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Kentucky Basketball: Are We There Yet?

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It seems to me like this march to our last two recruit signings has taken months and months -- because it has.  I can't recall a time in UK history when we had this much suspense about recruiting at this point in the year.  Simply amazing.

I am sure this will come as no surprise to anyone, but I have been reading a lot of frustration in the postings of UK fans about the never-ending recruitment of Jai Lucas and Patrick Patterson.  I am beginning to wonder if the BBN will forgive them for the ridiculously slow recruiting dance they have forced upon us if they do decide to play at Kentucky.  I suppose fans will forget about it if they come, but the negative comments are coming more often and more strongly now than ever before.

The big news over the weekend was that Taurean Green, former Florida starting point guard has signed with an agent and thereby ended his college career.  He now apparently plans to try to raise his standing in the pre-draft camps.

I actually think this is not a bad move for Green, because he isn't likely to improve his standing much next year.  Plus, with the likes of O.J. Mayo and others coming out at the point next year, competition at his position is only going to get tougher.

What this all means to us, though, is that Jai Lucas now has only Walter Hodge ahead of him on the depth chart were he to matriculate to Florida, and Hodge is truly a combo guard who served as backup to green last year.  Hodge is a good shooter, but not nearly the distributor and blow-by threat that Green was.  Thus, the prospect of significant playing time next year for Lucas if he goes to Florida just went up dramatically.

As was reported earlier and covered in my previous post, Tyler Zeller will be visiting Kentucky today.  Who is Tyler Zeller?  He is a 6'11" 215# center from Washington, Indiana.  He has excellent athleticism and skill for his size, has a face up game as well as back-to-the-basket, and has been careening up the charts after some outstanding AAU performances recently.  He is currently ranked #105 by Rivals, but this article suggests he will be a 5-star (top 25) next time the rankings are evaluated.

Zeller has also been offered a scholarship by none other than Tubby Smith at Minnesota.  Zeller is described as "extremely poised" with the ball with an "impressive mid-range touch.

Notably, Zeller plays on the same AAU team as another Kentucky recruit, Beas Hamga, and apparently, Zeller has been taking his minutes lately.  If we were able to land Hamga, it might bode well for our chances with Zeller.  Matt Jones has a nice interview with Zeller on his site today.

Speaking of Beas Hamga, Matt Jones also tells us that he described his UNLV visit as "OK", though we still don't really know about the somewhat silly rumor that he was taken to the De La Hoya/Mayweather fight (which, by the way, Mayweather won in a split decision).

So there we go -- that's the big recruiting news of the day so far.  More later ...

As a follow on to the article we reported on yesterday about Billy Donovan's talks with the Memphis Grizzlies, Dick "Hoops" Weiss writes that the Grizzlies just flat balked at Donovan's demands.  Weiss also reports that he thinks Donovan's new contract will pay him close to $3 million/year.  Update [2007-5-7 17:54:11 by Truzenzuzex]: has and article specifically rebutting the stories about Billy Donovan interviewing for the Grizzlies job. Hat tip:

KSR's Marc Maggard has a huge AAU report featuring lots of players, UK-interested and otherwise.  If you haven't been there yet, get thee hence.  Donovan's NBA aspirations also figure somewhat prominently near the bottom.  Your mileage may vary.

Rivals has the top eight list out now for 2008, and Wildcat fans will recognize several of them, including Willie Warren and Greg Monroe.