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Originally published May 19, 2009 at 11:58a.m., updated May 19, 2009 at 02:56p.m.

Sought-after Wall opts to play for Kentucky

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John Wall, one of the nation's most sought-after high school recruits, has decided to play for John Calipari and Kentucky.

The point guard from Word of God Christian Academy in Raleigh had been pursued by numerous schools including Duke, Kansas and Miami. But he has committed to play join Calipari and the Wildcats, according to several media reports.

In an interview with Scout.com on Tuesday morning, Wall said his relationship with Calipari put the Wildcats over the top. He's part of a UK class that the recruiting site ranks as the nation's best.

Word of God is planning a news conference for Wall to formally announce his decision Wednesday.

Wall was named The Associated Press men's player of the year for North Carolina in March.

Even before Wall made his decision, Calipari's first recruiting class at Kentucky included point guard Eric Bledsoe, forward DeMarcus Cousins and center Daniel Orton.

All-Southeastern Conference center Patrick Patterson also decided to withdraw his name from consideration for the NBA draft and return to the Wildcats. Guard Jodie Meeks, the team's leading scorer last year, hasn't yet announced whether he will stay at Kentucky or remain in the draft.

Comments

michaelaho 10 years, 10 months ago

Calipari probably set the kid up on that breaking and entering charge, so the other schools would back off. That and some cold cash.

10 years, 10 months ago

UK definitely has some talented players coming in next year. It will be interesting to see how they mesh. I can see it either working out really well with them playing as a team, or it going horribly wrong with a bunch of me-first attitudes. Probably not a lot of in-between.

KY_Cats1 10 years, 10 months ago

This post on the other John Wall thread says it all.

KY_Cats1 (anonymous) says... Yes…Wall commits to UK! The return of Patterson and Meeks (announcement coming soon) cements the Cats as the most talented, deepest team in the nation next year. Add in the best coach and we are a lock to win it all, most likely in undefeated fashion.

How sweet it is to be in the Bluegrass and part of the greatest program in all of college sports. There’s still room for all of you from wannabe programs out there to jump on the Blue Mist bandwagon. Join us now or battle to be among the also-rans in 2009-’10.

Your ’09-’10 NCAA Men’s Basketball National Champion roster:

Coach Cal Patrick Patterson Jodie Meeks John Wall DeMarcus Cousins Daniel Orton Eric Bledsoe Darius Miller DeAndre Liggins Darnell Dodson Jon Hood Matt Pilgrim Perry Stevenson Kevin Galloway Ramon Harris

Just try to find a weakness…you can’t. There isn’t one. Talent and depth greater than any other team in the land.

The banner for title number 8 will look so sweet in Rupp Arena when it takes its place in 2010. Banners for numbers 9 and 10 to follow shortly thereafter.

Go Big Blue!!!

May 19, 2009 at 9:02 a.m. ( permalink | suggest removal )

Tony Bandle 10 years, 10 months ago

I wonder if the SEC will let UK play with more than one ball because that is what it's going to take to make all those OADs happy.

WOW...to be a Memphis fan now and see your recruiting class of the century end up in the next state. Calamari better hope that they have never heard of voodoo in Tennessee.

I truly hope we meet them somewhere down the line....it would be such great theatre.

In prespective, Bill and Roy and Cal have really set the recruiting standard high for the rest of Division One.

What CBS or ESPN or some other genius ought to figure out is to have a preseason tournament of champions every year. KU, UK, NC, Duke or UCLA.It would be like a preseaon Final Four!! It will never happen, of course, but it really would be something.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 10 months ago

Gosh, I wish Ashley Judd would quit sending these crazy emails!!!

Tony Bandle 10 years, 10 months ago

Er.....uh KY_Cats1......"try to find a weakness".....after a season with Coach Cal, try foul shooting.

littleb222000 10 years, 10 months ago

Haha funny that guy thinks they have no weakness in their team.

How about all the incoming freshman that are used to being "the guy" on their highschool team and they don't have the experience playing with each other at the college level yet. I wouldn't lock in Kentucky to be a top team yet.

You've already got Meeks and Patterson who are I guy players and now you add in several OAD guys that are gonna want to pad their stats and jump to the NBA. Have fun trying to share the ball.

jchawkfan 10 years, 10 months ago

KY_Cats1-Like I said on the other page you posted on.

