Just one year ago, Eric Bledsoe had his coming out party.
It was right after our second SEC match of the year in Gainesville when the whispers started circulating through Big Blue Nation.
“Maybe we have two point guards that could be one-and-done.”
Bledsoe had just finished the greatest game of his short career with 25 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. His mix of outside shooting and lightning fast penetration dismantled the Gators defense and secured the first UK win on the road against Florida in five years.
This was the game that had the NBA scouts finally looking at the other freshman guard in our starting line up and they weren’t disappointed. Bledsoe was a guy that most UK fans expected to see around for at least two years, but 21 games and one ridiculous algebraic accusation later saw Eric Bledsoe as a first round draft pick and out of Lexington for good.
There was a lot of debate at the time but, as of right now, it looks like Bledsoe made the right decision. After the Clippers beat down of the Miami Heat a couple nights ago, Bledsoe looks like he’s found a great niche on that other team in LA. With a young nucleus of Griffin, Gordon, Bledsoe and Aminu plus a veteran who’s finally starting to buy into the system in Baron Davis, the Clippers look to make a lot of noise in the upcoming years. His offensive game has displayed itself in spurts but Bledsoe proved against the Heat that even if he’s not filling his stat line with points, he can make impact plays on the defensive end.
John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins were pretty much guaranteed to be gone after a year when they first stepped on campus and Patrick Patterson insinuated about the same when he announced he’d return for his junior season. Daniel Orton had the physical tools and after seeing the state of his knees, it’s probably good that he got the money when he could. Bledsoe was different though. He was a guy that could have waited another season and been the man in John Calipari’s point guard friendly offense, but he played his way into a high draft selection and I don’t think Big Blue Nation could be any prouder of him.
As our roster looks right now, the only surefire draft entry we have is holding the clipboard during timeouts, but who on this year’s team could see a Bledsoe-like increase in their draft stock during the second half of the season?