Bledsoe signs with Kentucky

Kentucky met its top remaining recruiting need on Wednesday when Eric Bledsoe signed with UK.

Bledsoe, whom the recruiting service Rivals.com ranks as the third best point guard in the high school class of 2009, picked Kentucky over Memphis.

Bledsoe’s commitment is not expected to adversely affect Kentucky’s pursuit of another point guard, the celebrated John Wall.

Bledsoe, a native of Birmingham, Ala., cited new UK Coach John Calipari and Kentucky’s love for basketball as factors.
“When Alabama recruited him at the end, he said, ‘Coach, it’s pretty much football, football, football all the time,’ ” said Maurice Ford, Bledsoe’s coach at Birmingham’s Parker High School.

“ ‘I’m a basketball player. Every time I pick up the paper, they’re writing about football. Coach, I want to go where basketball is important, where everyone knows and loves the game.’ ”

Calipari, who earlier recruited Bledsoe for Memphis, played a “big role” in the decision, Bledsoe said.

“I hung out with him a lot when I was up there,” he said of an official visit last weekend. “He told me I’d be his starting point guard.”

Calipari, whom Bledsoe called a “really funny dude,” spoke of playing more than one point guard should Wall also sign with Kentucky.

“He’s very competitive, very tough,” Rivals analyst Jerry Meyer said of Bledsoe. “He understands how to win basketball games. He can do pretty much everything you need a point guard to do except shoot. He’s not a great shooter. But he’s good enough to keep the defense honest.”

Another analyst, Brick Oettinger of Prep Stars, cited shooting as a reason his recruiting service only rated Bledsoe at No. 80 among the prospects in the Class of 2009.

“I don’t think he’s a very good shooter,” Oettinger said. “That was the major thing. What he’s best at is pushing the ball on the break and dishing. When having to set up in the halfcourt, he’s not as effective. But he’s quick.”

Bledsoe, a 6-foot player from Birmingham, Ala., did well in the Derby Festival Basketball Classic in April. He scored nine points, grabbed a team-high eight rebounds and had four assists in 24 minutes.

“What makes him special is he’s a competitor,” Meyer said. “He’s a down and dirty, gritty player.”

Rivals ranks Bledsoe at No. 23 among the nation’s prospects in the class of 2009. Prep Stars rates him “around No. 80,” Oettinger said.

Bledsoe averaged 20.3 points and 11. 5 assists as a senior in leading Parker High to the Alabama 5A state championship. The Birmingham News named him No. 1 in its annual Super Senior listing.

Bledsoe has not yet gained his academic eligibility as a college freshman. His coach at Parker High in Birmingham, Maurice Ford, voiced confidence that Bledsoe will be eligible.

Ford told the Birmingham News that Bledsoe had scored a 17 on the ACT and passed the Alabama High School Graduation Exam. Ford told the newspaper that Bledsoe has to make at least a B in a core-cirrculum math course he’s taking now to reachy the grade-point average he needs to be eligible as a college freshman.

“He’s on track,” Ford told the Birmingham News. “This is the first time he’s been challenged academically. He knows what he has to do.”

Of course, Bledsoe’s commitment does not end Kentucky’s search for help at point guard. UK has been prominent in his pursuit of John Wall, a player from Raleigh, N.C., and a consensus choice as the nation’s best player.

Wall is expected to narrow his list of eight schools any day.

Meyer dismissed the thought that Bledsoe’s commitment might cause Wall to drop Kentucky.

“I don’t think John Wall is really worried about any player in terms of competition for playing time,” Meyer said with a chuckle.

Calipari has reportedly been trying to sell Bledsoe and Wall on the idea of playing together on the court.

The analysts disagreed on how plausible that scenario might be.

“Kentucky could definitely play the two together,” Meyer said. “The dribble-drive is the ultimate offense to play two point guards because it’s dribble based. . . . Guys are expected to put it on the floor and create plays.”

Oettinger was more dubious. He suggested another selling point to Bledsoe could pack more power.

“You’ll get to practice against Wall every day,” he said. “See how good you’ll become.

“I can see that argument rather than playing them both together.”

Bledsoe joined a Kentucky recruiting class that includes big men Daniel Orton of Oklahoma City, Okla., and DeMarcus Cousins of Mobile, Ala., plus wings Darnell Dodson of Greenbelt, Md., and Kentucky Mr. Basketball Jon Hood of Madisonville.

Like Cousins and Dodson and perhaps Wall, Bledsoe’s arrival at Kentucky can be linked to Calipari becoming UK coach.

“If Cal had stayed in Memphis, I would have signed with Florida,” Bledsoe said. “I wanted to play in the SEC.”