Weakness #1-Half of your team has yet to play a D-1 basketball game.

Weakness #2-Coach Cal

TwinCitiesJHawk 10 years, 10 months ago

UK has 16 players on scholership when only 13 are allowed.

Andy Hess 10 years, 10 months ago

once Meeks comes back, that leaves UK with 4 scholarship players for Calamari to throw under the bus. Must feel great to be told you're not wanted by your new coach.

vmwskywalk 10 years, 10 months ago

Wall will not qualify for college. Mark my words!

alucard 10 years, 10 months ago

Interesting that these recruits flock to Cal like flies towards crap. Pretty accurate analogy actually.

KUPROUD 10 years, 10 months ago

A weakness? Wall hasn't played against good D-1 defense. It will be eye-opening and humbling for awhile.

Dan Pawlowski 10 years, 10 months ago

KY_Cats1,

If only championships were won on paper. There are lots of intangibles, and free throws. I think you will need that "KY" to get your head out of your butt.

100 10 years, 10 months ago

Looks like the head coach whose last name rhymes with the tiny oddly chewy delicious dish from the sea sharpened some pencils for Wall in a random restroom somewhere in North Carolina and dropped off a rather heavy duffel bag while he was at it.

Calapari couldn't leave well enough alone. With all the Memphis fans talking about his past recruiting & $ (some who claim to know ex-players), I wouldn't be surprised if Cal has finally done himself in by topping off his recruiting class with this red flag guy.

Surely the NCAA was just waiting to see who'd take the bait called "Wall-eye Hook Line & Sink(your) Program PowerBait".

I guess it doesn't really surprise me that Cal will probably be the bullseye for the NCAA now, forced to look into phone minutes, You tube tapes (obvious violations online already with Cousins), Cars, the $40k stipend the Memphis fans aren't hiding anymore and anything else Calipari.

What surprises me is I thought UK, a respectable program at one time, had learned their painful lesson (after Sutton put them on probation).

Jaminrawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Well, seeing as how neither Wall nor Cousins took a visit with Cal at KY, and the fact that neither are qualified yet, should explain why this situation smells a little. There was a reason why UNC never offered this kid and why Self pretty much stopped recruiting him all together.

Everyone knew Tim Floyd was cheating at USC and he finally seems to have gotten caught. To me, it seems like just a matter of time before "World Wide" Wes and Calipari get caught with a scandal.

Joe Ross 10 years, 10 months ago

If Roy Williams, Mike Kryskiewski [sic], Huggy Bear, Bill Self, et. al were all in a room, I bet there'd be one topic of discussion. Kentucky's recruiting class and the future of recruiting as we know it.

Let's face it. No one in these comments thinks this year is going to be any exception in recruiting at Kentucky. Sign Lance.

rcaltrider 10 years, 10 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

100 10 years, 10 months ago

He is so busted. Go check out the Memphis papers and see what their fans are saying.

As mad as most of us were when Roy took off, we would have NEVER said anything like that abou our ex-coach..

(Perhaps because we knew he was not cheating!)

Where there's smoke there's fire -- now there's a bunch of smoke -- I guess over the next few months we'll see if the NCAA investigated anything that is already online (YouTube) for the public to see

Tyler Daniels 10 years, 10 months ago

"Just try to find a weakness…you can’t"

ACTUALLY, I can find a few. How about experience? KU is going to be WAY better than Kentucky. We have Talent (way more than you guys have, you know why? because they also have played a season together!), Experience and they have actually played against tough teams! But I understand Kentucky fans thinking they have the title in their hands, and why wouldn't they? I mean, I would if I were them because this is the last year they will see any of those top recruits because that is what Cal does, get one and dones. Self gets actual players (with the exception of Xavier probably this year, the first one and done in KU history since when?) to make teams! TEAMS win championships, not one and dones. Also, lets just hope you don't get in to any pressure situations at the free throw line. Have fun getting knocked around. Undefeated you say? really? Have fun doing that with a bunch of teenagers.

