Daily Archives: January 7, 2013
There’s this thing about Deadlines.
They make you a little lazy. You kind of build yourself in to a false sense of security. You see a decision day or a day you have to get something done, and you think “well, I’ve got plenty of time, and I think i know how I’m going to do it.”
Then, decision day deadline comes, and you freak out. You realize the way you wanted to do things just isn’t going to work. Self-doubt comes in the closer you get, and you end up reverting back away from your original plans to the safest method, just to make sure that when it passes, you still feel good about it because you got it done, and you made the right decision in the end.
Now, you have Andrew Wiggins, who eventually at some point this year will have to decide where he wants to play college basketball, either Florida State or Kentucky.
Right now, in his head, maybe Florida State is the leader. His parents went there. One of his best friends Xavier Rathan-Mayes is going there. The girls are hot and the weather is nice. It’s a perfect world in a sense. People are telling him how awesome he is, and maybe he wants to get a chance at Jabari Parker twice a year.
Seems like the life.
But, here’s the thing, the closer you get to the ultimate decision day, there’s always a little doubt. The “what ifs” start to creep in. They start with the list of players that Leonard Hamilton has put in the NBA. Now Wiggins will not have to worry about getting to the NBA, but draft position is important.
Take for example what Chad Ford said after Shabazz Mohammad committed to UCLA. That now on his Mock Drafts, he would have to start looking at dropping Shabazz, all because he decided not to go to Kentucky.
Andrew Wiggins could still be the #1 pick in the draft going to Florida State. It’s likely that he will be, but….
It’s important to note that the gap between Wiggins and the rest of the field in 2013 isn’t as great as it was when he was the 2014 class. Yes, he’s a special talent. So are the Harrison Twins. So is Julius Randle. So is Jabari Parker. So is Aaron Gordon. All of those guys will have a chance to prove on a national stage why they deserve to be the #1 pick. Say the team with the #1 pick needs a point guard? What if they need a big man? The obvious answer is to still take the top player on the board, but what if he never got to distinguish himself against top competition, while maybe someone else did?
Looking at it now, those aren’t really likely scenarios, but, those are questions that will be raised as we get closer to actually making the decision.
In the end it will come down to what is best for Andrew Wiggins. You want girls, there are girls at UK. The guys that are coming to UK next year all seem to be great guys and you’ll get along with them, and you can still be friends with XRM. You can make your parents happy when you sign the lease on their new house you buy with your Rookie Bonus check.
So ultimately, after all the bull is put aside, the question is, who gets me the most ready for the NBA? Who solidifies me being the #1 pick? Coach Calipari who has put 15 players in the NBA in the past 3 drafts (including 2 #1 overall picks, 8 one and done players), or Coach Hamilton who has put 4 players in the NBA over the same period, only 1 first round pick (Chris Singleton, who is currently averaged 4 minutes per game). The only player comparable to Andrew Wiggins that Hamilton coached was Von Wafer, who entered his career at Florida State as the #15 recruit in the country. During his two years at Florida State, he slipped in the minds of NBA executives, and ended up being drafted in the 2nd round, 39th overall.
So for now, Evan Daniels and other analysts can say that Andrew Wiggins would be a Seminole if his decision was today, because frankly, his decision is not today. When it comes to that day though, I predict they will be singing a different tune.
Go Big Blue!
For comparison sake, this guy=John Wall. Yep.
We are now just 30 days away from National Signing Day, and Ky Cat Stats will be bringing to you a series of posts between now and then to get you ready for it.
We are now past the dead period and coaches have already begun contacting and visiting with players in bulk.
The big news from the past weekend obviously was the commitment of cornerback Jaleel Hytchye. Jaleel is one of the top recruits in the Cincinnati area, and is a 4* player according to ESPN, who has him as the #24 CB in the country. His commitment comes on the heels of Louisville nailing down top wide receiver James Quick. Fitting.
UK was represented in homes across the country this weekend also, as coaches were out visiting in full force. Coach Peveto was in Louisiana to visit with players from John Curtis, who ended the season as the #1 high school team in America. Of particular interest was his visit with Duke Riley, a linebacker at the school who has a gray-shirt offer from LSU, and is also being recruited by Ole Miss and TCU. Duke will be visiting Kentucky the first weekend in February, giving UK the last shot at nailing down his services before he has to make a decision.
Peveto also visited Houston commit wide Receiver Donald Gage, and Riley’s teammate OL Anthony Taylor.
Meanwhile, new running backs coach Chad Scott was in Florida over the weekend to visit with Marques Valdes. According to rivals.com, Valdez is a 3* recruit, and the decision appears to be coming down to either NC State or Kentucky. He also has offers from Cincinnati and Houston, and will be visiting UK the weekend of 11/18.
Jeff Drummond of Kentucky Scout got in touch with JUCO Defensive Tackle Jerran Reed who will be taking a visit to UK the weekend of 11/25. He has offers from Ole Miss, North Carolina and Florida, and is reportedly a soft verbal to Ole Miss. Reed was actually roommates with recent Kentucky commit Za’Darius Smith, and was coached by new Defensive Line Coach Jimmy Brumbaugh.
I’ve already said it before, but you really can not downplay the importance of the upcoming weekend is going to be for UK football recruiting. On one hand, you have many committed players come up on campus. On the other hand, you have some of the highest ranked recruits that you’ve ever had on campus coming up on the same weekend.