51 comments ↓

#1 Walter’s Wildcat World - WildcatWorld.com » Eric Bledsoe is Gonna Be a Kentucky Wildcat!!! on 05.06.09 at 11:00 am

[…] Read more… […]

#2 CAL ROCKS on 05.06.09 at 11:05 am

Coach Cal is awesome. Start clearing out room in that trophy case.

#3 ukcrazy74 on 05.06.09 at 11:06 am

welcome to UK Mr. Bledsoe!!! Go Cats!!!!

#4 Big Spike on 05.06.09 at 11:06 am

Welcome to the Bluegrass and the Wildcats Eric. We look forward to seeing you play. If you love Kentucky, it will love you right back.

#5 AZ Blue on 05.06.09 at 11:11 am

Did Bledsoe say “Pat will be back but I didn’t speak much with Meeks” or was I just hearing what I’d love to hear..?

#6 ukfmly on 05.06.09 at 11:19 am

The socalled analyst said the same negative stuff about Rondo they even said he was not ready for the NBA. Wow were they wrong. Blesoe has the intangable desire to win. He will make the plays to make that happen. What a class way to go coach Cal. GO CATS

#7 Dustin Wade Cordell on 05.06.09 at 11:20 am

Great decision Bledsoe, you will not regret it my friend! We are a preseason top ten lock if either Meeks or Paterson come back, and we should be a top five lock if they both come back. Keep up the good work Coach Cal, go get Wall to now but if he dont come this is still one of the best recruiting years I have seen. Go Cats, and Go Coach Cal!!!!!

#8 Ray on 05.06.09 at 11:20 am

I can’t rememeber a time that I was this excited aboutm Kentucky Basketball in May. Depending on Patterson and Meeks, this could be one of the best teams we have seen in the last 50 years. Without them, it’s still in the top 10.

Hey Everyone – THEY’RE BACK !!!!!!

#9 Bledsoe Commits To Kentucky | MrSEC.com on 05.06.09 at 11:29 am

[…] nation’s third best point guard — according to Rivals.com –  Eric Bledsoe will attend Kentucky.  He originally was recruited by John Calipari to Memphis, but when the coach moved North, the player […]

#10 Dustin Wade Cordell on 05.06.09 at 11:30 am

I wish we could play Memphis every year but more so this year so we could shut them up. There fans come on our sites an there’s and talk so much smack about UK and Coach Cal. But we are still 3-0 against them without every playing a game (Cousins, Dotson, Bledsoe) and we could be and should be 4-0 after Wall’s decision.

#11 john on 05.06.09 at 11:32 am

John,

Did Bledsoe just break the news of Patterson coming back? It has been reported that Pat showed Eric around this past weekend and at the press conf. he said Pat is coming back, do you know anything?

#12 john on 05.06.09 at 11:40 am

How good could the cats be with Patterson, Meeks, and with this recruiting class? At least top ten, maybe top 5. If wall signs, top five no doubt. Do you see us having a final four run with what we have now? with Wall, if he comes? John, just want to say I enjoy your articles even if it isn’t always what people want to hear. Alot was made on how the press handled Billy Clyde, but you have make an honest call.

#13 tyler on 05.06.09 at 11:41 am

This is great news. Although it would be nice to have a high scoring point guard, what we really need is a good decision maker who doesn’t have clumsy hands. We will have plenty of scorers next season, and now we have a point guard who is smart enough and talented enough to distribute the ball to those scorers.

#14 Billy on 05.06.09 at 11:48 am

It is a good time to be a cat fan

#15 Kim Egan on 05.06.09 at 11:55 am

Wall will go pro next year so Bledsoe is what KY need. Say he can’t shoot? Scored 9 points in the Derby game. A little more shooting practice and he may be a double didgit scorer. Need to get him a good tutor ASAP though.

#16 Tim Miller on 05.06.09 at 12:07 pm

Great pick up for the CATS!! This guy will be around for at least three years. He’s a winner. Look at what he did to Cousins’ team in the Alabama state tourney. The guy knows how to WIN. GO CATS!! Coach Cal, you’re a God-send!!

#17 Everette on 05.06.09 at 12:19 pm

later he played Tyrke Evans about 38 minutes per game. II think that John Calipari is the best coach in the USA and according to Eric Bledoe, Calipari told him that he could come in right away and start. Meeks is up in the air and so is John Wall but if they show up, Bledoe in my view will have to a miracle man to get over 5 minutes of playing time a game. Calipari played Rose about 39 minutes in the NCAA playoffs games and a yearf he likes his point guard, then he sticks with him in especially in big games.

#18 ukfan on 05.06.09 at 12:22 pm

What the difference of not having a point guard and having a point guard who can\’t shoot?