irish2255 10 years, 10 months ago

417, you don't need to say someone from ky is on meth, it's like saying water is wet. Everyone already knows

blowhard 10 years, 10 months ago

NOT TO JINX ANYTHING, BUT If we play Kentucky in a 2010 NCAA Tournament game, it would be a stratospheric CBS ratings experience. Don't we know the hype leading up to a game of this magnitude would be rather ostentatious???...On paper we match up great vs. Kentucky ("on paper" means absolutely nothing)...This could be another collision at the free-throw line...This could be another great Kansas team with a great opportunity to whack a "one and done" Kentucky team...This could be anything...We likely dodged a bullet with John Wall...ROCK CHALK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

100 10 years, 10 months ago

Stratospheric ratings because:

  1. It's Self
  2. It's Cal (& someone from UK made sure the NCAA looked the other way)
  3. It's Kansas
  4. It's.... Rupp (Kansas grad turned Kentucky coach)... It's Alpha Brumage (Kansas man turned UK coach)... It's Eddie Sutton (kid raised in Kansas turned Kentucky coach)... It's Cal (man who asst coached first at Kansas turned Kentucky coach so far for five weeks)
  5. The NCAA investigations committee gives Cal a pass for ratings.
  6. Because it's "CAL vs KANSAS"

Of course the ratings would be good -- just like last time it was Cal vs our team.

The biggest question still is -- why is the rules committee being mysteriously locked out of their offices all of the sudden? Can they balance two big investigations at once?

How do you spell head coach at UK?

P

R

O

B

A

T

I

O

N

100 10 years, 10 months ago

KY_Cats1,

Your points are very valid...

Right now.

As for weaknesses, due to UK fans like you (and now Memphis fans spilling the beans online & YouTube showing Cousins talking accidentally about a recruiting violation by Calipari), you guys are making it OBVIOUS for the NCAA that something is extremely fishy with Cal.

So your weaknesses, come March, seem quite apparent.

  1. Probation
  2. Probation
  3. Probation

Don't say you weren't warned -- you just need to find some other sight to go run your pie hole about obvious recruiting violation smoke coming from Cal's ears, whether it be at your place or at Memphis.

Put another way, why do you think he left Memphis? (it would probably be smart to not get into this discussion, i'd go back to my own website if I was you and research Calipari & what you used to think/ know about him deep in your heart before he took your school's job).

Want it spelled out?

No

One,

Not even

Wooden himself,

Could bring

The "type" of talent

And the numbers,

He brought

Into Memphis,

a small conference program.

Ask any coach out there. Search your soul. Why did you guys pay him 32 million?

You know why.

Don't hide from the truth.

You guys haven't had stacked talent there at UK for a decade. No one wanted to play there (and I don't blame them what a lame campus). Coaches didn't want to coach there. Coaches were embarrassed, ran out of town.

Search your soul, UK Catfan. What you knew already about him last year (and complained about at the bars) has been highlighted nationally now for everyone to see.

We're not stupid, and I know you're not either.

  1. Search your soul & rediscover the truth.
  2. Quit posting on our website. We didn't want him. UNC didn't want him. Duke backed off. UCLA didn't even want him.
  3. Cal just busted himself. Accept it and move on. You'll feel better if you do.

100 10 years, 10 months ago

UK_Cats1,

In short we want to respect you guys like we did in the past.

Don't come on here bragging about what Cal is doing.

It makes you look bad (and this debate really has nothing to do about UK, honestly this Cal thing we've been getting bombed by their fans for a year now they're saying he cheated too, and it was obvious, etc).

So just go back to your site. If you win the SEC, come back and let us know.

Rock Chalk

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

KY_Cats1,

No weakness in the team? Try PG?

Name the last NCAA champion that started a freshman point guard.

I can't think of one. Can you?

Now let's look at Calipari's recruits, which are supposed to comprise the best group this year.

Wall--Self turned him down, after recruiting him for awhile. Cousins--Self would like to have had him without a doubt. Orton--Self turned him down and farmed him to Gillispie early, then might have taken Orton here at the very end (because Cole Aldrich developed so fast he's going to jump sooner than Self expected), but then apparently closed the door again on Orton, too (which I personally wish he had not). Eric Bledsoe--Self wanted Xavier Henry, or Lance Stephenson, not Bledsoe.

