Vaught's Views: Lincoln center weighs two choices

March 25, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

STANFORD - It sounds like it should be such an easy decision.

Lincoln County senior center Jonathan True could go to Morehead State University on scholarship to play basketball, where he would be the tallest player on the team and have a chance to compete for immediate playing time.

Or True could join the Kentucky program as a walk-on player, where he would get to practice against players his size or bigger on a daily basis in hopes of improving his skills enough to eventually contribute to the Wildcats' success.

Going to Morehead would offer a better educational fit for True, who is interested in majoring in law enforcement and possibly becoming a game warden.


But playing at Kentucky could open a world of job possibilities after graduation because of the fanfare that goes with being a UK player.

"It's either going to be Morehead or Kentucky," said True. "I am sure about that. I've had some other schools call and talk to me, but I've told them I am going to Morehead or Kentucky. I didn't want anyone to have any misunderstandings about that."

True says Morehead coach Kyle Macy and assistant Wayne Breeden have both been honest with him during his recruitment and have not tried to pressure him to make a decision. Yet he knows the Eagles could use a 6-10 center.

"They have told me straight up what they can and cannot do for me," True said. "It's good basketball in the Ohio Valley Conference. You still have a chance to go to the NCAA Tournament every year. Plus, I could really fit in well with the environment of their campus, and it would be great for my major because of all the parks that are around there."

Still, his heart keeps reminding him that he's always been a Kentucky fan and that the Wildcats not only have one of the nation's best programs, but that UK is on national TV and offers opportunities Morehead cannot.

A big plus would be practicing against players his size

One big plus would be practicing against players his size daily. The Cats are scheduled to return Shagari Alleyne, Lukasz Obrzut, Bernard Cote, Chuck Hayes and Sheray Thomas, all inside players who could help True improve. The Cats are also recruiting Atlanta center Randolph Morris, considered one of the nation's top prep players.

"I think I could play my sophomore year," said True, who averaged 16.5 points and 11 rebounds per game for Lincoln this season. "I would get to play against guys as big, or bigger, than me every day. That didn't happen very often during our season. Practicing against players with size would help me tremendously."

True expects some changes in the Kentucky roster, with at least one inside player leaving the team even if the Cats don't get Morris. He says the Kentucky coaches also like his potential since he's only 17 years old and already made dramatic improvement this season.

"I improved a lot my sophomore and junior years, but this year coach (Jeff) Jackson really helped me after he got here," True said. "I got more aggressive, which partially came from just being a senior and having to accept a bigger role. But I do think my best basketball is still ahead of me."

He thinks he could play either center or power forward in college and that he has the range on his jump shot to move outside.

True says fans and friends ask him daily where he's going to play his college basketball. He appreciates their interest, but says he knows they also tire of him saying he doesn't know.

He plans to make a decision by mid-April so he can "finish school and not worry" about his college choice.

"I just have to figure out what will be best for me," True said. "It's not nearly as easy as it sounds because I have two great opportunities. I just have to find a way to determine which is the best."

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