Recruiting curve balls and pit falls

A day or so ago, I wrote a post on the Cat Tracks message boards warning those who frequent Internet sites for recruiting information to be wary of misdirection and trusting in speculation. I should have listened to myself.

I was told last night prior to midnight by an extremely credible source that David Padgett had committed to the Arizona coaching staff.

With that information in hand, I stayed up until four freakin' o'clock in the morning writing a huge article about David and what his commitment meant to Arizona a day
after getting Ndudi Ebi. Top forward in the country followed by the top center in the nation?

When things seem too good to be true, they probably are.

I have also been told by an even more extremely credible source that Omar Wilkes is 99.99% going to UCLA and will announce that at 2:30 this afternoon.

Guess what? As close as I am to Omar himself, I'll believe that when the words come out of his mouth here in about three hours.

So Arizona loses out on a top prospect in David Padgett, but can you really blame David and his family for going with Kansas? I say he was in a win-win-win situation and he made the right choice by going with Roy Williams and the Jayhawks.

I'll tell you a story from about six months ago. After David and Omar went on their official visit to KU in the spring, Omar called me and the first thing out of his mouth was, "We had the best time this weekend! Coach Williams is one of the most geniune people I've ever met. Some coaches have made me think they cared about me and what I would do for college but David and I knew that Coach Williams cared. We had the best time."

He finished it off by saying, "I think there's a very strong possibility of David and I playing together in college."

Fast forward six months to this afternoon and it's D-Day for both of the friends. David's already taken care of half of the equation by committing to Kansas. Will Omar follow suit at 2:30? That remains to be seen but doesn't it make sense? I'm not going to make ANY predictions here but the last time I spoke with Omar he once again told me, "There is a strong possibility of David and I playing together in college still."

This was way after the speculation had spurned the idea of the Wilkes-Padgett combo package to KU possibility.

On the Internet, everybody's an expert and we all know what's best for these kids and are well aware of their "true" intentions. Because of that, the Internet media (can it be called that with less than 10% of these writers having a background in journalism?) quashed the package deal.

I guess someone forgot to tell Omar that, apparently.

Omar Wilkes will do what's best for him and it's my opinion that he already has had his mind made up for a week or more. As a friend of his, I believe Cal is his best option in terms of playing time; UCLA the most convenient and personally satisfying thanks in part to his father's legacy there.

Kansas, on the other hand, offers one of the three best coaches in this nation, a perennial top-five program, a very deep talent pool of great players surrounding him and the invaluable opportunity to go through the college experience with his best friend.

I ask you, what would you do?

At this point, what happens with Omar Wilkes has pretty much zero effect on Arizona, and that's fine. The attention has already turned to the pursuit of Brian Butch and/or Kirk Walters for the Wildcats' frontcourt needs. Mustafa Shakur is still the only "must-get" for the Cats and that situation is comfortable. Rodney Tention is shoring up everything with Shakur this afternoon in Wynnewood, PA. Omar Wilkes isn't even in Arizona's equation, nor was he ever really anyway.

But when it's all said and done today, there is a chance that the David & Omar saga will have come full circle. They loved Kansas six months ago and seemed destined to play together in Lawrence. But then rumor and misdirection came and we all thought differently.

If Omar Wilkes chooses to join David Padgett at Kansas today, who's to say that they ever changed their minds in the first place? It could have been KU all along.

Unless Roy Williams rescinded his scholarship offer to Wilkes (and judging by the fact that he was in Playa Del Rey visiting with Omar last night, I'd say he hasn't), I can't see how Omar would be anything other than a Jayhawk by day's end.

But never underestimate the even more powerful effect of wanting to make your father proud. If that's the case, Omar Wilkes will be a Bruin.

I'm not seeing the benefits of Cal at all and that is not meant to be disrespectful of Ben Braun's program either. It just doesn't make sense.

At this point though, if we've learned anything, making sense has little bearing on what these kids will do.

Congratulations to David and an even bigger congrats to Roy Williams for getting one (and possibly two) of America's best people. A classy program just got that much classier. And it might not be done yet.

Wildcat Authority Top Stories