VAUGHT; Cohen got most out of UK talent

Now that Kentucky's dream baseball season is over, the question becomes whether or not the Wildcats have the ability to continue the same type of magical play next season. Kentucky won its first Southeastern Conference championship and earned its first NCAA Tournament bid since 1993 while compiling a 44-17 record and falling just short of reaching a Super Regional.

Kentucky won its first Southeastern Conference championship and earned its first NCAA Tournament bid since 1993 while compiling a 44-17 record and falling just short of reaching a Super Regional.

One major league scout who watched the Wildcats play several times this year marveled at the way the Wildcats were often able to beat teams with superior talent. "Winning a championship in the SEC is usually about recruiting a lot of talented players and then just letting them play. Kentucky was good, but not loaded with future major league players like a lot of SEC champions have been," the scout, who asked not to be identified because of the upcoming draft, said.

The scout says first baseman Ryan Strieby and second baseman John Shelby are both on the draft lists of numerous teams. Strieby can hit for power and average. He hits in the clutch. He's a superb fielder. Shelby has a solid glove, productive bat and great instincts for the game. "Those are the two players off Kentucky that should go in the draft this year," the scout said.

In the 2007 draft, he thinks center fielder Antone DeJesus, outfielder Collin Cowgill and catcher Sean Coughlin could all be picked.

"What John Cohen did with this team was incredible. He's a great hitting coach and scouts love him because he will give you an honest evaluation of his players. He doesn't dodge questions or avoid telling you the truth to make a player look good. Scouts appreciate that," the scout said.

But will Cohen be back at Kentucky? The scout says he's heard talk for weeks that several major schools want to contact Cohen. The scout also notes that while Kentucky drew over 3,000 fans for NCAA games, other SEC schools regularly draw 6,000 or more fans.

"If a school like LSU comes calling, and I don't know why they wouldn't, it's going to be interesting. LSU often has 10,000 fans at baseball games. I know Kentucky wants to keep him, but they better be prepared to make it worth his while because you know he's going to get some great offers," the scout said after watching UK play in the NCAA.


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