Bayless: Rumor Mill Runs Rampant

Few recruiting tales have been more rumor filled than Jerryd Bayless'. Although he verbally committed very early, rumors flew around the young guard. After he eventually re-opened his recruitment those rumors became more and more rampant. On Monday they reached a fever pitch. Here is what we know, what we don't know and what we are hearing.

We got to Vegas on Friday night and headed to the Tarkanian Center where the Arizona Magic were playing. Normally Bayless plays for the Magic but he was instead going to compete with EBO. His absence gave us an opportunity to quiz a number of folks who know him pretty well and a couple of those people said that there was nothing concrete, but that Bayless had been talking up Arizona the past few days.

With Bayless scheduled to play with EBO, it meant that he'd be teaming up with Arizona commit Jamelle Horne, a player who had gone on record in saying that he wanted Bayless as a teammate.

Add to this word that Arizona had not pulled his scholarship offer despite the verbal commitment of guard Laval Lucas-Perry and what once seemed like a lost cause was suddenly much more interesting.

I was able to speak with both Bayless and Horne on Sunday. Horne continued to feel confident that Bayless would be his teammate in Tucson, but stressed that was just his opinion. Bayless admitted that Arizona was very much in the running, but that he was wide open and had no timetable for a decision.

Then Monday rolled around.

I entered one gym that morning and was quickly summoned by a prominent national basketball writer who told me that the word was the Bayless had committed. He said that at least one AAU coach was telling college coaches that Bayless was headed to Arizona and that they had better take a look at his player before he too chose a school.

The writer stressed that he had no other confirmation and that he did not know if the coach was just trying to get his player some better offers or if he truly believed that Bayless was Arizona bound.

It must be stated that sometimes rumors can get out of control, without any malice attached. Last weekend the word among numerous assistant coaches at Southern California AAU events was that Horne had de-committed. Not only did Horne and his father quickly dispel the rumors but Horne went on the offensive "de-committing is something I don't even joke about."

As luck would have it the next stop was to watch EBO and Bayless. After watching the team blowout their first round opponent in bracket play I was able to talk to a few of the key parties.

I asked Jamelle Horne if the rumors that Bayless re-committed were true and he said that he had not heard anything of that nature. Normally quite talkative, the wing recruit hinted that he did not want to discuss rumors.

I asked Darren Matsubara, EBO's head coach if he knew anything about the rumors and he said that he had not heard anything of that nature. As far as he knew Bayless was still wide open.

Finally I was able to speak with Bayless himself. I asked if the rumors were true and he simply stated "No, I am still wide open."

Just in case I made a few calls to some additional trusted sources. Although a few of them had heard the rumors, none had heard anything that led them to believe that Bayless had indeed contacted the Wildcat staff to pledge to the program.

In the end it looks like just another interesting chapter in what has already shaped up to be a strange recruiting saga. The recruitment will not conclude…at least not quite yet.

*Steve Tchiengang is a 6-9 forward from the Houston area who is hearing a lot from the Cats. He is long, athletic and fairly physical. He has numerous offers and is starting to get a lot of attention.

*J'Covan Brown is a teammate of Tchiengang with the T-Mac All-Stars. He too is hearing from the Cats. He's a strong, tough combo guard but word is he wants to stay in the Lone Star State.

*Among the players the Wildcat coaches were spotted seeing were Alex Jacobson, the Wear twins, Zane Johnson, Emmanuel Negedu, Laval Lucas-Perry, Bayless, Horne, Jeff Withey, Matt Simpkins, Drew Gordon and Luke Babbitt. These are just the confirmed sighting since there are three coaches canvassing the town to evaluate prospects it can be assumed that many other players got a peak. In recent days they have been out to see players like J.J. Hickson, Brandon Jennings, Larry Drew, Jrue Holiday, Tchiengang, Brown, Andy Poling and Jeremy Tyler.

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