What a day….what a few weeks! I have said this so much that people may be sick of it, but it is truly unbelievable what has happened these past five weeks. Today Kentucky received the commitment of a 5 star, top 25 point guard that just a few weeks ago told me that Kentucky was very unlikely to be his destination because he felt like he was their “second round pick.” But John Calipari turned on the charm and convinced Bledsoe not that he was their first round pick, but that he could play WITH their first round pick if he came. And now Bledsoe joins the UK class, making it the #1 class in America. A truly amazing accomplishment.
Now there is a lot of fallout from all of this, but lets get to it in some quick hits.
— Lets first talk about John Wall. He told Jeff Drummond of TCP that he was going to narrow his list by Friday to three schools and that Kentucky would definitely be one of them. However something may happen even quicker than that. I spoke with a source close to Wall who said they thought there was a “50 percent chance that Wall makes a decision this week.” According to the individual, the attention has actually grown a bit tiresome for Wall and he has talked this week about pulling the trigger soon. I have said all along that the sooner that Wall picks, the better it is for UK. As with everything with Wall, this could all change before you have even finished this paragraph, but dont be surprised if we hear something pop very soon.
— Much has been made of Bledsoe’s presser and the way he spoke to the media. Folks need to give the kid a break. He is not a public speaker and that has never been his job. I have spoken with him on a couple of occasions and he has always been unfailingly polite. Judge him on that, rather than smart-alec remarks about his comments (and that is saying something from me). But I do have so say, Bledsoe saying that he and Wall would “get sh** right” in a press conference did make me laugh.
— Bledsoe also said that he thought Patterson would be back. That is a nice sentiment, but I read virtually nothing into his comments. Patterson will make his decision over the next couple of weeks, but it wont be leaked out by Bledsoe. All indications are that it is still not made in either direction.
— So the next question becomes, what about scholarships? I spoke with someone familiar with the situation today and they told me to think about things in possibly a different way than I had before. Rather than thinking about it by who leaves, think about who is almost guaranteed to stay. The Cats have 13 scholarships. If Wall comes, then:
Now if the above were to hold steady, 12 of the 13 scholarships will be taken. The new guys all get scholarships, the starts keep theirs and the Seniors who want to return are allowed to return. Of course, Wall might not come, Patterson could stay in the Draft and some Senior might make the staff change their mind (I am told that Galloway had a really bad series of postseason workouts). But I think that it can probably be said that if the 12 above choose to want a scholarship, they have one. (for the record, I hear that Calipari will likely only keep two walk-ons and Krebs and Perry are the two favorites)
That leaves 4 guys for one scholarship. DeAndre Liggins, Matt Pilgrim, Josh Harrellson and AJ Stewart all dont meet the above criteria. Could they be fighting for one spot? And if so, who has the lead? One has to think that AJ Stewart is the most vulnerable due to academic issues, but I am told that he actually did well during the workouts. DeAndre Liggins is the most heralded of the players, but he too had academic issues and is looking at three other PGs on the roster if Wall comes. Matt Pilgrim is the practice legend of UK, but there were also performance issues there. And most assume that Jorts wont fit Calipari’s system but I have been told by multiple people that he had the BEST workout of anyone not named Patrick Patterson and Calipari loves his outside shooting.
It will be interesting to use the list above when evaluating the future. If Wall doesnt come, those four guys are going for two spots….if Patterson leaves, three spots. If a Senior has his status change, maybe four for four. But as of now, the margin for error for those guys is small…and it is worth following over the next two weeks.
Big day today…we learn more about Bledsoe, my Derby story is released online and we look at the greatness that is Rondo. Stay tuned…..