Here’s to worrying about the present

Jonathan Lintner

We’re less than a week removed from when Vinny Zollo, a George Rogers Clark High School forward, gave his verbal commitment to WKU. Yet, WKU fans are already wishing away the present in exchange for something that’s anything but sure.

Head Coach Ken McDonald has six reported verbal commitments at this point. That’s one more commitment than available scholarships, as four seniors will graduate after this season and one scholarship is open now.

The current commits might all sign — and they do plan to sign in the NCAA’s Early Period beginning Nov. 10 — but unless a current player loses a scholarship or goes academic, the “sensational six” won’t make it to WKU intact. In fact, history shows we most likely won’t see Derrick Gordon, Cezar Guerrero, Nigel Snipes, Deng Leek, George Fant and Zollo all on the court for the 2011-2012 season.

Anything could happen between now and then, as evidenced by Terrence Boyd and David Laury’s chemistry issues before the 2009-2010 season.

McDonald could go the route of over-signing in anticipation of something not working out. He could rescind a current offer to a committed player. Or he could take a scholarship from an underperforming current player.

All of that goes on at the top programs across the country.

But this isn’t about taking away from what is easily WKU’s best recruiting class in years and definitely McDonald’s best since he became a head coach. This is about the fact that it will be nearly a full calendar year before the Toppers’ 2011 class arrives on campus.

And it’s all while a team capable of winning the Sun Belt is already here.

The most integral parts of this season’s team — senior forwards Sergio Kerusch, Steffphon Pettigrew, Juan Pattillo and Cliff Dixon — probably don’t care about next season. They won’t be here then. But they’re here now, and players like these don’t come along every year.

Many programs think way into the future, looking ahead and dreaming of what might be. But those are programs in need of a facelift and rebuilding.

Look at the hype surrounding football coach Willie Taggart’s class last February for example. That’s a program needing a boost, something lifting, something positive.

WKU basketball isn’t that type of program and most likely never will be so long as McDonald is around.

So rather than cause a potential distraction to a team that already has seven newcomers, let recruiting play out behind the scenes and enjoy what’s already been assembled.

And when next year comes around, then we can talk about the “sensational six.”