ELDRIDGE: Three set to sign with Kentucky

With signing day upon us, three names seem destined to sign with Kentucky during the early signing period, while others may take a little more time.

Kentucky's first commitment for the 2007 class was Mike Williams. Williams, a 7-foot 265 pound center, was off the radar this summer during the AAU season, after having knee surgery to remove a cyst, during the spring. Before his surgery, Williams was receiving interest from Pittsburgh, DePaul, American, Rutgers, St. John's, Florida State and Georgetown.

A native of England, Williams moved to Alexandria, Virginia and currently attends Bishop Ireton High School. At one point, Williams weighed in at 335 pounds, but his hard work in the weight room paid off significantly. Williams dropped 70 pounds and got down to 260 pounds.

As a sophomore, Williams only averaged 5 points and 4 rebounds. Williams' numbers doubled during his junior year, as he averaged 12 points and eight rebounds per contest.

Williams is noted as having great hands. Additionally, he can score around the basket with either hand. Due to his size, he still has to work on his footwork offensively and defensively, but the tools are there for a solid center in the future.

Williams made his official visit to Kentucky on September 15th and finally ended the process by verbally committing to Tubby Smith on September 28th.

The Wildcats also landed a verbal commitment from forward, A.J. Stewart. Among the top players in Florida, Stewart helped lead Arlington Country Day to a Florida state championship last season.

At 6-foot-8 200 pounds, Stewart has the size and athleticism to play either forward position. His versatility is a trait that is strongly desired by college coaches across the nation. Illinois and Oklahoma State both recruited Stewart, as did instate programs such as Florida, Florida State and Miami. In the end, Stewart thought he fit in best at Kentucky.

Stewart made his official visit to Lexington on October 13th, for Kentucky's Big Blue Madness along with other high profile recruits, Patrick Patterson and Jai Lucas. The high flying Stewart decided to take his skills to Kentucky.

As a junior, Stewart averaged 15 points and 11 rebounds a game. His strong points are his ability to run the floor, his athleticism, and his rebounding. Stewart is currently rated the number 91 prospect in the nation according to Scout.com, however that rating could rise if Stewart continues to improve.

Finally, there's the enigmatic Ramon Harris. Hailing from Anchorage, Alaska, Harris led his high school, West Anchorage, to the 4-A Alaska state championship last season. Averaging 20 points and 9 boards per game, he received the player of the year award.

The 6-foot-6 forward's game is very smooth; however his recruitment has been unorthodox. Harris became a Kentucky target at the Reebok Summer East tournament, on the campus of Fairleigh Dickinson in New Jersey. His ability to drive to the basket, and his explosiveness made him an intriguing target for Tubby Smith.

Harris made his official visit to Kentucky, with another UK commit, Mike Williams on September 15th.

Over this time, Harris has been waiting to be cleared by the NCAA Clearing House. Once he was cleared, it was obvious that he was headed to Kentucky. Harris has a press conference set to announce his commitment to Kentucky. But the story doesn't end there.

Harris was originally a 2006 recruit and speculation has run rampant about when he would arrive on campus. What class would Harris be a part of, 2006 or 2007? It appears that Harris will be on the Kentucky roster by the start of the second semester, and expected to contribute backup minutes for senior forward Bobby Perry.

As it stands, Williams, Stewart, and Harris will all become Wildcats during this early signing period.

Other Notes: Power forward, Patrick Patterson will be signing during the late signing period. He plans to take more unofficial visits, and sign in April.

Point guard, Jai Lucas has decided to take a little more time on his decision. Lucas will choose between Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma. He plans to make a decision before the end of the early period.

Combo forward, Marshall Moses planned a visit to Kentucky for last weekend, but he didn't receive his test scores in time. When he receives his score, he'll make his visit to Kentucky. At this time, that's his only planned visit.


AllWildcats Top Stories