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Black Monday

Posted by Matt on May 15, 2007

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A day most University of Kentucky fans would like to forget may forever be remembered by those who diligently follow Wildcat recruiting as “Black Monday.” The University of Kentucky did not lose just one, not two, but three top recruits in a matter of roughly six hours. It all started with Decatur Christian 7-footer Beas Hamga declaring his intentions to go to the University of Nevada-Las Vegas in the early afternoon. This event was followed closely by Houston-Bellaire stud point guard Jai Lucas declaring, in a personally-organized press conference, his commitment to the dreaded University of Florida. Down, but not out, University of Kentucky fans were comforted by the fact that there were still some names left to be checked off of the list to replace the fallen few, but just as hopes turned around, assumed Hamga replacement for the day, and Springdale Har-ber High standout, Michael Sanchez did the unthinkable, he committed to the University of Arkansas.

I am going to go right down the list of noncommittals and dissect, briefly, each’s decision:

  1. Beas Hamga: This one probably shocked me the most of any of them throughout the day as I was convinced we had him locked considering it was basically Coach Billy Gillispie who talked Hamga in to reclassifying as a 2007 recruit. On top of this, all of the buzz around his past visit to UNLV was that it was nothing to write home about. It seems that with his issues with the NCAA, Coach Gillispie had to put a lot of effort in to this one, and all for not. I guess it is tough to compete with the “City That Never Sleeps” as UNLV is literally blocks from the Las Vegas Strip. The only claims that I have heard, and I have no links to reference this (if I find one, I will surely post it), is that all of the Facebook and MySpace messages received by Hamga by Kentucky’s unruly fans were a turn off for both Hamga and Coach Huss, his AAU Coach and guardian. If this is the case, I will be EXTREMELY upset as I am getting IMMENSELY tired of Kentucky’s ridiculous fans. Think about this scenario: YOU ARE 45-YEARS OLD AND MySpace MESSAGING AN 18-YEAR-OLD HIGH SCHOOLER BEGGING HIM TO COME PLAY BASKETBALL FOR THE COLLEGE IN THE TOWN WHERE YOU HOLD YOUR BLUE COLLAR JOB. And my advice to you: STOP IT.

  2. Jai Lucas: This was probably the most frustrating of the three as Lucas strung the University of Kentucky out for quite sometime. We were probably just lucky to even be in the hunt this late in the game with Lucas’s relationship with Tubby Smith falling to the wayside by Tubby’s departure. Coach Gillispie is not a miracle worker and I think Kentucky fans became a little over zealous at the site of Coach Gillispie’s hardcore recruiting ways, myself included. The problem was only perpetuated by Lucas’s family supposedly leaning “towards Kentucky,” along with the hiring of Glenn Cyprian as an Assistant Coach as he is allegedly close friend to the Lucas family. Nonetheless, the wait was extremely long and if it were not for the complete recruiting practices of Coach Gillispie, Jai forcing us to wait this long really could have left us with the recruiting cupboards completely bare.

  3. Michael Sanchez: Sanchez was probably the one I knew the least about of the three today and thus the one I was most unsure about. I was never completely sold on Sanchez and some accounts pin him for a bit of an attitude problem, something no Kentucky fan wants any part of anymore. That being said, ARKANSAS?!?! I mean I realize you are roughly ten minutes from the campus, but give me a break. Riddle me this Mr. Sanchez: you are telling me that instead of wanting to play for the winningest college basketball program of all time with the greatest practice facility to date, you would rather spend your time playing hoops in a state KNOWN ONLY FOR BILL CLINTON. I mean seriously, what else is there in, or about, Arkansas?

I really do not understand how, with our program, our facilities, our coach, our arena, our fans, our history, and our legacy, we cannot “seal the deal” with these top-tier recruits year after year. Every now and again we will have a flash-in-the-pan recruiting season and land a Randolph Morris, Ramel Bradley, or Jodie Meeks, but otherwise it seems difficult for this program to close out on a recruit. Now I realize that Coach Gillispie has only been on the recruiting trail for roughly 5-weeks, but it seems as if the little leg work Tubby did, coupled with the self-recruiting features of Kentucky outlined in my article “Tools Of The Trade”, that we would have landed at least one of the above three today.

But I guess I was wrong. I guess the spotlight was too big for Beas Hamga. I guess the spotlight was not big enough for Jai Lucas. And I guess there were not as many hillbillies in Kentucky as there was in Arkansas for Michael Sanchez. Whatever the case may be, realize that it is nowhere near time to jump, Kentucky fans, as I am confident that Coach Billy Gillispie has it all under control, and you should too.

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4 Responses to “Black Monday”

  1. George said

    You call the myspace fans ridiculous, yet claim “there isn’t enough incest” for one of the recruits? You need to take a look in the mirror- and maybe a deep breath.

  2. Condo said

    The incest comment Matt made was a joke where as the people sending the myspace comments are completely serious when they send them. UK fans can be overbearing sometimes and I think that’s what Matt was trying to say.

  3. Matt said

    I was making a joke about the South and/or Arkansas, this a cynical website, if you do not get the sarcasm then I am sorry. Older men on MySpace harassing High Schoolers to the point of scaring them away is enough to get Chris Hanson with Dateline NBC to show up. So yes, not leaving students alone to the point of harassment is ridiculous. Please learn to separate the truth from sarcasm.

  4. Matt said

    Oh yeah, I almost forgot, thanks for reading the site, though! I am serious.

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