So: Cal landed only one guy that Self really wanted. And Cal lost the one guy that many have said is probably the A-Number-One premier talent in this class--Xavier Henry.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

Now let's look at Self's class.

Xavier Henry--everyone wanted him. And he is a perfect fit for our two future NBA First Round Draft Choices--Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich--and will likely be a third NBA First Round Draft Choice on next year's team.

CJ Henry--Highly regarded before he chose to play pro baseball, fell off the radar in the minor leagues, and yet everyone who knows the kid says CJ is going to be a serious threat immediately.

Elijah Johnson--Not an OAD, but considered to be the most athletically explosive guard Self has ever recruited--that includes NBA draft choice and NBA starter Mario Chalmers and future NBA draft choice Sherron Collins. Elijah is the most absurdly underrated guard recruit in some time. Did you see him throwing it down in that meat market game recently? Self knows guards. Trust me. He recruits what he calls impact players at guard. By March next year, Elijah will be throwing it down on Bledsoe, or Wall, too, if we play. Oh, and he'll be doing that coming off the bench, because we've got two experienced starting guards.

Thomas Robinson--Robinson was the 4 everyone wanted to go with Henry and Stephenson and Wall and Cousins, early in the recruiting process, whenever anyone talked about packaging them, until Robinson committed early to KU and fell off the hype charts. Self took this guy instead of Orton, and instead of waiting for Cousins. Robinson is a stud and exactly the great rebounder KU needs at the 4 to supplement Marcus Morris, who is set to supernova this season. Robinson is not quite the super talent Cousins is, but he is good enough to guard Cousins head up already, and outrebound him, when Robinson comes in for our starting 4.

Jeff Withey--6'10" center/forward, who was very highly ranked as an incoming freshman when landed by Arizona, and who trannied to KU when Lute Olson went into early onset Alzheimers. Everybody wanted Withey. He can score on anyone in the paint and should be beefed up next season to stay with Orton, when he comes in to give Aldrich a rest.

To tell you the truth, we've probably got the better incoming class in terms of fit for our returning nucleus, and once the hype wears off, probably based on talent, too.

And the real beauty is that outside of Henry, all our recruits that are just about as talented as your recruits are, will be coming in off the bench, where their inexperience won't hurt us much.

When I look at our incoming recruits I feel like Self just robbed a Brinks Truck.

When I look at UK's bunch, I think they are good, but I am reminded of Martin Luther King's quote:

"I'm not worried about anything.

I'm not fearing any man!

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!!"

Give me an Amen, will ya brother KY_Cats1.

I have been to the mountain top. i have seen. Trust me. :-)

Dan Pawlowski 10 years, 10 months ago

jaybate, you are wrong " (because Cole Aldrich developed so fast he's going to jump sooner than Self expected)" Bill has publicly admitted that this is Cole's last year before he jumps to the NBA.

KANSTUCKY 10 years, 10 months ago

Funny how Cal keeps raking them in when he doesn't have the room to ink them. I sense a little bad blood in the UK locker room already, especially since they just landed another PG. "Whoever doesn't want a ring can walk out that door right now." They might as well bring Lance in too. Defense wins championships! (except for last year)

yates33333 10 years, 10 months ago

If Cal isn't carefully he is going to get kicked out of NCAA sports as well.

kubball99 10 years, 10 months ago

TwinCitiesJHawk and swishymcjayhawk have it right. With 16 scholarship players and possibly 17 if Meeks returns, there are several Kentucky players who are going to get thrown under the bus. My guess is that Coach Cal will figure out how to make it work so he is able to keep "his guys," but it simply speaks to his character, which most people would agree is shady at best. There is no doubt he can recruit, but one can certainly question how he does it and at what cost. Given everything that's gone on, I would expect the NCAA to take a hard look at Coach Cal and his years at Memphis and the few months he has been at Kentucky. It should make all Jayhawk fans thankful that Coach Self is at the helm; a great coach and a class act.

KyCats75 10 years, 10 months ago

How about a little sanity in this discussion? Let's not convict Calipari (which doesn't rhyme with calamari, btw) for NCAA violations created from pure speculation, or forget that both schools have been sanctioned for NCAA violations. I believe KU is short a scholarship at present, in fact. Even Coach Roy got slapped. Neither of us can claim the moral high ground here. And let's not label John Wall a criminal. The News and Observer reported today that he was seen leaving an abandoned house with friends and was cited for a misdemeanor (not arrested)-- no forced entry, no theft, no vandalism. A stupid teenager decision to be sure, but John Dillinger he ain't. In fact, word around the Triangle is he's a pretty good kid.

