Ludicrous, I know, I know ... but bear with me.
The reason I post this is not because the football Wildcats are going to win the BCS title or anything. It's because of recruiting.
Much has been made of Tubby Smith's recent recruiting "issues," though little seems to have been made of the fact that the state of Kentucky has produced the following elite (top 100 RSCI) college players in the last five years:
- Jared Carter, Georgetown - Ranked 99th in final rankings
- Rajon Rondo, Louisville - Transferred to Oak Hill
- Carlos Hurt, Louisville - Moved to KY in HS, left UL team
- Brandon Bender, Louisville - See Hurt, Carlos
In that same time, Florida and LSU have emerged as legit national contenders (esp. Florida, obviously) powered at least in part by in-state recruits. Ditto North Carolina, Kansas and Michigan State.
This doesn't necessarily give Tubby a pass, but think about how difficult it is to get kids away from home, and then magnify that by adding no in-state quality. Therein lies your recruiting struggles.
Meanwhile, football is becoming king for talented athletes in the bluegrass state. In recent years, Corey Peters (UK), Brian Brohm (UL), Eric Shelton (FSU/UL) and others have ranked in the top 25-50 recruits, and Louisville has emerged as a national contender.
The thought here? As long as basketball recruits continue to be subpar, Kentucky will always be competing nationally for recruits in basketball.
Maybe they should put some growth syrum in the Kentucky water, eh?