By Dr. John Huang
We all know that in the “dog eat dog” world of basketball recruiting, there has to be a lot of mud slinging going on. Especially against top-dog programs like Kentucky, you’d think rival recruiters would say anything to get an edge. Texts, lies, and videotapes have got to be tools of the slimy trade, right?
We’ll, we asked new Kentucky recruiting coordinator, Jai Lucas, about what he expects on the recruiting trail this year. After all, he’s no rookie when it comes to reeling in the big fish. Now packing the powerful punch of a brand-name marquee program, he ought to be able to land some grade-A catches.
What, then, is the No. 1 thing that rival programs use against Kentucky in the recruiting battle cesspools? Inquiring minds want to know.
“The one thing in recruiting against Kentucky that a lot of people use is that [Kentucky has] so many top freshmen that are going to come in with you,” Lucas revealed to Michael on the show this morning. “How are you going to be able to do and produce? The numbers you need to be the draft pick you want to get. So a lot of the [other programs] try to sell the ‘there’s not enough balls to go around’ type pitch.”
That’s not necessarily surprising or revelatory. BBN knows full well that it takes a certain kind of athlete and person to thrive in the competitive pressure that comes with being a Wildcat. But you’d have to think that there’s a lot of dirt being thrown around about either the program itself or about John Calipari. Otherwise, why can’t Kentucky land a quality big man? C’mon Jai, what about the negative recruiting that we know has to be prevalent out there?
“Not any negative,” Lucas said with a straight face. “The one thing about Coach Cal is that he’s exactly who he is on TV. He’s going to tell you the truth.”
It was obvious that Jai was on his best behavior and either misunderstood the question or was not about to “tell all” to our bumbling Just The Cats host. He did, however, offer up this final nugget of truth about the challenges of dealing with the best talent in America.
“The bad thing about [being one-and-done] is that you already have one foot out the door because you’re looking to get to the NBA, you’re looking to get drafted,” he said. “The way Coach Cal is able to mentally pull them into the moment of being where they are right now and try to win the national championship and try to compete for championships—that’s the hardest part I believe about coaching the one-and-done. Getting them to lock on doing what’s best for the team in eight months is the hardest part of the job.”
With Jai Lucas pulling them in and John Calipari coaching them up, Wildcat fans should be locked and loaded for some additional championship runs.