After a summer lull, the ever-so-tangled world of basketball recruiting kicks into high gear, with coaches making in-home visits and schools hosting not only seniors-to-be, but also high school juniors and even sophomores. All in an attempt to cater to the whims and wants of prep kids.
From Kentucky's POV, this week is huge. Tubby has taken it upon himself to personally recruit his main targets, and he'll get his first taste of success or failure with a slew of sit-downs in family rooms this week.
First and foremost (in more than one way) is Tubby Smith's visit to Huntington, WV, to offset the whirlwind official visit top UK forward target Patrick Patterson had this weekend in Gainesville, Fla.
Gators coach Billy Donovan smartly gathered most of his big recruiting prospects this past weekend to see the current Gators receive their national title rings at the UF football game. Scout.com's post-visit interview has Patrick giving the visit a '10' rating. In the interest of self-delusion, I will say that nearly all recruits come off as blown away immediately after returning, and why not? Schools pamper, cajole and thoroughly ham it up when kids come to town, so it always looks perfect.
Tubby continues his in-homes on Tuesday with Chris Barnes from Atlanta, Thursday with J.J. Hickson of Marietta, GA, and Saturday with point guard Jai Lucas of Houston. There is also word that Tubby may have already or soon will be paying a visit to Pennsylvania's Morris twins (Markieff & Marcus).
While UK doesn't have any 2006 bling to throw around, it does get to show most of these above names plus some hot other targets (A.J. Stewart of Florida, Georgia's Marhsall Moses, in-staters Scotty Hopson, Darius Miller and Stephon Pettigrew (?)) what it's like to be numero uno. In Florida, basketball is always second-best, NCAA titles or no.
Will all of UK's targets stay on the board until October rolls around? So far, so good, as Patterson resisted any urges to commit to the Gators. Hopefully Tubby can show him why it's prudent to wait, and explain how UK is the best place for the big kid from WVA to hang his collegiate hat.