You probably saw the post earlier about James Young’s profile on CoachCal.com, and in my opinion, it was the best so far.
Not because I’m partial to James Young, which I am, but because he gives a little nugget in the middle that highlights something very important: Tayshaun Prince was one of his favorite players growing up.
Well Tayshaun is a lot of UK fans’ favorite player. And it makes sense that a Michigan kid likes one of the most consistently good Pistons of the last decade; that’s no surprise. But it points out something that’s really encouraging to UK, and that’s that Cal’s not recruiting on his own. The NBA is helping. And not just the NBA, but the NBA players.
If James Young wants to be the next Tayshaun, how long until point guards in Washington want to be the next John Wall (instead of the next Chris Paul)? Skinny power forwards from Nawlins will want to be the next Anthony Davis, instead of the next Marcus Camby.
This is something we’ve known, or at least suspected for a long time. The NBA has long been a selling point for Kentucky, insofar as they want to get there quickly. But once Cal saturates the league with grads, players from North Carolina will want to be the next MKG. Centers in California will want to play for the coach that mentored DeMarcus Cousins.
This is the next step in completing Lexington’s grasp on both the NBA and college basketball. If high schoolers are coming to Kentucky not just to make the jump, but to emulate their favorite former Wildcats, how much better is recruiting going to be in a few years when the NBA has more Kentucky players than ever before?
So, if you were worried that today’s players no longer relate to Kentucky’s history, James Young just put that to rest. Which is good news for a tradition-rich, players-first program with eyes on the future.