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Free! Free at Last!

Jeez, what a day.  I haven't had a second to do anything except a few one liners and quick reads.

First of all, thanks to JL for picking up the slack.  The Force is very strong with him, and he can sense when I am out of pocket.

Even after looking into the situation, I still have no idea what is going on with Beas Hamga, except he has drawn a bit of a UK blogswarm today.  Maybe it is a false alarm, but this time of year, it doesn't take much to get people talking.

First, a bit of background.  Hamga decommitted from Iowa after Steve Alford left for New Mexico.  He is now apparently looking at such worthies as UNLV, Tennessee, Indiana, Florida, Kentucky, UConn, Georgetown and Memphis.  Matt Jones had a post earlier today that suggested perhaps Hamga has met all requirements to go into 2007's class, but JL tells us below that a post in the pay section of TCP is suggesting this may not be right.  Chris Diggs blog over at the Courier-Journal also has an entry on Hamga.

We'll update this story as soon as we have something to tell you.

The Fake Gimel Martinez at FireBilly.Com sent me a note today pointing out that Billy Gillispie got his first job from none other than ... Hal Mumme.  Yes, that Hal Mumme, the Parrothead former coach of the football Wildcats.  Check it out.

Aarons blog, which is an awesome resource  for UK basketball news, has this article from the Charleston Daily Mail that says Bob Huggins and West Virgina are no longer a player for Patrick Patterson due to a dearth of scholarships.

Speaking of Patrick Patterson, we had a great diary today by diarist Cat Merrill asking some hard questions about Patterson's recruitment.  This is the one I would like to take up, briefly:
That reminds me, Patterson and Lucas seem to be acting pretty selfishly to me in dragging this whole thing out.  I commend them for waiting until the late signing period.  This seems to have served both well.  They will play for the coach they like.  If they play for Gillispie, it will be because they chose Gillispie.  Also, it seems to have been good PR for both of them (see Gary Parish's editorial about throwing one's "wait" around).  But, am I crazy, or aren't they hurting every program that they don't eventually sign for?  If Kentucky were not fighting for Patterson, Pettigrew might look a little better.  Gillispie even told Pettigrew that Gillispie needed more time.  This could be the case with any recruit.  Hell, Gillispie can't even go after Sanchez (or anyone else, for that matter) full force, can he?  UK's hands are tied because Jai and Patrick are stringing us (and MANY others) along.

I think at this point (and Cat Merrill draws this conclusion at the end of his post) that Patterson may be holding out to give Gillispie a chance.  At this point, most of the things that could have been giving him pause about any particular school have been resolved -- coaches have settled, players have pretty much settled, etc. -- so the reasons for his slow dance have been reduced to almost nothing that we know of.

Patterson is "stringing us along", but as you can see from Gillispie's moves lately, the coaching staff is working hard to make Patterson's commitment irrelevant.  That is the payback you get when you string schools out long enough -- players always become available, and you wind up looking over your shoulder.  K at Duke won't sacrifice 2007 on the altar of a Patterson decision, I can assure you, and neither will Donovan.  So Patterson is playing a game of cat and mouse, but he may wind up the mouse before it's all over.

But as far as I am concerned, he has a perfect right to do what he is doing, and Kentucky has a perfect right to try to find a replacement for him  in order to avoid a situation where we have a too-weak front line next year.  The way I see it, no harm, no foul.

It seems to me that if we really do get into a discussion with Hamga about coming out in '07, it may well force Patterson or Sanchez's hand.  Right now there is room for both, but if Gillispie offers a ride to Hamga, either Patterson or Sanchez are the odd man out, barring some scholarship sleight-of-hand.  But this may all be premature, as I said above.

Recruiting Wars has a post today about something I did not know -- every NCAA tournament game is now available on DVD.  That is very cool, and I may have to get my hands on a couple of those (The Greatest Game Ever Played, perhaps?).  Those with extensive video libraries of their own recordings will not find this tidbit that interesting (this means you, FBB!).

The AP has named Steffphon Pettigrew Kentucky Player of the Year.  I sure hope we didn't mess up not offering this guy ...

Big Blue Cats tells us Larry "Little Mo" Conley, former "Rupp's Runts" teammate of Pat Riley (and others) will be inducted into the UK Hall of Fame.  And about time, too.

Here is a Duke fan's take on Patrick Patterson.  I am kind of torn as to where I would rather Patterson wind up if he doesn't matriculate to UK.  I loathe Duke as all UK fans must, but I am starting to dislike the Gators quite a lot as well.  Hmmm ... Well, I guess I'd have to flip a coin.