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Where we stand with basketball recruting 2008

I am going to attempt to examine where we stand in recruiting for the 2008 class, tying together many diverse sources.  I am quite positive I will get it wrong, somehow, but it's worth the effort.

First of all, where do we stand with respect to scholarships.  This blog post over at My Old KY Gnome does a good job of breaking it down, so I will shamelessly purloin his example for my own selfish purposes, but unlike him, I shall include Ramon Harris. 

Players who appear certain to return at this point:

  1. Michael Porter
  2. Jodie Meeks
  3. Patrick Patterson
  4. Perry Stevenson
  5. Jared Carter
  6. AJ Stewart
  7. Ramon Harris

Players who are known to be considering transfer:

  1. Derrick Jasper
  2. Morakinyo Williams

Incoming players who have signed NLOI's:

  1. DeAndre Liggins
  2. Kevin Galloway
  3. Darius Miller

So here is how it works -- if no players transfer, we have 1 scholarship left to give.  If Williams transfers, which is widely expected, we have 2.  Jasper looks more and more like a transfer every day, which would leave a whopping 3 scholarships available for 2008, in addition to the 3 we have already signed.  We have seven recruits that I know of vying for as few as one and as many as three spots.  Their status, as best I can ascertain, is below:

Josh Harrellson

Harrellson is a 6'9-10" 260# center/power forward.  Harrellson visited UK last weekend, and came away very impressed.  It is reliably indicated many that UK made a big impression, and now leads comfortably for his services.   Josh is visiting St. Louis this upcoming weekend, and we will very likely know soon after that.  My impression of Harrellson, having not seen him play for even one minute, is that he is what we need the most -- help for Patterson inside.

Tru's choice:  #1
Tru's odds of being in blue next year:  75% (UK clear leader)

Nicola Kecman

Kecman is a 6'9" 215# face-the-basket player with an excellent shooting stroke.  He would likely be a 4 in college, although his rebounding statistics are much more like a 3.  He visited UK Sunday to Tuesday this week and is said to be making his college choice within 2 weeks.  Ohio State is seen as Kentucky's main competitor to Kecman, but several other schools are involved, including Ole Miss.

Tru's choice:  #3b
Tru's odds of being in blue next year:  40% (no clear leader at this point) 0% -- Signed with Ohio State

Paul McCoy

McCoy is a 6'0" 175# point guard.  McCoy decommittted from Peperdine and was in town last weekend to play in the Kentucky Derby Festival Classic.  He was said to have enjoyed his visit and is said by some to be a Kentucky lean at this point.  In the DFC, I thought McCoy was the least impressive of the Kentucky recruits, and nearly disappeared in the game.  He is athletic and has a good handle, though, so he is certainly a serviceable point guard.  Others recruiting McCoy include Virginia, SMU and Washington State

Tru's choice:  #6
Tru's odds of being in blue next year:  60% (no clear leader, but said to be leaning toward UK)

Ater Majok

Majok is a 6'10", 215# international player from Sudan via Australia.  Majok is a skilled face-the-basket player who is only going to get better, since he has only been playing organized basketball for 5 years.  He visited UK after playing in the DFC, in which he was quite impressive, shooting the ball very well with range and blocking a couple of shots.  Rivals has recently upgraded Majok from a 3* to #13 in the entire 2008 class.  Others recruiting Majok include UCLA, Kansas, Baylor and Connecticut.  Majok is visiting Connecticut this week, and is said to be considering a visit to UCLA.

Tru's choice:  #2
Tru's odds of being in blue next year:  25% (UConn clear leader, Baylor close second) 40% (Word on the street is that this is closer than previously thought)

Maurice Sutton

Sutton is a 6'10", 210# center/power forward.  Sutton really helped his cause recently with a surprisingly good performance in the Derby Festival Classic.  Sutton is long and lean, trending toward a Stevenson-like thinness. Sutton can face up and play in the post, but is the least skilled among the big men Kentucky is known to be actively recruiting.  Sutton had a conversation with Gillispie the other day, and Gillispie told him that UK did not have a scholarship available, and to be patient.  Other interested parties are Boston College, Indiana and Seton Hall.

Tru's choice: #5
Tru's odds of being in blue next year:  40% (no UK scholarship offer)

Verdell Jones

Jones is a 6'4", 160# combo guard.  He is very thin but also quite skilled, a good ballhandler, passer and shooter.  Tall for a point, he can see over the top of the defense.  Jones is currently ranked in the top 150 by Rivals.  Not much has been said about Jones lately due to the attention others have been getting, but he is still very much on the radar.  Some reports have said that Jones is leaning toward Indiana after his visit there.  Others interested in Jones' services are Indiana, Minnesota, Arizona and Oklahoma among others.

Tru's choice #4
Tru's odds of being in blue next year:  40% (no clear leader, said by some to be leaning to IU)

Roderick Flemings

Roderick Flemings is a 6'7", 210# small forward currently in the JUCO system.  Flemings just received an in-home visit from Gillispie and was apparently very impressed.  Flemings' coach has told Jerry Tipton that he thinks UK is now the leader for Flemings services.  Flemings is a skilled scoring wing considered by many as the #1 player in the junior college ranks.  He is capable of scoring from the perimeter and slashing to the basket, and would fill a much-needed void in Kentucky's roster next year.

Flemings is currently the subject of much debate in the Big Blue Nation.  Marc Maggard of Kentucky Ink has repeatedly told anyone who will listen that he has solid information that Flemings is well short of qualification.  According to Maggard's intel, Flemings will need something like 20-21 hours over the summer to qualify academically for UK, and that assumes he passes all his classes this semester. 

Having been to college myself and taking some summer school, I know that it is very hard to deal with one course with all the distractions, let alone seven.  Therefore, if Maggard is correct (and I have seen nothing which would convince me otherwise), I place Flemings' chances of qualifying for the fall semester to be somewhere between slim and none, and slim left town a month ago.  For my money, only the most dedicated of students could accomplish 21 hours in the summer, and if Flemings were that dedicated, he wouldn't be a JUCO.

Others have placed Flemings' academic burden at lower levels, but none of these others seem to have as convincing a case as Maggard.  Many argue, "why would Gillispie recruit him so hard if he knew he couldn't qualify?"  I have no answer to this question except to say that Gillispie could be interested in bringing him even if he has to wait until December.  Flemings was very highly ranked coming out of high school, but left Oklahoma after one semester to join the JUCO ranks.

Tru's choice #3a
Tru's odds of being in blue next year:  35% (likely academic issues) 0% -- See below

So there you have it -- how I see recruiting, for what it's worth.  There are other recruits out there who are not out of the realm of possibility, but these are the main ones I see.  We will have to wait a while yet to see how many scholarships are actually available, and some of these may drop off the board by the time we know.

We are a long way from knowing the shape of things to come for next year.  Stay tuned.

Update [2008-4-26 0:9:0 by Truzenzuzex]:  Flemings to Hawai'i.  Some of you may be surprised, I am not.  I think this is likely to mean Maggard's sources were accurate.

Update [2008-4-27 9:46:44 by Truzenzuzex]:  Kecman has signed with Ohio State.