"It was his first official visit," said Sue. "It went really good. We were very impressed with Kentucky. We loved it. I had never been to Kentucky before."
When I asked Ms. Jasper what her favorite part of the visit was, she couldn't narrow it down to just one choice. "I like the history Kentucky has," she said. "We took a tour through everywhere. Everybody was so nice. I couldn't get over how nice everybody was."
UK's head man also made a good impression on Mom, but that doesn't really surprise anyone. "Coach Smith and his wife were very nice as well. He's so well liked by the whole city of Lexington. Everywhere we went, people asked for his autograph. He's such a genuine person. I would feel comfortable with having my son under him. I think he would be a really good teacher, teaching him everything he needs to know about basketball, as well as the world. He's just that type of person."
According to Ms. Jasper, the people he has surrounded himself with also make a good impression. "Because it's so far away, I would want to feel comfortable in knowing about the people he's with. It's not just Coach Smith himself that I really think is great, it's his support staff. Everybody that I met…the athletics director was great and a nice guy. He explained a lot of things to us. The academics adviser explained a lot to us as well. I enjoyed spending time with Coach Rigot. He kept me laughing all weekend."
And academics will play a big part in Jasper's decision. "The education that UK has offered Derrick is great, too. Derrick hasn't really decided on a major yet. We are thinking about all of it."
As painful as Saturday's football game against Idaho State was for Cat fans, some consolation may be taken in how the Jaspers saw things. "That was a lot of fun. I saw a lot of school spirit. That was really something that got to us."
Jasper is getting in a lot of visits all at once, it seems, during the month of September. He will be very busy for the next couple of weeks, according to his mother. "We're going to the University of Washington Thursday of this week. That visit had already been scheduled. I'm going with him on that trip. Then he is going to Illinois the following Thursday. I'm not going on that trip."
The recruiting process is something that can be a bit intimidating, according to Sue. "It's kind of overwhelming. But it's exciting as well. I feel honored that some of these schools, especially Kentucky, are giving us a chance to even come visit. Derrick is really humbled and he feels honored, too. He was really impressed with Kentucky. The whole way back from Kentucky, that's basically all we talked about. He was real excited. He likes Kentucky a lot."