"Gillispie was directly responsible for acquiring DeAndre Jordan for Texas A&M, one of the best players in the nation and one of the hottest prospects out there," said Telep, "he is a phenomenal recruiter but he is also a great basketball coach. With Gillispie, Kentucky got a whole package."
Telep, in his travels to AAU Tournaments around the country, has met Gillispie on a number of occasions and can't say enough good things about him, "Billy Gillispie has a lot of charisma and really knows how to speak the language that kids understand. He is tough but fair. He wants the kids that play for him to buy into what he is doing. He goes out and finds the best kids that not only have the talent, but are tough-minded and can follow direction."
One knock against Kentucky over the last several years has been that their success at bringing in the big time recruits had waned over the years, "Kentucky's recruiting problems have been a matter of perception and relevance. The Cats have been bringing in top 100 players but they missed a lot of the really big time recruits."
So, with Gillispie, will all that change?
"Gillispie is a world-class recruiter in Texas. He reputation is phenomenal. And he will leverage that reputation with a much larger name in basketball in Kentucky. He has good relationships with a lot of people," said Telep.
"With Gillispie, Kentucky has a guy that gets involved personally. He WILL be the point guy for Kentucky recruiting. If you look at what he was able to accomplish at Texas A&M, you can only imagine what he might be able to do representing a name like Kentucky."
One relationship to note is that of John Lucas, former NBA player and coach and father to Jai Lucas, a recruit that has been a priority target for Kentucky. "Gillispie has a very good relationship with John Lucas and I'd be shocked if that were not one of his first calls."
The April signing period is just around the corner and while Gillispie may be known as a miracle worker in recruiting, the clock is ticking. "Gillispie is going to have to get out there and see Jai, and the Cats are going to have to think about Jai and (Patrick) Patterson as a package," said Telep. "There is so little time left I think Gillispie has to have an advocate for himself with Patterson, and there are probably not many people better than John Lucas."
"Getting Patterson away from Florida, now that Billy Donovan has won two championships, is going to be tough," said Telep. "They have lost some talent and can rebuild around Patterson. But (John) Lucas could play a factor. If he is convinced it is the right thing for Jai, the together they might play a role in persuading Patrick. Still it might be a long shot. As I said, the clock is ticking."