The big prize visiting this week is the #1 ranked Dual-Threat QB in America, Asiantii Woulard. Woulard is currently being recruited by UK, NC State, and USF, but scuttlebutt is that Florida has recently reached out to Woulard. It is uncertain at this point if he will be receiving an offer from Florida, but the general consensus seems to be if Florida offers, it will make it tough for UK to land him. Still, with the style of offensive Neal Brown runs compared to Brent Pease, well, UK should have a shot.
After Woulard the next biggest prize would have to be Ra’Shaad Samples, current Oklahoma State commit. With UK losing on James Quick, pushing tOSU closer to offering Ryan Timmons, some of the other Wide Receiver recruits that UK is after become more important. It starts with Samples, as his commitment would be the perfect off-set for Louisville landing Samples, and hedges your bet in case Timmons ends up somewhere other than UK.
Next, Kentucky will have current USC commit Jason Hatcher on campus as well. The 4* Defensive End from Louisville is reportedly looking around since Monte Kiffin has been let go at USC and things are in a general mess under Lane Kiffin. Not to mention the heat he’s received in Louisville since committing to USC, may have him re-thinking his decision, and possibly heading to Kentucky to further stick it to his Louisville haters. Just a thought (a hope).
That’s just a few of the guys that will be on campus though. Others include Kyle Meadows (3* OT), Antoine Miles (3* DE), Lovell Patterson (3* DL/C), JoJo Kemp (3* RB), Janarion Grant (3* WR), Aregeros Turner (3* RB), all to go along with two guys who may have been the best commits of the Joker era for this class, Alvonte Bell and Blake McClain. It certainly doesn’t hurt that McClain is a High School teammate of Asiantii Woulard. UK will also be visited by teammate of Kyle Meadows, 2014 running back Mikel Horton.
That’s all for now, we will be updating this week and next week as we get closer to Signing Day: 2013. Stay tuned……
WCS is becoming a beast for UK!
In some interesting and very exciting news Willie Cauley-Stein has been named SEC Freshman of the Week.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Freshman Willie Cauley-Stein became the fourth Kentucky player to earn a Southeastern Conference weekly award this season when he was tabbed the league’s top performing freshman it was announced on Monday morning.
Cauley-Stein became the first UK player to tally multiple double-double efforts this season with 11 points and 11 boards in a 90-38 win over Eastern Michigan on Wednesday. He was efficient from the field with a 5-for-6 day, while also contributing to a stifling defensive effort by the Cats.
The Olathe, Kan., native added two blocks and a pair of steals en route to UK limiting the Eagles to just 38 points on a .242 shooting clip. Both the point total and shooting percentage were the lowest allowed in the four-year John Calipari era.
The SEC honor is the first of Cauley-Stein’s career. He joins teammates Archie Goodwin and Alex Poythress as other Freshman of the Week honorees. Sophomore Kyle Wiltjer has also earned SEC Player of the Week accolades this season.
Kentucky returns to the floor when it opens up SEC play at Vanderbilt on Thursday at 9 p.m. ET. The game will air live on ESPN.
A lot of people are excited about UK football right now, and that includes yours truly. We marvel at the recruiting prowess of Mark Stoops as he’s already upgraded the current recruiting class with the 2 JUCO players that are currently committed, and the recent commitment of Jaleel Hytchye, one of the top prospects in the Cincinnati area.
Call-in shows are still packed with people wanting to talk some football, in January, for a “basketball school”, while said basketball team is playing games, even on game days. It’s really remarkable. Twitter is full of Kentucky fans following UK recruits and taking interest in the football recruiting process. Even on days when UK lands the #1 Center in the country, Dakari Johnson, fans were lined up to congratulate Jaleel for his commitment to UK on the same day.
We’re acting like a football school.
But it can’t end here. We can’t just get past signing day and let interest wane as the basketball season concludes and the Spring game come and goes.
If you want to be a big time football school, you got to act like.
It starts with the Spring game this April. I know, Keeneland is the same day, I get it. Still, this staff and the current players (and potential future players), need to see that Kentucky can sell out Commonwealth for a Spring Game. Turn it in to an event. Get out, tailgate, have a great time, and go in and cheer on the team. Make it a celebration of Signing Day and the new coaching regime. Let’s put up the Air Raid sirens for touchdowns.
There’s no excuse for a mostly empty Commonwealth Stadium. Keeneland, weather, doesn’t matter, you need to be there if you can make it. It’s free to go.
Travel like a football school. Kentucky opens the season in Nashville, which normally would stink but this time it’s against up and coming Western Kentucky, who is now coached by long time nemesis Bobby Petrino. The game is on a Saturday night, so you can make it a weekend. Let’s take over Nash-vegas, and win or lose, signal our arrival as a football fan base.
You may not feel like there’s much you can do as a fan to help the football program establish itself as a power, but I guarantee you that if you take these steps, we will be able to start taking some strides.
Joker used to say that he always sold the Big Blue Nation to recruits, and I never understood why because fan support seemed to small comparatively. Now though, I’ve seen just how big that Big Blue Nation truly is in regards to football. If we can keep up the excitement, recruits will see it, players we’ll see it, and players will want to come here, and lay it all on the line week in and week out.
The coaching staff will take it the rest of the way.
Go Big Blue!