To say this is a big weekend for the Kentucky women's basketball team would be quite the understatement.
It is believed that three of the nation's top 13 players in the class of 2011 will be in Rupp Arena for Big Blue Madness on Friday as well as two other top-30 players who already have committed to Coach Matthew Mitchell.
If UK could somehow land AAU teammates Briyona Canty and Betnijah Laney, it would be "set for the next four years," said their Gauchos coach, Earl Elliott.
The coach said the two are not necessarily a package deal and are handling their recruitment separately, but if a school could persuade both of them to play there together, it could be a program changer.
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"If a coach is lucky enough to get them both, they'd have a really good program for the next four years," he said. "I'd like to shake that coach's hand. It would be one lucky, lucky coach."
Canty, a 5-foot-9 guard from New Jersey, is considered the top guard in the country and the sixth-best player overall.
Canty's Gauchos teammate, Laney, a 6-foot wing player from Delaware, is listed as the 10th-best player in the nation, according to BlueStar Basketball.
Isabelle Harrison, a 6-3 post player from Nashville, also will be on campus this weekend, her coach told a Tennessee newspaper.
Harrison, rated No. 13 in the nation, will be Southeastern Conference-bound one way or another with her final list including Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee.
Laney's high school coach, James Kiger, said she was headed to Lexington for the weekend. Last season, she set Delaware's single-game scoring record with 52 points.
She has narrowed her list to Connecticut, Penn State, Duke, Virginia and UK.
Canty has said her final list includes Kentucky, Rutgers, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
Two other players from the class of 2011 who already have committed to Kentucky, Azia Bishop and Bria Goss, will be in attendance to help sway the big three.
The 5-foot-10 Goss, from Indianapolis' Ben Davis High School, is ranked the No. 17 player in the nation according to Hoopgurlz.com.
Bishop, a 6-2 forward out of Toledo, is the 30th-best player in the nation, according to BlueStar.
Several of the country's top underclassmen, including many of the state's best players, will be at Madness, according to their high school coaches.
They include Marion County's Makayla Epps, Kyvin Goodin-Rogers (two of Hoopgurlz.com's top players in the class of 2013) and junior teammate Bre Elder.
Kayla Styles, a 6-1 sophomore swing player from Manual, will be there as well, Coach Stacy Pendleton said.
John Wild, the high school coach for one of the top freshmen in Tennessee, said 5-8 point guard Alexa Middleton will be at Madness this weekend.
Another possible attendee is Shelbi Chandler, a 6-3 junior from Indianapolis Pike whose name has been mentioned among UK targets.
Touted as the first practice of the year for the UK programs, Big Blue Madness won't exactly be the first time for the UK women.
A new NCAA rule allows college women's programs to practice 40 days before their first game (Nov. 12 versus Morehead State). They still are allowed only 30 practices, but can now spread them out.
Coaches like Connecticut's Geno Auriemma and Oklahoma's Sherry Coale have both expressed apathy toward the rule, but Mitchell said it is working out well for the Cats, who had their first official practice Oct. 6.
"It's been great because we are not as rushed in trying to get everything in before the season starts," he said. "This makes the schedule run much more smoothly and has been very good for the student-athletes."
Auriemma, the president of the women's basketball coaches' association, argued the new rule makes the season go too long.
"They wanted 40 days. I was like, 'Go ahead, knock yourselves out,' " he told The Associated Press. "I'm not changing anything. I'm planning on our season going into April, so I don't need to start any earlier."