John Clay: Jodie Meeks in NBA limbo, but he's not worried about it

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistJuly 28, 2012 

If Jodie Meeks' future as an NBA player is up in the air — and it is — he doesn't seem all that worried about it.

"It'll work itself out," he said Friday.

The former Kentucky basketball star, the player who holds the all-time single-game scoring mark for his 54-point night against Tennessee in 2009, was in town Friday and Saturday for his basketball camp at Bryan Station High School.

He was the same ol' Jodie, same smile, same easygoing, friendly manner, even if as an unrestricted free agent he doesn't have an NBA address to call his own at the moment.

"I'm just waiting to see where I go," he said. "There's still a lot of time left. I'm not really worried about it. I'm just trying to find the best fit for myself."

The 6-foot-4 guard out of Norcross, Ga., was drafted in the second round by Milwaukee in 2009 and played 41 games for the Bucks before being traded to Philadelphia.

He has spent each of the past two full seasons with the Sixers, starting 64 of 74 games in 2010-11 and 50 of 66 games last season.

His minutes per game dropped slightly from 27.9 in 2010-11 to 24.9 this past year. His scoring average dropped from 10.5 points to 8.4. He played a little less than eight minutes per game in the playoffs.

Were Meeks a restricted free agent, the Sixers would have the right to match any offer sheet from another team Meeks might sign. As an unrestricted free agent, however, Meeks can pick where he wants to go.

"I know things will work out but it's still kind of an anxious time," he said. "It's kind of like recruiting when you're going to college. You want to have the best possible situation for yourself but you also want to get it over with."

Since the Sixers have not already signed him it seems unlikely that he will return to Philadelphia.

"There's still a chance," Meeks said of returning to Philly. "But I don't think I'll be going back, as of today."

There have been rumors the Los Angeles Lakers, in need of perimeter scoring, are considering Meeks. The New York Knicks have also been mentioned as a possibility.

"I'm just looking for a place where I can play my game that I know how to play," Meeks said. "Not just spot-up shooting. I think I'm a scorer. Obviously, I did that in college and I think I can do that in the NBA also."

There were those who thought Meeks' scoring ability would have worked perfectly in John Calipari's system three seasons ago.

Meeks had just finished his junior season, a tumultuous one under former coach Billy Gillispie, when Calipari got the UK job.

While trying to make up his mind whether to enter the NBA Draft, Meeks even participated in workouts Calipari conducted while trying to determine his first roster here. Ultimately, Meeks decided to go pro.

"I feel like I made the right decision," he said. "Any time you have a chance to leave, I think you should. Obviously I went second round, but at that point people were saying I was going to go top 20. I felt like I had done everything I had to do in college.

"I think we would have had a great team (at UK), I think we would have won the national championship, but at the end of the day I had to do what was best for myself."

Meeks said his off-season home base is Atlanta, but he gets back to Lexington about three or four times a summer. He has put on a couple of camps each summer since leaving UK.

"I love working with kids, teaching the fundamentals of basketball," he said.

He also sees a lot of familiar faces in the pros. If the six UK players drafted this year all make NBA rosters, there could be as many as 23 former Wildcats playing in the league next year.

"It's a big family now, a big circle," Meeks said. "It's good for the program, good exposure. It just shows that Kentucky creates a lot of NBA talent."

One talent that is looking for a new landing spot.

"I just want the best fit," said Meeks.

John Clay: (859) 231-3226. Blog: Twitter: @johnclayiv.John Clay: (859) 231-3226. Blog: Twitter: @johnclayiv.

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