucky basketball may be closer to having such a talent than you think.
Meet Reeves Nelson.
Yes, Reeves Nelson, sophomore-to-be at Modest Christian High School, which, if it sounds familiar, is none other than the private school cum basketball powerhouse coached by the father of current freshman Michael Porter, and the alma mater of Wildcats legend Chuck Hayes.
Who was saying Tubby has no idea what he's doing?
I can't say with any certainty that Smith's interest in Porter (Jr.) has anything to do with Reeves, in fact I'd be inclined to say it doesn't. But I will say with some confidence that Tubby knows enough to massage any connections he has with basketball powerhouse schools because you never know who's coming down the pike. Just ask Steve Smith at Oak Hill Academy.
The Herald-Leader initially scooped on the Reggie Hanson visit recently, and by the looks of things, Reeves in indeed one to watch for the Cats in the 2009 class.
You read that right, 2009.
So who is Nelson? According to internet reports, he's a streaky scorer with what was repeatedly called "an extremely high basketball IQ" and the skills to make it matter. At 6'6" and wiry, the not-yet-16 Reeves has impressed a predominantly West Coast audience with rebounding acumen and a nose for the tough shot.
Sounds familiar, doesn't it?
His high school coach, Gary Porter, aforementioned father of Michael, knows Nelson is key to his team's success in 2006-07.
Modesto Christian High School has produced several Division I talents in recent years, including Richard Midgley (Cal) Hayes (UK) and current BYU freshman Luiz de Toledo and new Washington Huskie Adrian Oliver.
Oliver, a UK target last season, said that Reeves would be "the next big thing at MC."
At this stage, it's hard to know where UK stands with Reeves. West Coast kids are notoriously hard to get to come east, though it's been easier for Tubby than some.
Regardless, count this observer as one whose interest is piqued, and I'd love to see more of Reeves. Gonzaga is interested, that is for sure.