May 29, 2006

Class of 2007: Focus on Forwards

Tubby Smith has seen his share of success with forwards during his tenure at Kentucky. Scott Padgett thrived in his two seasons under Smith, and Tayshaun Prince is an NBA star following four years in Lexington.

Unknown recruit Erik Daniels blossomed into one of the nation's most versatile forwards, and most recently, gritty power forward Chuck Hayes spent his entire career stuffing nearly every category on the stat sheet.

Those success stories make it that much more puzzling that Kentucky has missed on so many forward targets recently. In 2005, with Hayes' position open for the taking, top recruits Tyler Hansbrough and Korvotney Barber said "no thanks" to Kentucky offers. In 2006, Smith pushed hard for Brandan Wright, Thaddeus Young, and Deon Thompson. None will wear Kentucky blue next season.

Perhaps 2007 will turn the trend around. Smith and his assistants are spying many of the best forwards in the country, and recruits understand that playing time is available at UK. Here's a look at five rising senior power forwards who seem to have Smith licking his chops.

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