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"Have I told you lately that I [might] love you?"

No one ever said that the game unto itself that is  college basketball recruiting was for the weak of heart.

Less than a week after former Florida recruit Doneal Mack showed up on UK's radar, he opted off. Best guess is he was never really on it, beyond conditionally.

Now, the on-again, off-again saga of Tyrone Nash, a 6'7" late blooming swing forward from Long Island, NY, has reared its head again.

Just days after UK media insiders, quoting "rock-solid" sources, said it was all but a done deal, apparently things have changed. What has changed? Hard to say.

One thing is for sure, none of what is occurring is helping the growing perception that Tubby Smith has recruiting troubles. Whether this year's top-15 class of solid contributors and potential high-yield upsiders would agree is debateable. But the recruitment of Nash has an ugly feel to it already, reminding many longtime Big Blue recruitniks of the famed Darius Rice recruitment, a black spot on UK fans' egos, to be sure.

What we know

  • Nash is a smart kid with close, caring parents who are less interested in his NBA stock and more interested in him finding the right fit for college, not just for hype.
  • A late bloomer, Nash is in the unfamiliar position of being a coveted commodity all of a sudden, as is often the case with spring recruits as colleges from Wichita State to Kentucky scramble to fill holes with quality (or quantity, depending).
  • Nash's family is impressed with Tubby, and wouldn't mind seeing the kid in blue and white.
  • Nash feels overwhelmed and pressured into making a decision, for significant reasons.
  • The forward's opportunities have changed dramatically, most as a result of the spotlight
UK's sudden interest placed on him. Schools such as Georgia Tech, Indiana and Notre Dame (all stronger academic programs than UK) are now in the mid, and he seems to be hedging on his once all-but-signed status.

What we don't know

  • How serious Nash and Co. are about their interest in the Cats. If they were so enamored of UK, why are they waiting to announce? Tubby has the offer on the table, and the longer they wait, the more likely it becomes that TUbby has to move on.
  • How worried Tubby is about any of this. Reports have Tubby saying the scholarship is there next year, too, if Nash wants to prep for a year. This would be a strange development for a program lacking depth in the frontcourt now and in on several top 40 bigs for 2007. Would Tubby jeopardize his chances with a Patrick Patterson or Josh Southern for a maybe from Nash, someone outside the top 200 just weeks ago?
  • How the perception of UK is affecting this recruitment. If Smith's online detractors were correct (and they rarely are), this is already -- to quote one of the more consistently unpleasant and negative nellies -- "No surprises here. Looks like YET ANOTHER Tubby recruiting failure." ... but if appearances are anything, Nash seems focused on it being his choice. Amazing as it seems to the UK faithful, some coaches don't apply professional-type pressure to 17-year-olds. I know ... pretty depressing, eh?
What's next?

Good question. I guess we wait. Monday's Herald-Leader had this nugget from Nash himself:

"I have till August to make a decision," Nash said yesterday. "I don't know how long it'll take. But I want to make a good decision."

For those of us in the Big Blue Nation without ice in our veins, that seems a tall task.