As for flaws in the 2009-10 Cats, there are some big ones, the obvious being lack of experience. The 2007-08 Tar Heels were loaded but had to come back a second time to win it all in 09, after being spanked by KU in the tournament. (For which you have my eternal gratitude.) Michigan's Fab Five was pretty talented, too, and they didn't make it. (Speaking of NCAA violations. . .) On the other hand, the Cats are loaded.

Both teams have Final 4 potential. Maybe one or both will get there. Then we'll know who has the better team. Until then, a little sanity. . .please.

JayJayPG 10 years, 10 months ago

What puzzles me most about this Kentucky recruiting class, especially now that Wall has verbally committed, is how all these alleged "OAD's" are going to be able to make enough of an impact to solidify a decent position in the NBA draft after one year. Assuming Meeks/Patterson are returning, you've got a pair of experienced players combined with slew of cocky young talent (who are convinced they are God's gift to basketball) all essentially competing against themselves to get their numbers. I can see this potentially turning into a big chemistry nightmare and if that's the case, I am thoroughly going to enjoy watching it unfold.

justanotherfan 10 years, 10 months ago

Here are the point guards for the last several champions and runners up

1997 - Arizona (Mike Bibby, FR) Kentucky (Wayne Turner, JR) 1998 - Kentucky (Wayne Turner, SR) Utah (Andre Miller, SR) 1999 - UConn (Khalid El Amin, SO) Duke (William Avery, SO) 2000 - Michigan State (Mateen Cleaves, SR) Florida (Ted Dupay, SO) 2001 - Duke (Jay Williams, SO), Arizona (Jason Gardner, SO) 2002 - Maryland (Steve Blake, JR) Indiana (Dane Fife, SR) 2003 - Syracuse (Gerry McNamara, FR) Kansas (Aaron Miles, SO) 2004 - UConn (Taliek Brown, SR) Georgia Tech (Jarrett Jack, SO) 2005 - North Carolina (Raymond Felton, JR) Illinois (Dee Brown, JR) 2006 - Florida (Taurean Green, SO) UCLA (Jordan Farmar, SO) 2007 - Florida (Taurean Green, JR) Ohio State (Mike Conley, FR) 2008 - Kansas (Russell Robinson, SR) Memphis (Derrick Rose, FR) 2009 - North Carolina (Ty Lawson, JR) Michigan State (Kalin Lucas, SO)

6 senior PGs, 4 of whom won titles 6 juniors, 4 of whom won titles 10 sophomores, 3 of whom won titles 4 freshmen, 2 of whom won titles

The biggest thing that jumps out to me is that very rarely did another year of seasoning do much for these PGs. Kentucky and Florida are the only teams on the list that made it back to the title game the next year and won it all. This is especially notable because only two of the sophs (Avery and Farmar) left their school after that season. Dupay couldn't get Florida back. Gardner couldn't get Arizona back. Miles couldn't get KU back. Jack couldn't get Georgia Tech back. It remains to be seen what Lucas will do.

What does this all mean? Well, I think it means that experience at the point isn't that big a deal if you have experience (as in Bibby's case) or a superstar (in McNamara's case) around the point guard. You can get to the title game with a pretty average point guard (Robinson, Green, T Brown, Dupay, Fife). Maybe even win it all.

Brett Forreal 10 years, 10 months ago

Well, Let's just see Wall hang with Collins. It won't happen like Rose couldn't handle him two years ago. Don't see UK getting all the way with KU anyway.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

justanotherfan,

Thanks for posting these facts (even though they span the 64 and 65 team eras a bit); this gives us some reality to chew on.

Clearly one can win a ring with a frosh PG. Glad you reminded my feeble memory with the facts. I recalled some of the frosh PGs that got there, but not the ones who won. How could I have forgotten one of my all time favorite college PGs: Mike Bibby?

Still, what your 13 year, 26 PG data set indicates to me is this:

Fewer frosh PGs get to ring games than sophs, juniors or seniors.

