John Calipari has been absolutely killing it on the recruiting trail. How’s that for hard hitting journalism?
The names over the past year are quite familiar: DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe, John Wall, Stacey Poole, Enes Kanter, Brandon Knight, Doron Lamb. What do they have in common though? Lack of surprise.
Run down the list and for every guy on that list leading up to the announcement of their decision, it was basically a foregone conclusion that they would pick Kentucky. Maybe they weren’t all complete locks, but I was 90+% plus confident that UK would win out.
There have been sporadic misses along the way as well: Xavier Henry going to Kansas, Will Barton to Memphis, Adreian Payne to Michigan State, Tobias Harris to Tennessee, and Josh Selby to Kansas. Even with that group (outside of Barton maybe), you had a pretty good idea it wasn’t going to be Kentucky.
What you don’t see there are any coin flips, announcements that really could have gone for or against UK, and at the time, you just didn’t know. Patrick Patterson’s decision to attend Kentucky comes to mind as an example of that kind of announcement.
There are probably some people who pine for that kind of commitment, one that is not 100% expected. I’m not one of them, because I much prefer knowing what’s ahead of me, especially in the case of Calipari and UK, because the ‘Cats seem to usually come out ahead there.
With the upcoming decisions of Marquis Teague, Terrence Jones, and CJ Leslie, I think that predictability is about to go out the window and those gluttons for surprise are about to get their fix. Over the next two to three weeks, I expect all three of these prospects to make public commitments with UK prominently involved, and when they step to the podium, I think you are going to have people in the know and out of the know guessing multiple ways and potentially even throwing their arms up in the air and saying “I have no idea”.
This is the kid who has the rapt attention of the entire Bluegrass state. He also has much of the state experiencing emotions ranging from anxiety to excitement to frustration to exasperation. I believe he will prove to be well worth the wait when he steps on campus.
Teague is one of the rare cases where no one really has a great read on what he is thinking. We all know UofL has been the front runner since Teague’s sophomore year and maybe before…but a commitment has just never come. Then steps in Cal, who has turned breeding one and done point guards into an occupation. Cal has done miraculous work just to turn this into a coin flip.
However, when you see quotes like this one from Shawn Teague, you just have to think UofL is the likely destination: “It’s been a difficult decision,” he said. “Things have changed with different dynamics in terms of the program and the coaches. As a parent, I was more concerned about whether the coaches were going to be there and what players were coming. We’ve gotten a better grip on that now.”
Even so, no one is confident, myself included. Barring any leaks over the next three days leading up to Teague’s announcement at 1:30 pm on Thursday, it’s going to look like a toss-up between the Cards and ‘Cats.
Like Teague, there seem to be two possible schools for the versatile 2010 forward in UK and Washington. Unlike Teague, a third school could jump into the mix. If hometown school Oregon makes a homerun hire (highly unlikely) or Kansas gets a last minute official from Jones thanks to Josh Selby’s work and wows him (slightly more likely), we could have a third contender.
Jones’ decision is slated to come either on the 23rd or 30th, but it’s more likely to be the 30th with a potential late Kansas visit. There are quite a few factors at play, such as:
-Terrence Ross is a close friend and will announce on the same day as Jones. They have openly talked about playing together.
-Hometown discount – Jones is a West Coast kid and likes the idea of staying home
-Dribble drive – An absolute perfect fit for Jones
-Playing early – At Washington, Jones will step in right away. If Patrick Patterson leaves, the same is true at UK. At Kansas, Jones is being sold as the replace for Xavier Henry at the three.
Terrence Jones has a superb poker face and I don’t expect him to give a thing away. I think Kansas has come in too late and it will come down to UK or Washington, with UK having a slight edge in my estimation.
Leslie keeps trying to schedule visits to other schools like Florida and Connecticut, but UK and NC State are probably the two potential destinations. Like Jones, the stay home factor is going to play a major role, but I think it ends up being a bit stronger with Leslie.
It’s Leslie’s style to keep us and the coaches recruiting him guessing up to the very end, so that’s what I expect. This should be another toss-up.
I hope you guys handle stress well
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- » BBL: What’s up with Marquis Teague? John Clay’s Sidelines | April 20, 2010
- BBL: What’s up with Marquis Teague? « MrSEC.com | April 20, 2010