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December 29, 2005

Kentucky's fall signees playing well

The future of Kentucky basketball looks bright based on the first half of the high school basketball season and the performance of the Wildcats' four November signees.

Georgia guard Jodie Meeks, California guards Derrick Jasper and Michael Porter, and Louisiana big man Perry Stevenson have all gotten off to strong starts as seniors.

Meeks, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Norcross, opened his season with a bang, scoring 28 points and going 5-for-12 from 3-point range. He also chipped in with six rebounds and six steals in a fine all-around performance that lived up to his reputation prior to signing with UK.

Rated the No. 34 player in the senior class by Rivals.com, Meeks has another 28-point game to his credit this season and a 26-point performance. He's consistently been the leading scorer for Norcross (8-0), which also features 2007 UK target and All-American candidate Gani Lawal.

Jasper, a 6-5 combo guard, has helped lead Paso Robles to a 9-1 record. In his season opener, the nation's No. 35 prospect tallied 20 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in flirting with a triple-double. He recently had 20 points and 10 rebounds in one of his region's premier tournaments.

Wrote Mark Conley of the Santa Cruz Sentinel: "The 6-foot-5, Kentucky-bound point guard appears to have bluegrass polish, playing tough defense, flying to the hoop with ease and even heartily cheering on teammates who only see the court in garbage time."

Porter, a 6-2 point guard for Chuck Hayes' old Modesto Christian squad, opened his senior season with a 26-point, 6-rebound, 7-assist game. He also scored 15 points and dished out 12 assists in just one half of play in the second game of the year. Modesto has opened 9-3.

The former high school football standout - who drew recruiting attention from reigning national champion USC - has earned a reputation as one of the better defenders in his area, frequently drawing the assignment on the opponent's top backcourt scorer.

Stevenson, a 6-9 center/forward rated No. 59 in the senior class, has lived up to his reputation as a major force on defense. In Northside's 54-50 win over Comeaux, he recorded an eye-popping 17 blocked shots. The Acadiana Daily Advertiser noted that Stevenson had 11 of those blocks in the first half. For the season, he's averaging a triple-double at 13 points, 12 rebounds and 11 blocked shots per game in helping lead Northside to a 12-4 record.

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