#19 UofM Tiger Fan on 05.06.09 at 12:39 pm

Don’t thank Coach Cal for Bledsoe. You better thank WWW since he’s the one that delivered Bledsoe to UK just like he delivered them to Memphis. Good Luck and hopefully the NCAA wont start digging into the WWW and Coach Cal connection. Your God Send could end up sending UK straight to Hell.

#20 Steve on 05.06.09 at 12:42 pm

Coach Cal has earned his first years salary already

#21 mike on 05.06.09 at 12:48 pm

great thats what we need another guard that can’t shoot

#22 ukforlife on 05.06.09 at 1:04 pm

wow!

#23 SabianUK on 05.06.09 at 1:16 pm

What is the scholarship situation? How many do we have left? Any news on other players leaving?

#24 JCU on 05.06.09 at 1:21 pm

Now this makes my day. Great recruit that’s a real team player, at least according to reports.

#25 Craig Graul on 05.06.09 at 1:30 pm

What a pick up! The CATS are truly back! Now it doesn’t really matter if Wall comes or not, we hope he does, but it really doesn’t matter. If he does it will be better than the Fab Five

#26 MILLHOUSE on 05.06.09 at 1:32 pm

Again, Tipton being negative. Twice mentions the 80 ranking. You will do anything to degrade all things Kentucky basketball.

#27 rudra on 05.06.09 at 1:37 pm

can’t wait for november! go cats!!!!

#28 Catlanta32 on 05.06.09 at 1:47 pm

Bledsoe with be a solid point guard. May be a poor mans Rajon Rondo. If Wall commits Bledsoe will benefit from playing against and with a one and done player. If Wall does not commit Bledsoe will benefit from coming in right away and being the point man. Great pick-up coach Cal. We’ve been missing this for 12 years now.

#29 snoopy14 on 05.06.09 at 1:49 pm

We’re getting back to fun again. It’s great to see top prospects actually signing with us again. I can’t wait until October. Enjoy the ride Cat fans, this is going to be GREAT. GO CATS!!!!!!!!!!!!

#30 jgover on 05.06.09 at 1:58 pm

Looks like the hand writing is on the Wall for Liggins. UK probably does not need three deep at point. The NCAA should allow players to leave when a new coach arrives without any penalty.

#31 BluBalz on 05.06.09 at 2:18 pm

This team has the potential to be as or more explosive as the ’96 squad. How exciting! GO CATS!!!

#32 Catter on 05.06.09 at 2:31 pm

Bledsoe = Sucker! But you’re OUR sucker!! Now, let’s close the deal on Wall!!!

#33 ukcrazy74 on 05.06.09 at 2:48 pm

the heck with wall….i’m tickeled blue to have bledsoe!!!!

#34 Patrick on 05.06.09 at 3:38 pm

Kentucky will likely go 40 – 0 this season. Beware ole’ ye Wildcats fans, if you dare disagree will Calipari, he will tag you as one of the “miserables” because he will not accept any opinion other than his own.

Calipari will employ his 1 and done recruiting something UK is not use to.

Worse thing is a liar is always a liar and a thief is always a thief. If you worked forMicrosoft and spent years recruiting and developing a business, then all od a sudden took all those files with you to a competing business what would happen? You would be arrested for theft and sabotage. Calipari used University of Memphis money to recruit these kids and then stole their files to take with him to Lexington.

As said a liar is always a liar and a thief is always a thief.

#35 Bubba K on 05.06.09 at 3:48 pm

Is it Time for Midnight Madness yet???

#36 greg on 05.06.09 at 3:58 pm

nice catter nice….way to show your school pride…your mother must be proud of you

#37 Coach J on 05.06.09 at 4:27 pm

I’m ecstatic about Bledsoe signing with Kentucky. It’s been tough living in North Carolina with me being a UK Wildcat fan. I can’t wait until November. Go Calipari Cats!!!

#38 Zach Elkin on 05.06.09 at 5:28 pm

Welcome to the Wildcats!

#39 ukfaceman on 05.06.09 at 5:36 pm

Couldn’t he find a better looking UK hat to wear?? That thing is junky lookin.

#40 SomersetCatFan on 05.06.09 at 5:48 pm

Way to go guys! Lets keep on reeling and land the final big fish out there in Wall! No doubt if we can get him, this will be by far the best recruiting class in the history of the NCAA! Welcome to the pinnacle of college basketball again! If we can really get this thing going the way Calipari wants to, we will be a perennial Final Four/NCAA Championship Game contender! Keep up the good work coach, and welcome to UK Mr. Bledsoe! The Big Blue Nation is on top again!

