6'11" David Padgett is not only arguably the most high profile recruit for Stanford basketball in this 2003 class, but he is also probably the furthest along in his own evaluation process of the schools at hand. In the last few weeks, he has taken his official visits to Arizona, Stanford and Kansas - in that chronological order. It is no coincidence that these are the three schools which have been at or near the top of his list for quite some time. Schools like Louisville or North Carolina have popped up from time to time, but David says of the schools he has visited, "these schools are the top three as of right now."
Indeed, David is through with official visits this spring, and won't take another visit - if he takes any more at all - until the fall. At this time, he says he does not know where those two putative visits might be.
So the focus right now is the same three schools who interestingly were the familiar finalists in the Josh Childress sweepstakes two years ago. The visits for David were important and will go a long way toward his final decision. And David is positive on all three trips he took.
"I would have to say that from all three visits, the one thing I noticed the most is how close all of the players were. That is pretty cool because that makes it easier for the teams to win some games. I would have to say that Chris, Josh and Rob were really cool to me at Stanford. From Arizona I thought that the players were really cool also. They were just laid back and relaxed, which is kind of more like me. In Kansas I liked how the whole town was based around that college. It was such a college town, which is something that I kind of like for some reason."
Which begs the big question: who is the leader with David after these all-important visits? You may have read the report from Tracy Pierson on PrepWestHoops that indicated Arizona's leading position currently. And that is something to take at face value, given that Tracy and Greg Hicks are the best in this recruiting business on the West Coast, always with great sources. I asked David if these reports and rumors are true, with Arizona as his current leader.
"Right now I am not leaning anywhere. I am just going to take my time with the whole thing, and as of right now, all three schools are right there."
The next obvious question is what David will look at with these schools between now and his final decision, given that he has the experiences of his visits under his belt.
"I learned most everything I was wondering on my visits, so now I will just take my time and sometime make my decision. I am looking to see who else these schools take because I am obviously not going to go to a school that already has 5 or 6 big guys."
Translation: David and Pete Padgett will have their eyes on the other big men being recruited by Stanford, Kansas and Arizona. One center of particular interest to this equation is 6'11" Brian Butch from Wisconsin. He was on the map as one of the centers to watch in this class, that is until he rewrote the map with his breakout performance last week at the Spiece Slam 'N Jam. Butch went for 38 points in one game, including 14 of 15 shooting from the floor and a couple of bombs from long range. You hear each year about guys who blow up, and well... Butch went thermonuclear this past week. Dave Telep was at the event and reported the wave of interest from coaches around the country. The kicker is that all three of these aforementioned schools have had Butch on their radar with some level of recruitment, but Telep has indentified that specifically Kansas and Arizona are about to become "major players" in the Wisconsin center's recruitment now. Dave Telep has now followed up that report and confirmed the leading roles that Kansas, Arizona and North Carolina are taking in Butch's recruitment.
Will one or both of the schools take a strong two-pronged approach to simultaneously recruiting both Padgett and Butch now? It seems very improbable that either school could pull off taking both bigs, for precisely the reasons Padgett spelled out above. Furthermore, it's a numbers game for the Wildcats and Jayhawks. Lute Olson reportedly wants one post and one point in this class, and no more. Roy Williams has more flexibility with five scholarships for this class, though two have already gone to guards/wings; one presumably is still on the table for a point guard; and one is on the table for a forward.
At this time, while Stanford is involved with Butch, it does not appear that they are making a push with the aggression of Arizona and Kansas. The Cardinal staff still have David as their #1 post player recruit in this class. Will that become a Stanford advantage with Padgett's recruitment? We shall watch, and I'll continue to keep Booties updated with the latest I know.
One more thing David will pull this summer as he watches what the troika does in recruiting lies in the non-post players. Not only does David want to be in a position where he can have a great impact as a cornerstone center, but he also wants to have the best possible mates on the floor with him. In Stanford's case, who might be the guard and wing to enter with him? Who would distribute the ball to him in Arizona in this class? For Kansas, with such a large class to accompany him, he can catch a glimpse of the future lineup across all positions with whom he might play in Lawrence.
One more note of interest in the Stanford recruiting process - David Padgett took the SAT for the first time this past Saturday. The young man says he did "fine," and should know the results in the next few weeks.
David has played and will continue to play his AAU ball with the Pump 'N Run squad, though there is a twist on the horizon for this summer. David is headed to Colorado Springs at the end of this month to try out for the U.S. National Junior Team, by invitation. Should he make that team, he will play with them throughout the summer and will not likely hit any of the usual events with the Pumps. If he does not make the national team, look for him at the ABCD camp in July in New Jersey, the Big Time in Las Vegas and the subsequent Best of Summer tournament in LA. The good news for David is that he should be at 100% with his knee healed and recovered for the tryouts in Colorado. His progress has come along enough that David has just started to play again, and all signs look positive.