GIDEL: Lucas, Patterson Have Company

What a difference a new head basketball coach does to a traditionally prestigious basketball program that formerly fought for the nation's elite basketball players.

Within seemingly minutes upon his announcement as new head basketball coach, Billy Gillispie has gone a recruiting rampage that has become a welcome seen to UK recruiting junkies and fans alike.

It's left the UK fanbase to ponder an enormous amount of questions, however, as the stretch run now comes down to the final quarter length.

Question #1: How long will the staff wait on Huntington's Patrick Patterson?

Unlike the previous staff at Kentucky, Gillispie is not putting all of his chips in one basket with Patterson. Not only have the 'Cats additionally offered a worthy alternative in Springdale (Ark.)'s Michael Sanchez, but they've already started to pursue possible outside targets such as Darrington Hobson from Illinois and Isaiah Rusher from Houston (Tx.) in case the West Virginia native falls through. Hobson is an intruiging prospect because he's a guard in a small forward's body. His Pepperdine commitment aside, this is an opposing coach's nightmare matchup (ala Corey Brewer). A 6-7 forward that can defend and shoot over a guard, but can handle the ball well enough to go around anyone of equivalent height or taller.

Even if UK adds one other big man, they will still be left waitin' on ole' PP, but the idea that Kentucky is in any position to not wait on the McDonald's All-American is ridiculous to fathom. His addition may cause the new staff to make some roster manuevering, if anything else. Like Rich Brooks in football, things tend to work themselves out. Let's not forget Gillispie had close to 20 players on his A&M squad and regardless of what many people may think, scholarships are up for renewable each year and players are run off and out, more times than some believe.

Question #2: How many guards is too many guards?

Oak Hill Academy's Alex Legion, fresh out of his letter of intent from Michigan, is reportedly headed to Kentucky for his official visit tomorrow and is rumoredly eye balling the idea of heading to Lexington next year. The thought seemed incredibly far fetched just months ago, but the new staff needs as many players as they can find and the 6-foot-5, 200 pound 'lights out' shooter would be an incredible late pickup for the Wildcats.

Passing on him for the sake of not wanting too many guards would be a horrible mistake, especially considering how poor athletically the team was shown to be last season. Legion would certainly make for entertaining television playing alongside Ramel Bradley, Joe Crawford and Jodie Meeks. Paging, Derrick Jasper .. You are wanted in the weight room.

Question #3: What will Sanchez do?

A week ago, Arkansas' Michael Sanchez was gathering up his quarters and heading for the slot machines of Las Vegas after all but signing the papers for Findley Prepatory School. But the Wildcats - so desperate to add a big body - jumped into the equation with an offer just days ago. Sanchez, who at one time sported over 13 offers from across the country, has suddenly re-considered the idea of prep school and is mulling the Wildcats offer from the new staff. Sanchez most likely will not get the offer from UK in 2008, as Gillispie has better options, but with the cupboard being so bare for big bodies, Kentucky is asking Sanchez to sign now.

The 6-foot-8, 220 pounder isn't the answer Patrick Patterson may be, but he's no slouch, as his Real Deal Tournament performance showcased. His knees are nearly 100% and his work ethic is uncomparable for a high school senior. The guy literally trains from sun-up to sun-down. He and Gillispie will be a marriage waiting to happen.

Question 4: What about the Junior College market?

With the hiring of Jeremy Cox as lead assistant under Gillispie, it's hard for me to come to terms that UK won't at least make an attempt to land a junior college player SHOULD the Patterson, Sanchez, Legion, Lucas options all fall through. I still believe that Isaiah Rusher, should he get his academics in order, is a legitament option here and one that deserves paying attention to. Outside of the possibility of adding a player like Rusher, the JC market could be where the new staff is headed. Eric Whitehurst continues to be a name I hear on the JC market, but he might be scooped up here in the next few days. The Blinn (Tx.) JC power forward has signed with Charlotte, but was released from his scholarship in February. There may be some extra curricular stuff going on with his release, but that has been unconfirmed at this time. At 6-9, 210 pounds he could be seen as a possible option.


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