Cats fans - -and Cats coaches -- hope that tonight the first domino has fallen in what will be a dynamic blueprint for the future of Kentucky basketball. According to Matt Jones at KSR, and confirmed by the guys at Cats Pause (Rivals.com), 6'8" swing forward Aj Stewart of Florida has committed to the Bluegrass State's flagship University.
Positive feelings were abounding about Stewart since he made his intentions fairly clear in interviews about three weeks ago. By postponing interest in some schools (Illinois principal among them) and outright shunning the overtures of others (Florida, most notably), Stewart made his interest in the Wildcats clearly known.
But like any prudent recruit, he and his family saw the process out, if for no other reason than to enjoy the sort of trip Kentucky delivered them. As I had hoped, it sounds like Tubby's decision to have the kids recruit each other was a smart one. Stewart is already starting to talk to Jai Lucas and Patrick Patterson about their choices for college.
Stewart is a great recruit for Tubby Smith: improving, multidimensional and extremely enthusiastic. If history holds, this could be a very good thing for UK fans.
Thus far, Kentucky has a rising center in Mike Williams, and now a 3-4 combo talent in AJ Stewart. With Jai Lucas and Paatrick Patterson strongly considering joining Stewart in the Blue and White, the wheels are now definitely in motion.
Update [2006-10-15 23:54:23 by JL Blue]: Mike Brent over at TCP has been doing an outstanding job with the updates this evening. His Patterson interview post-visit is very positive, and I certainly don't think Tubby can be said to have left any stops un-pulled this weekend. Now it's up to Patterson to either finish his last visit -- Virginia, Nov. 4 -- or make his decision. Florida is a formidable option there.
Let's just hope Patrick understands the difference between winning and winning at Kentucky.