Fewer frosh PGs win ring games, as a percentage, of the ring games they reach, than juniors and seniors.

These facts support conventional wisdom.

The counter intuitive insight is that Soph PGs win, once in the ring game, at a lesser rate than Frosh. Interesting!

Small sample sizes, inadequately specified parameters, non-normal population distributions, etc., might bias the results. Of course, that could explain all of these results. :-)

Some one should take a shot at explaining this glaring deficiency in sophmore PGs.

Regarding drawing inferences from the fact that a PG could not get a team back; that gets too shaky. Too many changes year to year to isolate the PGs contribution, or lack there of, to the failure of a team to return (Aaron Miles being a prime example losing Hinrich and Collison and getting a new coach).

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

KyCats75,

This is just a discussion. Why shouldn't we speculate about Cal being involved in wrong doing, since he has head coached at a school that violated rules in the past and is experiencing recruiting results that are starkly anomalous outliers among leading coaches at leading programs? We would have to be kind of stupid not to, wouldn't we?

Your reference to Roy utterly justifies us speculatively doubting that Cal is playing by the rules. If even goody two shoes Roy crossed the line, then it seems improbable, does it not, that Cal is not spending considerable time beyond the line.

If Coach Cal and his assistants and alumni have done nothing wrong, he and UK and Memphis have nothing to worry about. Simple. I say let the NCAA investigate and let the chips fall where they may.

Again, I hope for the best for Coach Cal, because he started out at KU under LB. I view him as a pretty decent sort of a guy with a winning brand of ball that I hope we never adopt. But I am also able to grasp the anomalousness of his recruiting success and wonder reasonably what is up. KU has been successful for such a long time now under Larry, Roy and Bill that it does not surprise me that we would land some super blue chips. But even we have to really struggle to do it and, frankly, only get a few. Somehow Cal gets quite a few at Memphis? Then Cal gets a load at UK, which has been down on its luck for awhile? I've been to Lexington. A coach at UK faces the same limitations of place that a coach at KU does. So: what gives? It is reasonable to suspect some kind of artificial sweetener.

justanotherfan 10 years, 10 months ago

ralster,

When I say pretty average, I mean in reference to the rest of the nation. RussRob is a good guard, no doubt, but there were a lot of guards in the country that were better. As you pointed out, though, he fit his role on that team perfectly, and that helped the Hawks to the title. He would have no doubt provided a steadying influence on last year's team and was definitely missed for that reason.

Comparatively, though, RussRob wasn't a star like Bibby, or Felton, or Jay Williams, or Lawson. He was more like a Mateen Cleaves, though to a lesser degree of importance as Cleaves was to that Michigan State team.

Interesting note, though. Against Memphis, even though RussRob was one of our best defenders, he only played 20 minutes. Kaun only played 21 minutes. The lions share of the minutes went to the five guys that were all pretty clearly NBA talent - Chalmers, Collins, Rush, Arthur and Jackson.

Craig Lang 10 years, 10 months ago

Wow, apparently the news stories I've been reading about Calipari have huge paragraphs missing from them. From reading these comments, it appears that he's pretty much been proven guilty of everything from minor recruiting violations to orchestrating the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand (which started WWI, for those of you who don't get the reference).

I'll admit that I don't like Calipari and that there is something suspicious about the guy (the same way I felt about Kelvin Sampson), but until anybody comes forward with actual evidence, I am just going to resent him for being a good recruiter from a rival school. In the meantime, I do agree with those who say that Kentucky is not quite "perfect," and even with Wall the Wildcats have some major flaws that prevents them from being as strong this season as the upcoming KU squad.

JayJayPG 10 years, 10 months ago

That's a fitting post from you (lalawguy)...innocent until proven guilty. As fun as it is to accuse him of wrongdoing, I completely agree with you. If anyone has ever heard Cal speak (like a politician) or is familiar with how he socially networks himself through every coaching pipeline imaginable, it's easy to see why he is good at recruiting. He's a genius at telling you everything you want to hear and glorifying it to the fullest extent. He's far from modest, he loves face time, and he is well connected with all the right people when it comes to getting his name out there. It seems like a recipe for success for landing all these top recruits.

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