#41 Brian Smith on 05.06.09 at 6:20 pm

This is going to be an exciting year! Bledsoe is exactly what we have been needing. His shooting will be fine. He is one of those players who will make a big difference in a game. It doesn’t have to be points scored. I think he will be able to run the offense and create opportunities for everyone on the court. His scoring (and he will score) will be icing on the cake. He will also be a player who will be around for a few years. I am very excited to see Mr. Bledsoe become a Wildcat!!

Man I am looking forward to this fall! There hasn’t been this kind of anticipation in a long time!

#42 jim britt on 05.06.09 at 6:37 pm

With bledsoe and hopefully wall the cats will be unstopable this november. The other teams will think they’re a chicken caught in a tractor’s nuts!!!!!!!!!

#43 drh on 05.06.09 at 7:06 pm

I’m with you Dustin. Would love to see UK play Memphis and beat the Tigernation right out of them. They have the most hateful bitter fans I’ve ever had the displeasure to read! I understand their resentment of Coach Cal but their bashing of Kentucky fans is the most venomous I’ve ever seen!

#44 drh on 05.06.09 at 7:07 pm

Welcome Bledsoe! Go Cats!

#45 john from s'ville ky on 05.06.09 at 7:21 pm

i’m so tickeled to get all theses recruits….,and very thankful to have coach c ,as a wildcat bb coach…maybe we can be a legitiment team once again.

#46 al on 05.07.09 at 6:46 am

I am excited about the upcoming basketball season too, and I do think we can be really good. But keep in mind most of the players you guys are raving about will be freshmen. Liggins was ranked a top 30 recruit too, and our lesson there is that no matter the ranking these players still have a lot to learn.

#47 dbhoward on 05.07.09 at 8:21 am

THIS KID IS EXACTLY WHAT WE NEEDED, HE IS WAYNE TURNER TOUGH AND DOES ALL THE THINGS YOU NEED TO WIN. A PLAYER WHO MAKES EVERYBODY BETTER, ANS REFUSES TO LOSE. GO BIG BLUE.

#48 Kentucky Gets Bledsoe, Affect on Wall Unknown on 05.07.09 at 1:22 pm

[…] Eric Bledsoe, a five-star recruit and the No. 3 point guard in the nation according to rivals.com, committed to the Wildcats on Wednesday.  Bledsoe’s decision came down to Kentucky and Memphis, although the point guard had […]

#49 Danny Hill on 05.07.09 at 2:54 pm

I am an avid Memphis Tiger fan…proud too! I would like to ask the Wildcat fans a question. Not to be venumous or bitter. Just curious…What if your beloved Wildcats were expecting possibly the best recruiting class of all time, most of which were signed already, and the next week you were lucky to be able to put a complete team on the court. All in one week. To go along with that, a coach who on t.v. mind you….stated, and i quote…”Memphis is where i want to coach, im not going anywhere”, unquote…then the next day is hired by U OF K. My friend, thats not changing your mind…thats a bold face lie! calagulla knew he was leaving weeks, maybe months before announcing it. That ladies and gentleman, is why he insisted the players “all”, had clauses. He recruited these players on memphis’s dime, and time. You Kentucky fans are blinded by your almost pathetic obsession to be relevant again in college bb. You people do not know calimari yet. He is all about John John! I have no reason to hate or dislike Kentucky fans. But you all should really pay attention to how he does things. And dont be suprised when the NCAA comes knocking on your door with a death sentence for Kentucky basketball…How relevent will you be then? Also WWW! And another thing. You say we at Memphis are angry Calimari left…wrong again! We are relieved he’s gone! Memphis problem isnt basketball tradition. Of course we dont have the tradition Kentucky has, hell there are maybe 2 more D1 schools out there even close. And i have always followed Wildcat BB, but im afraid you are going to be dissapointed. Cal is not a great coach, he is a great salesman…he sells himself. If it werent for his blunder in the NC game, we would have a NC banner hanging from the forum right now. Come on…up by 9 with less than 2 minuites. Cal only needed to call a time out to win the game. Memphis needs out of c-usa desperately. But we cant just sign up for the SEC or BE. You Kentucky fans need to be a little more humble in your accessment of yourselves also IMHO…

#50 H Dean Peters on 05.07.09 at 3:14 pm

I JUST HOPE THAT I AM NOT LIKE WALL….ONE AND DONE….I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE SEASON TO START….I WOULD LOVE TO BE AROUND FOR A COUPLE OF MORE YEARS….I PRAY TO GOD I AM TO SEE OUR CATS IN KICKING ASS……WE HAVE IT ALL NOW AND MORE WITH WALL…..GO BIG BLUE…….63

#51 Catter on 05.07.09 at 3:32 pm

Do y’all REALLY think if Wall comes, Bledsoe will start like Cal told him? I think he’ll start – next year. Maybe that’s what Coach meant. Where does this leave Liggons?