By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky recruiting target Matthew Hurt of Minnesota says he has reasons for liking all four schools and head coaches where he is still considering for his college choice. The schools are Kansas, Duke, North Carolina and UK. His father says the “obvious” reasons to like Kentucky would be the talent Calipari brings in but also the coaching staff of Calipari and assistants Kenny Payne, Tony Barbee and Joel Justus.
“They all do a phenomenal job. Tony was a head coach. Kenny Payne could have had his options of being a coach anywhere. Joel is one of best young coaches and recruiters out there. What they do is develop talent and that’s the obvious answer for why Kentucky is still on Matthew’s list,” Richard Hurt said.
However, there’s also a “not so obvious” answer about the family’s interest in Kentucky.
“We have spent a lot of time in the state of Kentucky. My wife and I graduated from Murray State, my dad played (basketball) for Murray State. We have family that are graduates of the University of Kentucky and family that still lives there (Kentucky),” Richard Hurt said. “We have a lot of really good friends that live in Owensboro, Murray and E-town. We have a pretty strong connection with the state.”
Richard Hurt’s father is from Murray and met his wife at Murray State before going to medical school at the University of Louisville.
“We did grow up Louisville fans. That doesn’t mean anything in terms of Matthew’s recruitment,” Richard Hurt laughed and said. “One of my earliest memories was Louisville’s 1980 championship. I grew up idolizing Kenny Payne. Nobody could shoot the ball like number 21 back in the day. Seriously. I am still a Louisville fan, and my brother who went to medical school there is a huge fan. The Kentucky guy (coaches) know all that.”
However, he also watched coach Rick Pitino revitalize the Kentucky basketball program during his years at Murray State.
“There was nothing like Kentucky basketball. It was everywhere,” Richard Hurt said. “Getting to see that first hand — we probably got to three or four Kentucky games per year — and witness that from a fan perspective gave us kind of a neat perspective on Kentucky basketball. Love the state, love the area. We know Big Blue Nation is a real thing.”