We’re still a couple of months from the start of the season, but there is always something going on with the Kentucky basketball program. Whether it’s meaningless exhibitions, trying to figure out how to replace one group of freshmen with another group of freshmen, or Coach John Calipari walking away from his job in order to be the coach of a national team of a country he’s not even from, something is always going on. To stay apprised and educated, you’d be well-advised to follow me on Twitter @NotJerryTipton. Here’s the weekly notebook:
*Nobody’s Home: The big recruiting news of the week was that Perry Ellis and Kyle Anderson, both 5* players in the 2012 class, committed to Kansas and UCLA, respectively, over Kentucky. However, there was also some good news for Cat fans, as Archie Goodwin (not ranked in the top 10) committed to UK. This came as a surprise to many, as it was previously reported that Goodwin was not going to be the first UK commitment from the class of 2012. Who was it that said this? Why, it was Archie Goodwin himself. Yes, a mere two months after promising that he would not be John Calipari’s first commitment from the class of 2012, Archie Goodwin became John Calipari’s first commitment from the class of 2012. No doubt, this is troubling to Cat fans on several levels. What does it say about the character of someone who promises not to do something, and then immediately turns around and does it? Will this sort of dishonesty reveal itself on the basketball court? It’s not that far-fetched to envision a scenario during the course of a game in which Goodwin promises his coaches and his teammates that he will box out, or not turn the ball over, or not let his man score, etc., but then goes back on his word and does those things. UK fans are famously uncritical of their players, but the guess here is that they’re hoping he doesn’t promise to bring home a national championship for the Cats.
*Money or Love: Of course, it may be that the reason for Goodwin’s sudden change of heart was not dishonesty on his part, but on the part of someone else. Goodwin may have let the “Cat” out of the bag Tuesday night when, in discussing his commitment to UK, he said it was “a business decision.” In other words, he made the choice that would benefit him the most financially, i.e., he picked the school that paid him the most. What does Calipari have to say about this? Curiously, nothing. In fact, he has yet to even utter the name “Archie Goodwin” since this story broke. Not only that, but Calipari went as far as to leave the state this week, no doubt to get as far away from the heat as possible. At any rate, while there has been no definitive proof of wrongdoing yet, it will be interesting to see if Goodwin arrives on campus next year sporting flashy shoes, wearing a smart outfit, or listening to an expensive Walkman. I, for one, will be on the lookout for this.
*Nothing’s News: When Goodwin committed to UK, it was reported that he became the 13th 5* player to do so since Calipari got the job, joining Wall, Cousins, Bledsoe, Knight, Jones, Lamb, Kanter, Teague, Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist, Wiltjer and Harrow. However, one fact that wasn’t reported is that even though he has received commitments from a baker’s dozen 5* players at UK, Calipari has only won 7 NCAA Tournament games with those 13 players. Astounding, but true. In other words, the 5* recruits that commit to UK and Calipari are only winning an average of roughly half of a single game in the Big Dance. You’d be hard-pressed to find that kind of ratio with any other program or any other coach in the country. If this holds true going forward, then UK fans can look forward to only winning two NCAA games with the four 5* freshmen on next year’s team. The guess here is that a Sweet 16 loss in next year’s Tournament is not exactly what UK fans have in mind. Not to rain on anyone’s Big Blue parade, but if Kentucky hopes to continue to lure top prospects to the Bluegrass, one would think that Calipari must find a way to achieve more in the postseason than he has thus far in his time in Lexington.
* On this date: On this date in 1996, heralded high schoolers Elton Brand, Shane Battier and William Avery were preparing to attend Midnight Madness at Kentucky. Ultimately, all three of them spurned UK and went on to play at hated Duke, where they would enjoy a great deal of success.