Friday, April 13, 2007

A mix of politics and sports

DeAndre Jordan has not completely ruled out playing college basketball at the University of Kentucky under new coach Billy Gillispie.
Center DeAndre Jordan said yesterday that "as of right now" he intends to play for A&M but added that he's keeping his options open. Jordan is among the top high school basketball seniors in town to play in tomorrow's adidas Kentucky Derby Festival Basketball Classic in Freedom Hall.

Jordan's reason for hesitation is that he has yet to have a face-to-face meeting with new Texas A&M coach Mark Turgeon. He said the two have spoken only briefly by phone twice since Turgeon was hired from Wichita State to replace Gillispie.

The 7-footer from Houston said he and Turgeon will talk when he returns to Texas next week. Then, Jordan said, he probably will have a better idea if he still wants to play for A&M.

"Coach Turgeon, I don't really know him that well," he said. "... I don't know what the future holds. As of right now I'm going to Texas A&M. I'm just trying to feel out the staff and see where they are. ... I don't know what I'm going to do yet."
One week into the job, Gillispie has already surprised.
"If I were a track coach, I would say, 'Start out as fast as you can and gradually increase your speed,'" Gillispie said during a news conference yesterday. "That's the way I like to go about it, so hopefully we'll be able to keep on going faster."[...]

UK's returning scholarship players all will be seniors (Ramel Bradley and Joe Crawford) or sophomores (Jodie Meeks, Derrick Jasper, Perry Stevenson, Michael Porter, Jared Carter, Ramon Harris). Two more sophomores-to-be, Mark Coury and Dwight Perry, are walk-ons.

UK will add two freshmen, signees A.J. Stewart and Mike Williams, and Gillispie has indicated he'd like to bring in additional players.

"We're not a complete roster yet, but hopefully we're going to be able to address that in the next couple weeks or three weeks or before the season begins," he said. "But if our (returning) guys will continue to work hard with the same kind of attitude that they've had so far, I'm really excited about what's going to happen in the very near future."

Though he cautioned that three brief workouts hardly is the sample size he needs to make judgments about players, Gillispie said leadership and other intangibles are strengths he's spotted so far. [...]

He'll hit the recruiting trail this week, and he's talking about future camp plans. Gillispie hopes to hold a national big-man camp for high school-and-younger players at UK in the summer, and said he also plans to have an "elite camp."
Eric Crawford confesses. He reads message boards.
I was talking to Matt Jones about this on his show the other day. Yep. I check out Matt's stuff, too. I said if you could see the real names of everyone who posts on there, you'd be amazed. I know a few. Enough to know that while some of the people on there are full of it, some of them are at least in position to have some information.
John Stamper at the Herald-Leader has his article up on Thursday night's debate. I had the chance to talk with him and Jack Brammer after the debate. Not only are they great writers but they are pretty cool people.

Expect to wait a bit longer for Jai Lucas to decide where he will attend. looks at the top unsigned recruits.
West Virginia forward Patrick Patterson and Texas point guard Jai Lucas have long been paired together in recruiting conversations. Patterson, the lone five-star prospect to make a decision, and Lucas, the top unsigned point guard in the nation, are both strongly considering Florida and Kentucky.

Lucas is visiting Florida this weekend while Patterson has been to Gainesville a handful of times in the past. The duo visited Kentucky together in the fall for the Wildcats' Midnight Madness.

A decision from both could come around the Jordan Classic all-star game next weekend in New York City. The two will meet up together on Wednesday of next week to travel with their families to the game.

Both Florida and Kentucky would receive a big shot in the arm if Lucas and Patterson picked either program. For Florida, the duo would certainly improve the Gators 2007 class, which currently sits at No. 5 overall.[...]

For Kentucky, the duo would only ignite an already hot fan base because of the new energy from newly crowned head coach Billy Gillispie.

"Already with a 2009 commitment from GJ Vilarino under his belt, Gillispie would just be building on his momentum and the fan support if he could land Patterson and Lucas," Meyer said. "Patterson would give them a big name power forward that the fan base has been hungry for and Lucas can put the offense into a higher gear."
Gillispie understands the fans' needs.
Gillispie knows some fans feel he needs someone with ties to Kentucky and/or the Southeastern Conference on his staff.

"It is a good thought process. It would be right if the perfect guy is there," Gillispie said. "At Kentucky, you should have the absolute best staff in the country. They (UK officials) are going to allow us to do that. If it works out where it is somebody with SEC ties or the other (UK ties), that would be perfect."

Gillispie admitted he was a "better listener than talker" and has listened to advice from certain people he respects about putting together a staff.

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