The only known picture of Avery
OK, we just received a commitment from an eighth-grader…good?…bad?…creepy?…
This much we know, Michael Avery is humongous 14-year old. No matter what you think about the ethics of gaining a verbal from a middle-schooler, there’s no denying that this kid is a beast.
However, the rest of the nation will see the headline, “UK locks up an 8th grader,” or something of the sort, and lose their collective mind. As usual, there’s a lot more to the story.
First of all, this is nowhere near as demented as Bobby Knight’s recruitment of Damon Bailey. Frequenting a seventh-grader’s basketball game was different when there was no AAU. Avery has been a force amongst kids much older than he, often playing with high school sophomores and juniors. If it’s OK to recruit them, why not nab the kid that’s showing them all up?
Secondly, it’s not like Gillispie jumped into a four-square game at recess, called no “popcorns,” dominated, and traded this kid Nutty Bars for a commitment. We get it, he’s really young. Apparently, he’s also really good. Despite what will be discovered about Avery’s game, the only thing people will talk about is his age.
Third, and more will come out about this in due time I presume, but it remains to be seen how much recruiting Gillispie and his staff did. While I don’t think that there has been a complete “changing of the guard” in terms of recruiting, but now, more than ever, young kids are recruiting colleges. I’m not suggesting that Gillispie hadn’t shown interest in Avery, but I don’t think locking-up super-young kids is necessarily his go-to tactic (holy hyphens!). It seems more like this kid already knew he wanted to play for Kentucky, and that’s never a bad thing.
So, when you troll around the blogs, newspapers, and message boards for the next few days, realize that most of the criticism that you will read/hear about this move is bunk.
OK, just had to get that off my chest. Now, we wait for the next commitment, presumably occurring in the next 5-9 seconds.