Now that Brandon Knight has committed to Kentucky, the best remaining player yet to choose his school is ESPNU's No. 4-ranked player, Josh Selby. Selby, who was once verbally committed to Bruce Pearl at Tennessee, reopened his recruitment months ago and has been considering Kansas and Kentucky alongside the Volunteers, Connecticut and Arizona.
Fortunately,* Selby is one of a host of players planning to announce his decision Saturday at the Jordan Brand Classic. Which way is he leaning? It was difficult to believe Selby would want to attend Kentucky now that he'd be stuck alongside Knight, but then again, Calipari not only got Eric Bledsoe and John Wall to work, he landed both of them in the NBA draft. Anything was possible. But, thanks to a column on John Calipari's recruitment by SI's always-excellent Luke Winn, we now have a pretty good idea of where Selby isn't going: Kentucky.
When I asked Selby for his reaction on Knight, he said, "I didn't know that it happened. I don't have a reaction, because it doesn't have any effect on where I'm going."
What he meant by it not having any effect on him is that he feels he's good enough to earn time in any backcourt, whether it be alongside Knight or the Jayhawks' Tyshawn Taylor. But one could sense that Selby, who's going to announce his college choice at halftime of Saturday's Jordan game, wasn't too interested in Kentucky. He mentioned that while he'd spoken with Kansas coach Bill Self a few days earlier, he hadn't spoken with Calipari in a couple of months.
I asked if I should take that as a sign. Selby said, "Yeah, that's a sign."
Winn's column has a lot more to do with Calipari than Selby; the theory here is that we're focusing a bit too much of Kentucky's spring recruiting haul and ignoring the host of very good players -- Duke recruit Kyrie Irving, for one -- that will have a much larger effect on the 2010 game than will either Knight or Kentucky's other bigtime recruit, Enes Kanter. This is true.
Here's another question worth asking: Is John Calipari perhaps relying too much on landing really good, really high-profile, really temporary recruits? Winn quotes Cal lamenting what would have happened if he could have kept this year's team for three years. Bummer, right? There's not much you can do except recruit the best players and hope they stay for more than eight months. But part of building a program is in finding those Robert Dozier anchor types -- guys that are really good and can start for your elite team but that aren't going to leave for the NBA after one year. Calipari has build those teams before. He hasn't had enough time at Kentucky, but no doubt he's working on it.
Anyway, rambling thoughts aside, Josh Selby appears headed to Kansas. At the very least, he won't be forming Bledsoe-Wall 2.0 in Kentucky's backcourt anytime soon. And so the dominoes continue to fall.
*By "fortunately," I mean fortunately for anyone who finds tracking the mental machinations of teenagers to be more than a little exhausting.