I was on the message boards today and saw this photoshopped picture from a poster named “Cindog28″ (brilliantly done I might add) and it hit me that it has been a full week around these parts with no mention of Patrick Patterson and Jai Lucas. Yes the names that were so engrained to this blog for the past 12 months are now simply names on a roster in Gainesville and Lexington, and the day to day saga of their recruitment is nothing but a figment of our fading memories. Word is that in Patterson’s case, he has made a couple of trips to the UK campus and has worked out occasionally at the practice facilities, playing pickup basketball with some of his teammates. Patterson apparently looks impressive and is getting ready for his full-time move to Lextown this summer, where he will inherit the award of most anticipated UK player since a young King named Rex.
So that leads to the question, who is next? Who are the guys whose recruitment will reach the ubiquitous level of scrutiny of our friends Jai and Pat? The short answer to that question is probably no one. The Patterson and Lucas sagas were unique instances when kids each chose between schools going through some degree of change and thus the decision to hold out and make a late decision made sense for each of them individually. Billy Clyde however seems to be operating under a different system and I dont expect to see him involved in such a prolonged affair again. Billy Clyde seems to be casting a wide net over a variety of players, taking the view that if one is interested in playing for the Cats, they may need to get on board early before the cruise sets sail without them.
However it is becoming clear that two players may have “Patterson and Lucas” tendencies when it comes to this class. The first is in-state mega recruit Darius Miller. Kentucky fans have a long history of wanting their “Kentucky boys” to play for the Cats and the legend of the Kentucky schoolboy who makes good is enough for an ESPN documentary (narrated by Ashley Judd). In Miller’s case this is particularly important because of the perceived loss of a legend in Chris Lofton, who is from Miller’s home county and whose shadow still hovers over the program with every three he makes. Getting Miller is priority number one for a lot of Kentuckians, even those who dont follow recruiting, but know that Chris Lofton is really good and not a Wildcat. Miller is being hounded by a who’s who of UK bad guys…..Louisville, Duke, Florida, Indiana and Tennessee look to be the other leading contenders for his services…..try and pick the five schools UK fans hate the most and there you have them….and Miller has all of them interested in him to some degree. Miller’s recruitment is the next big thing in Kentucky and keeping him in state is job #1 for Billy Clyde this year.
The Lucas to Miller’s Patterson this year may be Tyler Zeller. Zeller has already won the author of this blog over due to his play this week, but it is also the case that his game is about to win over a whole group of UK fans over as well. Zeller is from Indiana, close enough that zealous UK fans can go see him play (as they did Patterson) and give Big Blue cheers towards him during his contests. He is considering visiting UK during Midnight Madness providing another opportunity for UK fans to fawn over a new batch of recruits…..in what may be one of the most stoked atmospheres in some time for the program. UNC has just offered the Indiana kid and they join Indiana and Purdue as top suitors for his services. Combine the fact that Duke may jump in soon with an offer and Zeller may become big man target #1 for UK this year…..and the object of desire for most fans as well.
Is Miller-Zeller the next Patterson-Lucas? Not when one considers the importance the latter two’s recruitment had on the program and the grip their decision had on the fans. However, there is no doubt that there is a new interest in UK recruiting, brought about in part by the saga of last year’s focus and the excitement that Billy Clyde has given to the process. There are lots of names on UK’s horizon next year ranging from Willie Warren to DeAndre Liggins to Romero Osby to Chris Singleton and others. But Miller and Zeller will stay on that list for some time….and I have a sneaking suspicion that they may end up being the two players UK fans covet the most.
IF you are interested in seeing some of the UK target’s games, click on this website of the Bob Gibbons TOC and you can watch full games of some of the players. Tyler Zeller’s Indiana Elite team has two games, Romero Osby’s Southeast Elite team has two games and Chris Singleton’s Atlanta Celtics have one game. Check them out and enjoy seeing what they can do.
If you are interested in being our intern/writer for the blog, you have one more day to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have lots of emails so far and I will be getting back to those interested very soon.
Check in throughout the day for more…….