The Cats R Back! Coach Cal Lands Top Recruiting Class; Patterson Returns to Lead the Frontcourt.

5/8/09 in NCAABB   |   Drakesrake_77   |   82 respect

  • March 27, 2009: Coach Billy Gillispie is fired as UK's head basketball coach.  At that point UK's 2009 recruiting class consisted of: Daniel Orton (5-star C/PF); John Hood (4-star SG/SF); and GJ Villarino (3-star PG).  They were then ranked #27 on ESPN's team rankings.  (Memphis was ranked #1 at that time)
  • April 1, 2009: Kentucky wastes no time in their coaching search, and John Calipari is named the new head basketball coach at Kentucky; making him the highest paid coach in college basketball history.
  • April 8, 2009: Just one week after his arrival, Coach Calipari signs 5-star C/PF Demarcus Cousins (#2 overall in the '09 class).
  • April 24, 2009: 4-star Junior College transfer SF Darnell Dodson signs LOI, following Coach Calipari to Kentucky. 6' 6" Dodson was originally recruited by PITT and briefly attended there in 2007.  However, he was ruled ineligible and chose to leave his freshman year to attend Miami Dade Junior College.     
  • May 6, 2009: 5-star PG Eric Bledsoe chooses Kentucky over offers from Florida, Memphis, Cincinnati, and Alabama.
  • May 9, 2009: After factoring in the addition all of Coach Calipari's new recruits, now ranks UK's 2009 recruiting class as #1 in the land.  Not bad for a month's work.  

Kentucky's 2009 recruiting class doesn't necessarily end with them either.  Coach Calipari is still heavily recruiting the #1 player in the country, PG John Wall (Raleigh, NC).  Wall has until May 20, 2009 to make up his mind where he wants to go.  There is little doubt that the addition of John Wall would vault this class to the #1 spot for good, and become the best recruiting class in UK's recent history. 

With Jodie Meeks testing the NBA waters without hiring an agent, many people are asking, "How will Kentucky manage giving scholarships to all these players, especially if Meeks decides to come back to college next year?"  Here's how they work it out.  

UK has 13 scholarships to give for men's basketball.  They have to give scholarships to their 5 new recruits provided they all become eligible.  If Meeks comes back, they will give 6 more scholarships to: Meeks (senior), Patterson (junior), R. Harris (senior), P. Stevenson (senior), Kevin Galloway (senior) and sophomore standout Darius Miller.  That leaves two scholarships left; one if PG John Wall decides he wants to play for UK. 

That leaves the rest of the players to compete for the last one or two scholarships. Players like AJ Stewart, DeAndre Liggins, and Josh Harrellson will see how they are fitting into the system and show the coaching staff and their new teammates that they can contribute in a meaningful way.  Some players will probably decide to transfer to another program.  No matter who stays or leaves out of that group, Kentucky will have senior leadership in Ramon Harris, Perry Stevenson, junior Patrick Patterson, and maybe Meeks.  
  • Perhaps even bigger news comes today!  Patrick Patterson will return for his junior year!  His return creates perhaps the most dominating groups in the nation down low.  He and Perry Stevenson combined for 137 blocks last year and then you add Cousins and Orton.  Patterson's leadership for those freshman big men will be instrumental, not to mention Coach Calipari is a good big guy coach.  That should leave fresh legs in the paint all season long (barring injury).
When they open the new basketball arena in Lexington (2012-2015), most UK fans now truly believe that they will be carrying a shiny new NCAA Championship banner from the rafters of Rupp Arena.  I want to see how fast and he can implement the dribble-drive offense with many on team previously using primarily the high low, but I feel more hopeful than I did with Gillispie as head coach.  They will receive so much publicity next year (more than usual).  Think about UK v. UL this year.  I'm drooling already. : )     
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