TIREY: Meeks speaks about his comittment

UK basketball fans can give themselves a pat on the back for being a part of why Meeks chose the Wildcats. KSR caught up to Meeks for a description of how this past weekend went as he visited the Lexington campus.

Jodie Meeks, the 6'5" guard from Norcross, Georgia, and the latest commitment for Tubby Smith in the UK basketball program for the 2006 recruiting class, is happy to have the decision behind him so he can concentrate on the upcoming season for Norcross High School. "I'm just glad it's over with," said Meeks. "It's kind of stressful. But I believe I made the right decision." UK basketball fans can give themselves a pat on the back for being a part of why Meeks chose the Wildcats. KSR caught up to Meeks for a description of how this past weekend went as he visited the Lexington campus.

When I asked Meeks any question about his experience this past weekend, it always came back to the fans and the impression they made on him. "I arrived at the (Wildcat) lodge," said Meeks, "and the players took me out by the practice facility, where the fans were playing cornhole. It was just a real good experience. All the fans knew my face from the Internet. It made me feel important. Everything in general impressed me. The facilities were great. The fans were great, too. How they knew me was unbelievable to me. They are crazy about their basketball. We got down there and played some cornhole with them. They looked amazed to see me in person. I was overwhelmed by it."

Even when Meeks went out to lunch with the head coach himself, he was still recognized, and he was surrounded by well-wishers. "I went out to a restaurant with Coach Smith for lunch, and the waitress knew him. And she had heard that I was coming to visit." It didn't take long for Meeks to turn his attention to the Wildcats themselves. "I worked out with the team. I actually scrimmaged with them on Friday. I was pretty impressed with the team. I felt that I fit right in." Meeks was struck with the personality of Ramel Bradley, the current backup point guard for UK, and someone who Meeks could share time with in the backcourt when he gets to Kentucky. "I spoke with him the first night I got there and he seemed like a really nice guy. All the team seems focused on what they have to do, both on and off the court."

Meeks' parents made the trip with him and were equally impressed. It didn't take long on the flight home for the discussion to turn to making a final decision. "After the visit, I pretty much knew where I wanted to go," admitted Meeks. "I looked at the other schools and saw what they had for me. But nothing really compared to Kentucky, as far as their fan base and what they had to offer."

A lot has been made in the past couple of days of Tubby Smith taking three guards in this recruiting class. Meeks didn't seem to have a problem with it. "I looked at that. I just feel that I'm going to come in there and work hard. I asked Coach Smith if he saw me as an impact player or a role player and he said that he saw me as an impact player. I just plan to work hard and hope for the best. I plan on getting significant minutes. I want to start, but that's not always the case. But I do want to have a significant role with the team my freshman year."

Meeks' high school, Norcross, begins practice October 17. They will be trying to avenge a loss in the state championship game last year. They lose four seniors from last year's squad, but welcome four new transfers.


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