LEMOND: Meeks swayed to UK by Smith & fans

"I am committing to play at the University of Kentucky." A simple sentence that only a few young basketball players ever get to make. It's a dream for many, but a fantasy for most. For Jodie Meeks, it's now a reality.

The 6'4" guard out of Norcross, Georgia, just out side of Atlanta, verbally committed to Kentucky, picking the Cats over Florida and Alabama.

"It's a beautiful place to play," Meeks said. "They have great fans. It's a great atmosphere. I came up for my visit this past weekend, and I was really amazed how the fans really appreciate basketball."

Meeks came to the UK campus for his visit just one day after another guard, 6'5" Derrick Jasper, also verbally committed to Kentucky. Meeks' commitment now means there are three players lined up for the 2006-2007 recruiting class, and all 3 are guards. 6'1" Michael Porter out of California is the other commitment.

Meeks seemed to be "blown away" with his visit to Lexington and couldn't put his finger on one reason why he wanted to play for Kentucky. "I think it was a little bit of everything," he said. "Coach (Tubby) Smith is a great guy. Who wouldn't want to play for coach Smith? He's one of the best coaches in the country. The facilities are great. I liked them a lot. It was basically the whole package."

But it wasn't just the UK coach and the facilities that caught Meeks' attention. The UK faithful also played a big part in this recruitment.

"They were actually camping out for the midnight madness, so I got a chance to shake some hands and stuff," Meeks said. "It was just a great atmosphere. I was really amazed. They (the fans) are just crazy about basketball. They appreciate it, and it makes me like where I'm going and knowing I'll be appreciated for playing basketball."

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