Gillispie: Homesick Jasper hasn’t made decision to leave

Internet message boards were set ablaze Wednesday morning with rumors that guard Derrick Jasper, who just completed his sophomore season at UK, was considering a transfer.

UK head coach Billy Gillispie addressed that rumor at a news conference yesterday morning when he said that while Jasper was “a little homesick,” the Paso Robles, Calif., native has not come to a decision on his future yet.

“He hasn’t made any kind of decision,” Gillispie said. “Nothing’s been determined yet. He’s battled (homesickness) ever since I got here.”

Jasper endured a tough second season at UK as he fought through multiple injuries — he missed much of the non-conference schedule while recovering from offseason knee surgery and he sprained his knee during conference play.

But it was a season in which Jasper improved his 3-point shot, shooting 43 percent from outside, and kept developing his strengths as a defensive rebounder and an overall team leader.

Those qualities are all reasons why the Cats need Jasper to stay in Lexington, Gillispie said.

“We definitely need him over here, and we want him,” Gillispie said. “I think he’ll be a leader for our team. I think he’s going to be an All-Southeastern Conference-type player next year if he can maintain his health.

“I think you saw the difference in our team when he was somewhat healthy.”

Jasper isn’t the only one contemplating a transfer.

Gillispie said little-used freshman center Morakinyo Williams was also thinking about leaving UK.

“It’s very, very likely that Mike is going to look to go somewhere else,” Gillispie said. “As most players do, he wants to probably have a greater opportunity to have more playing time.”

Williams played in five games for UK last year, totaling four points and five rebounds.

Gillispie said that while he’d like Williams to stay, he hoped the British freshman will make the best decision for himself.

“I think he’s going to be a really good player if he keeps improving the way he did (this year),” Gillispie said. “But if he chooses to (transfer), he’ll always be a part of our family no matter what happens.”

Galloway signs Letter of Intent

College of Southern Idaho guard Kevin Galloway signed with UK, Gillispie announced yesterday.

The California native committed to Gillispie and the Cats in February and signed his National Letter of Intent this week as the spring signing period opened.

A 6-foot-6 guard, Galloway averaged 8.4 points and 8.6 assists per game for CSI.

“We’re really excited about him,” Gillispie said. “He’s a multidimensional player. I think he’s going to give us a guy that has speed, can pass the basketball and has experience.”

Gillispie said he generally prefers to recruit players straight from high school but that the team’s situation made it easy for him to go the junior college route to find Galloway.

“I don’t think we’re in a situation where we can (recruit all high school players),” Gillispie said. “We need immediate help.”

Gillispie said the Cats are looking to sign more players but haven’t yet. NCAA rules prohibit him from commenting on recruits who aren’t yet signed.