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06-08-2007, 01:49 PM
It's June. Billy Gillispie's first game as Kentucky coach is more than five months into the future. Yet this weekend looms as significant in the 24/7 business of college basketball because UK stages its first summer camp designed specifically for future recruiting prospects.

Think the mountain going to Mohammed.

According to the recruiting calendar, college coaches cannot recruit off campus during June, or as the NCAA calls it, this quiet period. But coaches can stage so-called elite camps in which prospects come to campus.

Poca (W.Va.) High Coach Allen Osborne captured the premise when he said of college coaches, "They can't go out. So they bring them to them."

Hence, this weekend's 2007 Billy Gillispie Elite Camp, which starts today and finishes Sunday with a bang: the campers, whom Gillispie guessed would number between 60 and 90, will play in Rupp Arena. Among the campers are one of Osborne's players, point guard Noah Cottrill, which the Hoop Scoop recruiting service rates as the 33rd best player in the high school class of 2010.

Gillispie noted how the camp allows future prospects to see a campus and its basketball facilities.

"A lot of times, you're able to identify a guy at an early, early age," the UK coach said, "and they get to know you."

If the recruiting process heats up, "They can put a face with the voice and the name," he said.

With Gillispie and his staff new faces at Kentucky, the elite camp has a catch-up quality. "It's a way, with the coaching change, hopefully we'll be making up ground," Gillispie said.

In future years, Gillispie hopes to throw a recruiting net over a larger expanse of the country. He also hopes to start a junior elite camp for players as young as fourth graders.

It's never too early to start developing relationships, the UK coach said.

Not that UK is getting a leg up on the competition.

One of the participants at UK this weekend, sophomore-to-be Dakotah Euton, has been invited to Florida's elite camp later this month. Cottrill may cut short his stay to make an appearance at Marshall's elite camp.

Before he departed for Minnesota, former UK coach Tubby Smith had been considering an elite camp here. UK has had top prospects as summer campers, most notably Clark Kellogg and Ralph Sampson in the 1970s, but never has the school staged a camp specifically for possible prospects.

Sandy Bell, UK's compliance officer, noted such elite camps meet NCAA guidelines so long as campers are taken on a first-come, first-served basis. A school can select the level of ability required for a camp, but not select specific players, she said.

Kentucky solicited applications for the elite camp on its Web site.

Euton, a forward for Rose Hill in Ashland, is one of several players for the Cleveland-based Ohio Basketball Club who are expected to play in UK's elite camp. Others include Rose Hill teammate Chad Jackson (coincidentally, a Lexington native who transferred to the Ashland school as a seventh-grader), Clay Coleman of Ryle High and Chris Richards of Louisville Southern High. All will be sophomores next season.

Six players from the Scott County team that won this year's Kentucky state championship plan to attend. The six are seniors-to-be Bud Mackey, whose participation calls into question his earlier commitment to Indiana, Jordan Lee, Tyler Portwood, Cameron Hundley and Jordan Adams, plus junior Richie Phares.

Senior-to-be Darius Miller of Mason County could not attend. He left yesterday for an 11-day trip to Italy.

Other players expected to attend include Tyler Zeller, the 6-foot-10 senior-to-be from Washington, Ind., and K.C. Ross-Miller, a point guard Hoop Scoop rates as the fourth-best player in the class of 2010.

Euton took up Gillispie's offer earlier this year to work out in the Joe Craft Center. Now he returns for the camp in hopes of impressing the UK coach well enough to receive a scholarship offer.

"I know Kentucky's first on his list," said Clay Euton, the player's father. "Before Coach Gillispie, they were not even considered."

His son favored Florida and Duke, said the elder Euton, who noted how Gillispie's staff has been more aggressive than Tubby Smith's staff in its recruiting effort. UK Assistant Coach Jeremy Cox calls "three or four times a week, almost daily," Clay Euton said with the ongoing message of "how important it is to get the best kids in the state."

While Dakotah Euton, a 6-8 forward, might commit if offered by UK, Jackson would likely be more cautious, his mother said.

"I don't think we're going to do something like that just yet," Joy Barry said. "Even though I'm a huge Kentucky fan, I think it's a little early."

06-08-2007, 03:09 PM
ah, this is awesome. we should have had one of these a LONG time ago.

06-08-2007, 03:12 PM
we should have had one of these a LONG time ago