clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

This whole thing is getting scary ...

Yes, I said it -- scary.

What a difference three months makes!  Three months ago, many in the Big Blue Nation were still wringing their hands over recruiting, wondering how we were ever going to stay up with the Pitinos.

Now, we know.

Suddenly, three high-school all-stars have matriculated to Kentucky, the latest being DeAndre Liggins of Chicago, and it doesn't seem to stop there.

Take a look at the recruiting board that JL so thoughtfully and carefully constructed the other day.  The 2008 class, even if we carry over a scholarship from 2007, is starting to get full, with many high-quality players of all shapes and sizes still on the board for 2008.

And more are being added every day, it seems.  Two more names not on that list, but probably soon to be added, are Greg Echenique and Ian Markolf.  Already, just sticking to JL's list, we have no less than 12 scholarship offers to fill a remaining two scholarships, and coach Gillispie doesn't seem to be done offering players yet.

This is an entirely new approach to recruiting for Wildcat fans, and it has some a little concerned.  For all the world, it looks like Gillispie is offering as many good players as he can, and just taking the first guys to commit.  It would be an understatement to say that this approach is rather different from that of Tubby Smith.

Now comes word from Jeff Goodman that Liggins may consider a prep year before coming to UK, and if that happens, it would look like a good thing on paper.  But with no junior class, UK has no players slated to leave in 2009, and Kentucky already has one and possibly two players recruited there -- GJ Villarino and maybe Liggins.  

For 2010 we should have 5 available scholarships, but one of those is taken by Dakotah Euton and another is likely to be give to Trae Golden, who is widely considered the next domino likely to fall.

So, what does all this mean?  Well, quite frankly, I don't know -- we have seen over-recruiting at UK before -- Tubby did it back in 2004 when we had 6 signees for only 4 available scholarships, but one was a transfer and the other was to prep, and again in 2002 when we brought in 4 with only 2 scholarships available, but two other players left.

History tells us that when we over-recruit, we find a way to get the scholarships -- be it a hardship like Marquis Estill or an academic like Ravi Moss.  We have always found a way, and I am confident that Gillispie has a plan for how to deal with any overload.

Still, some Wildcat fans find it all a bit disconcerting, and that is certainly understandable -- most fans don't want to go back to the old days of Pitino when players recruited over often had their scholarships virtually withdrawn, but we also don't want to go back to two years ago with Tubby Smith, where we failed to locate enough players to fill our junior class.  We need to give coach Gillispie the benefit of the doubt for now, and watch how this all shakes out.

But the really exciting part comes in the fall.  As good as Gillispie's Aggies team was last year, he has never coached as much talent as he will have at UK this year, and the thought of what he may be able to do with all that young talent, even with a thin front line, has many of us very excited.  No more do I here talk wondering how we are going to be competitive, that question has been answered -- we are going to do so by getting great players.  The question now is, how are we going to find scholarships for them all?

One thing for sure -- this is the most interesting summer around the Bluegrass in a very long time.

SB Nation Kansas blog Rock Chalk Talk has more on the Liggins/Warren/Clarke recruitment from the viewpoint of the Jayhawks.  Doesn't the Gillispie/Self tug of war now rearing its head remind you of previous Donovan/Smith battles?