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Gillispie's news conference -- thoughts and repercussions

Coach Gillispie gave us an end of season media availability yesterday, and three were several bits of news created by that press conference.  We have already hit the highlights about Derrick Jasper's homesickness and Morakinyo Williams' likely transfer.  But there were several other things that Gilllispie discussed that need to be considered.  Since we have discussed Jasper's potential transfer at length, and there is really nothing new out of the presser to add to what has already been said, we will leave that aside for now.

Williams' likely transfer

It has been speculated for months that Morakinyo Williams and Jared Carter may consider a transfer.  Carter has been the subject of many more rumors than Williams, but Matt May at The Cats Pause was the most recent to posit a very reasonable case that Carter would be staying and Williams likely leaving (subscription required).  Of course, Williams may change his mind, but given Gillispie's comment, I do not think so.  Williams' transfer will open up a scholarship for one of the other players Kentucky is currently recruiting:  Henriquez, Harrellson, Sutton or Majok.  There is a little more today on Majok and his visit this past weekend in a couple of articles at the Courier-Journal and also one at the Herald-Leader.

JUCO recruitment

Gillispie also said that he would prefer to recruit high school players, but right now, we need immediate help.  I think he is right, but our previous experience with JUCO's hasn't been such that we would expect one to come in and be an immediate impact player.  The only time I can recall that happening is with Rodney "Moon" Dent back during the Pitino era.  Dent came in and had an immediate impact on the team, adding significant skill at center and helping Kentucky make the Final Four in 1992-93.  The only player in recent history to have a significant impact from a backcourt position was Dale Brown, who had some great games in his first year (1991-92) and many games where he just didn't contribute much.  But he really grew into a good player his second year at Kentucky.

Patrick Patterson and Jodie Meeks

Gillispie said that Patterson and Meeks appear to be on a healing path that will put them well ahead of the schedule that the doctors established for them.  That is encouraging news, because they cannot get better away from the court.

Perry Stevenson

Gillispie said that Perry Stevenson had a "fantastic" spring, and that there is "a different resolve" about him.  That is very encouraging news.  Kentucky currently returns only two proven scorers to next season's team, and both of them are currently down with injury (although they will surely be back in time for next season).  Having Stevenson develop into a consistent 12 or 14 point and 6 or 7 rebound per game threat would be a big help.  It seems that Stevenson is finally beginning to realize his considerable potential that we saw in flashes in his freshman year, and that is a very good thing.

Billy Gilispie

Finally, we discover that the OSU rumors were likely not as unfounded as we might have hoped.  Gillispie is telling the press that "no decision-makers" from Oklahoma State contacted him, but reading between the lines, it seems very likely that he was contacted unofficially and "felt out" about the position.  What we don't know is whether OSU's ultimate lack of serious interest was due to his reaction to those feelers, or to a decision taken at OSU not to go in his direction.  The article I linked at the beginning of this paragraph discusses the situation sheds no real light on exactly what happened, and it is likely that most of us will never know exactly what was said.

So it seems that we have a lot to think about.  What will the team look like next year?  We don't know yet, and I suppose we will not know until the players who are considering transfer actually decide one way or another.  When will that happen?  I don't know, but I would guess it won't be too much longer, perhaps by the end of the month.  The late signing period runs through May 21st, and I am reasonably sure we will have decisions by all concerned before then.