UK Elite Camp another step forward

When Billy Gillispie was named head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats, many UK fans knew little of the coach other than his quick turnaround successes at Texas-El Paso and Texas A&M. The method to his madness was largely unknown. From sending more than 8,000 text messages a month to almost insane travel plans to visit recruits, the UK Elite basketball camp is one more step in that mad direction.

Gillispie assumed the reigns of the nation's winningest program on April 21. In just six weeks time he signed the nation's highest rated unsigned prep prospect, Patrick Patterson, another top 30 shooting guard in Alex Legion, and obtained a commitment from one of the top players in the country for the 2009 year in G.J. Vilarino. What more could be asked of the new head coach?

How about putting together an Elite Camp that had eluded Lexington for many years?

From all reports, putting together the camp--which must be done in strict compliance with NCAA rules, while still hoping to attract some of the nation's finest basketball players--was performed almost flawlessly, although only a scant four weeks of preparation or so was available. Evan Daniels of reports that at least one of the rising stars that attended, six-foot-eight power forward Olek Czyz, was offered a scholarship, and without a doubt, the Camp served as a prime unofficial visit for other elite stars. The Camp attracted such stars, and possible UK targets, as Czyz, Vilarino, Demarcus Cousins, Dakotah Euton, and Noah Cottrill.

The Camp also served as a reunion for former Kentucky Wildcat players--guys like Rajon Rondo, Marquis Estill, and Erik Daniels worked the camp, serving as a walking-talking advertisement for Kentucky. Current UK basketball players also worked the camp, allowing scrimmaging and interaction with these UK targets.

Shortly after being named Kentucky's head coach, Gillispie was asked if the ninth grade was about the right time to begin recruiting a kid. Gillispie replied, "if you're behind." With efforts like these, it is hard to imagine Gillispie being behind for very long.

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