A thorough, and thoroughly unsurprising thumping by North Carolina on Saturday continued what is shaping up as a tough season for the University of Kentucky. Early season oloss to the law firm of Gardner-Webb aside, the Wildcats have been depleted by injuries and hobbled by spotty play from seniors Ramel “Smooth” Bradley and Joe “Joe” Crawford. And now, the ‘Cats have have another problem: blue chip recruit Alex Legion (or, if you prefer, AleX LeGion), above, who was Billy Gillespie’s first recruit at Kentucky, is transferring from UK after just six games at the behest of his mother, a quietly religious and notably stable woman. First, an introduction to Prophetess Legion is in order. Here’s Jerry Tipton in the Lexington Herald-Leader from September 29. Legion’s mother tells Tipton that:
The Almighty steered (Alex) to prestigious Detroit Country Day, a private high school that has produced such basketball stars as Chris Webber and Shane Battier. Then the Holy Spirit let it be known that he should transfer to prep school powerhouse Oak Hill Academy for his senior year. Divine intervention brought him to UK, a college he had not been considering.
“I had no clue Kentucky was a basketball school. No clue,” Annette Legion said. “But God knew.”
When asked about God’s interest in her son, she quietly, almost as an aside, made a startling claim.
“Me being a prophet, he has truly ordered my son’s steps,” she said matter-of-factly.
Prophet? Did you say prophet? Like Isaiah and Ezekiel of the Old Testament?
“I’m a prophet,” she said, “someone who can prophesize about your future and what’s going on in your life.”
Although she has more important concerns, especially now as an evangelist for a Lexington church, Legion volunteered a look into the basketball future that’s sure to please the Wildcat faithful.
“The Lord has shown me: They’re going to the Final Four,” she said, before adding a qualifier, “providing they play together.”
Was this a prophecy? A prediction? Merely wishful thinking?
“I have spoken these things into existence,” she said. “It’s not by accident that my son is here and now the Final Four is in Michigan.”
There’s more, of course, but one thing that ought to be mentioned is that the Final Four will actually not be held in Detroit until 2009. At which point Alex Legion will perhaps be at…Michigan, the school to which he initially signed a letter of intent, then bailed on. The blog Thermocaster — previously unknown to me, but whose nice overview of the affair was brought to my attention by Josh Weill — has the rundown on how this all happened.
God just didn™t do good enough research: Monday UK coach Billy Gillispie announced Legion is transfering after just six games. A UK press release, though, spins a strange tale of how it happened:
“ On Friday, Annette Legion asked for her son™s transfer
“ Gillispie talked Legion out of it, and Legion played Saturday against North Carolina
“ Gillispie talked with Legion Sunday, assumed everything was ok, until Legion skipped practice Monday, and later told the coach he wanted to transfer
Gillispie missed the same practice to attend the funerals in Louisville for former UK stars Ralph Beard and Tommy Kron.
Perhaps it™s best: The Lexington Herald-Leader reported a guest speaker (and, like Mama Legion, a prophet) at Legion™s church revival bemoaned him going to Lexington at all, saying there was a œdemonic stranglehold on Lexington and the city™s worship of basketball, football, horse racing and alcohol.
That may all be true, but the demonic stranglehold of football wasn’t very much in evidence during the Tim Couch/Craig Yeast era. Anyway, one last note to all this: God told Alex Legion’s mother to tell him to renege on his letter of intent to Michigan after John Beilein took over as coach of the Wolverines. Here’s The Prophetess — who, if you’ll remember from a few paragraphs ago, was not enough of a hoops fan to know that Kentucky was “a basketball school” — on the UM program that lost to Harvard last weekend, in a blog post from the Detroit News:
“They got a great coach there, if they get a few more pieces Michigan will be good to go,” Annette said. “They will be able to compete with Michigan State.”
She has spoken it into existence. Also, I feel that I deserve a pat on the back — despite all the pseudo-Godly goings-on in this post and the repetition of the name “Legion” — for waiting this long to mention that Exorcist III: Legion is one of my favorite films.