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Catching up from the weekend

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This weekend found me out of the house for most of it, doing life-related things like golf, horse race handicapping and barbecue.  It's all good, but my blog posting suffered.

This morning, we are going to look at a couple of the significant items in the news this weekend, starting with recruiting.

There are two UK recruits that I have quite frankly had enough of, and I rather hope wind up elsewhere:  Willie Warren and Scotty Hopson.

I have always been cool on Hopson.  This kid is a talent, but in my opinion, is not UK material.  He appears to have an unabashed "me first" attitude, and he doesn't seem to care who knows it.  He plays well when he wants to, and poorly when he doesn't.  He has a lot of Rashaad Carruth in him, although he seems to express it somewhat less permanently.

Hopson has verbally committed to Mississippi State University, and as far as this Kentucky fan is concerned, Rick Stansbury is welcome to him, and to the problems he will likely create.  Hopson has tepidly confirmed his commitment to MSU recently, but I notice that nobody who has watched his game mentions anything about his defense or team play, only his ability to score.  I admit to being less than enthusiastic about players who appear to care only about themselves.

My opinion about Willie Warren is very much the same.  There have been reports that Warren wants to be a one-and-done, and has publicly expressed less interest in UK due what he perceives as a glut of guards there.  Said Warren to the Courier-Journal:

"I want to get in and make an immediate impact," Warren said. "I don't want to go to a school where if I don't play well right away, I can be substituted for."

Players who are concerned more about playing time than the opportunity to be on a national championship team always make it hard for me to want them to come here.  Warren is reportedly interested in being a one-and-done player, and although that shouldn't automatically disqualify him as a recruit by any means, his concern about minutes suggests that he is likely a selfish, scoring-oriented player who will not fit particularly well in a Gillispie team.

Now, before some of you jump up and tell me to mind my own business, let the coach recruit and trust his judgment, keep in mind that offering opinions on what the coach and the team do, and the players we recruit, is  what we do here at A Sea of Blue.  Kentucky fans, particularly the readers of this blog, have shown themselves to be astute observers of our program, and not every recruit pleases every fan.  I do trust Coach Gillispie to make good decisions (unless he unexpectedly proves unworthy of that trust), and he knows more about these guys than I do, presumably -- recruiting is pretty much all he has been doing since he got here.

Still, I unabashedly admit to being quite old-fashioned about my basketball players, and a big fan of "commitment" players like Patrick Patterson, Jodie Meeks and apparently Rotnei Clarke:

At 6-foot-3 and 197 pounds, Warren has four inches and 22 pounds on Clarke. Yet Clarke, who compensates for his lack of size with quick, decisive movement and a jaw-jutting fearlessness, isn't as concerned about Kentucky's commitments.

Guys like Patterson, Meeks, and Clarke winners in their mind as well as in their abilities, and they care more about the team than their own individual performance.  They don't fear competition for minutes because they know they can contribute, and are more concerned about team outcome than showcasing their talent.  Chuck Hayes was the very embodiment of a "commitment" player, and I can't think of a fan of UK basketball over the last 15 years or so who wouldn't include Chuck among their favorites.

In other news, Mike DeCourcy gives Billy Gillispie's recruiting prowess a glowing review in what amounts to an in-your-face rebuttal of The Loathsome Troll Jeff Goodman's article that we commented on the other day.  As I have said many times, I like DeCourcy. Not because he is a fan of UK -- he isn't -- but because of his generally even hand and generally interesting content.

Finally, our friends over at Orange and Blue Hue can't get enough of what they call the "Gillispie Gambit", and are apparently gloating a little over what they see as a negative comment by GJ Villarino.  Via Go Big Blue Cats.

Update [2007-7-9 14:51:13 by Truzenzuzex]:  BullyBasketball, a Mississippi State University roundball blogger, says the Kentucky press is spinning the facts on Hopson.  Speaking only for myself, I hope Hopson honors his commitment to MSU.  It is true, however, that matters of ethics are not my only motivation here (see my comments above).

Rock Chalk Talk, the SBN Kansas Jayhawk blog, asks "Do We Really Want Willie Warren?"  I know that as far as this UK fan is concerned, Kansas can have him, and welcome.  But I think rockchalk has the same concerns I do, and only his trust of Bill Self keeps him from heartily wishing Warren elsewhere, as well.