Patrick Patterson, the highest-rated player yet to commit, had 12 points and eight rebounds. He is considering Kentucky, Duke, Florida, Virginia, Wake Forest and West Virginia, and said the hiring of former Texas A&M coach Billy Gillispie at Kentucky this week has done little to change that.Three of the Rivals.com Top 50 high school basketball players for the class of 2008 are from the Commonwealth of Kentucky. With Billy Gillispie now at UK, I wonder what that means for Scotty Hopson (University Heights, Hopkinsville), Darius Miller (Mason County) and Bud Mackey (Scott County).
“I haven’t really talked to [Gillispie]. I don’t really know that much about him other than he had a good team last year and went to the NCAA tournament,’’ Patterson said. “It doesn’t really have that much of an effect because it’s still Kentucky and they’re still a good basketball team.
Patterson said he expects to make his decision in early May.
Although Hopson and Mackey have already verbally committed to schools - Hopson to Mississippi State and Mackey to Indiana - they may still be swayed to join UK's 2008 recruiting class because neither has signed a letter of intent.Former Kentucky Athletic Director C.M. Newton was surprised at the hire of Gillispie.
"I don't think anyone would be shocked to see new interest (in Mackey)," said Billy Hicks, Mackey's high school coach.
Kentucky's high school coaches would welcome the in-state interest from Gillispie.
"Kentucky's people want to see Kentucky players at UK," said James Haire, the coach at Elizabethtown High School.
High school senior Steffphon Pettigrew, one of Haire's players and a frontrunner for Mr. Basketball, has said he is still interested in UK, though he wasn't heavily recruited by former head coach Tubby Smith.
"I'm going to support the guy 100 percent," Newton said Saturday. "He's our coach at Kentucky. But I was surprised by the hire."Herald-Leader columnist John Clay is not so optimistic at our chances of signing either Patterson or Jai Lucas. I think we will get Lucas. Patterson is iffy since it looks like he's going to wait until the end of the signing deadline at this point.
Newton said he was surprised for several reasons. Reason No. 1: Billy Gillispie is not Billy Donovan. UK hired Gillispie after Donovan said no.
"I was hoping Billy (Donovan) would take the job," Newton said. "I thought he was the full package. And he understands the job very well."
Reason No. 2 for Newton's surprise: Gillispie has been a college head coach for just five seasons, two at UTEP and the last three at Texas A&M.