This news really pisses me off. From having an opportunity to snag the top recruiting class in the country just a few short weeks prior, we are now in dangerous territory of having an impact class lacking a single immediate impact player. Following the expected and anti-climactic commitment of Releford, we were supposedly "hot on the trail" of DeAndre Liggins, who then began the freefall of our recruiting class choosing Kentucky over our beloved Jayhawks.
Despite the setback involved in losing the Chicago native, the city where Self had previously nabbed Julian Wright and Sherron Collins from the grasp of the Fighting Illini, Self powered through the heartbreak and went back out on the recruiting trail, eager to talk to youngsters and their parental units all over again. That led him to the joint recruitment of sharpshooting, Oklahoma native Rotnei Clarke as well as the slashing, Texas native Willie Warren. While they had seemingly narrowed the list down to Boomer Sooner, considered an afterthought, KU and UK out comes an announcement that he is going to Baylor. (HT: commenter on John Clay's blog) Yet, Rivals is yet to announce that certainly life-altering decision, leaving it up to conjecture alone that Warren has chosen the Baylor Bears over both the Jayhawks and the Wildcats (Kentucky version).
The lack of a Rivals announcement, who is nearly always among the first to announce this commitments, speaks to the lack of a true commitment, mostly because his parents are rumored to not sign off on the decision. Sort of like an opposite of the Darrell Arthur situation of a year ago, with his family wanting him to stay close to home and attend school in Waco yet he decided to attend Kansas. While last summer I was thrilled that DA made a choice on his own and went against his family's wishes, I now wish that Willie has a stricter set and they won't allow him to go to Baylor. Granted, this could become a moot point based off the fact that Rotnei Clarke "loves it at Kentucky" and their previous announcement of joint recruitment. However, Baylor was nowhere to be found on Rotnei's list of desired locations of study, possibly hinting at a break-up between the two and a willingness to attend different instituions of higher learning. Whatever happens, I want Willie Warren. Bad. Sure, Clarke would be nice but I think that Warren can easily step in and replace the guard(s) we lose next year to the NBA, Super and/or SC, whereas Clarke might take a little bit longer.
Bottom line, if Warren and Clarke are both going someplace else, whether that be together or not, Self needs to pick up the pieces yet again and get to work. With all of the talent saying "buh-bye" following this 07-08 season we need a helluva recruiting class to stay National Championship contenders. Can Self give that to us? Why certainly. Will he? That is the question to be answered in the following X days, the question that likely will decide how successful we are in the 08-09 season.
UPDATE #1: Apparently, his "Mom took away his cellphone and said he wasn't going anywhere yet." (HT: John Clay's blog [comments]). Wow. I am liking Willie's mom more and more every minute, she just might have kept us in the race to nab this special, special player. Also, per Wildcat Fan Report (also in the comment section) he isn't doing any more interviews because his mom says "he can't keep his mouth shut". Wow x2. While Rotnei still isn't looking good for us, they are all of a sudden thinking about not going to the same school, leaving us very much in the running for Mr. Warren's services.