In our continued effort to provide the most comprehensive and complete coverage of all aspects of Kentucky athletics, we here at KSR are happy to announce a new feature, brought to you weekly by a local legend. Each Friday, Twitter star Not Jerry Tipton (@NotJerryTipton), a near genetic match to Herald-Leader Hall of Fame journalist Jerry Tipton, will summarize the week’s basketball happenings in a way that only someone from their gene pool could. You might not like the honesty, but just remember what Not Jerry has always said: “Diligence by the media is paramount, and all aspects of the Kentucky men’s basketball program must be constantly scrutinized. Pulitzers don’t grow on trees.”
This week’s notebook:
* Billy Clyde, Savior: Lost amid all the hubbub surrounding the recruiting of John Calipari is the fact that he’s currently winning (when he’s not losing, that is) with Billy Gillispie’s players. All but two Kentucky starters were recruited and signed by much maligned Billy Gillispie, who was unceremoniously dumped after just two years on the job at UK. One would think that had he been allowed to retain his employment with the university, he would have brought in even more talent, and the number in UK’s losses column would be a bit smaller.
* Stars Not Being Developed?: Though he receives accolades for his alleged superior recruiting skills, it should be pointed out that players appear to arrive at UK more highly ranked than they are when they leave UK. Case(s) in point: Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb were all lauded as “top 20” recruits when they got to campus last summer. However, no NBA Draft gurus see any of the three players being selected among the first 20 players of the 2011 Draft. One has to wonder how much longer Calipari can continue to reel in top players when the ones he has seem to be regressing.
* Misleading GPA: The fact that the UK team earned a collective 2.8 GPA (compared to the abysmal grades of last year’s team) seems impressive at first glance. However, a closer look at the numbers reveals otherwise. Brandon Knight actually saw his GPA take a nosedive from a 4.3 in high school, down to a 4.0 this past semester. Plus, he’s a famous self-motivator, so it’s hard to give Calipari or Kentucky any credit for his success. And Jarrod Polson, who I assume received a 4.0, doesn’t really count because he’s a walk-on. So really the 2.8 that was advertised was more accurately a 2.5 or so. Average, but not great.
* Kanter the Martyr?: Much has been made by the notoriously biased UK fanbase of the supposed “unfairness” of the NCAA’s decision to rule Enes Kanter ineligible after it was found that he accepted excessive benefits while playing professional basketball in Turkey. However, the argument can be made that Kanter knew what he was getting into when he decided to be born in Turkey. It was obviously a gamble that didn’t pay off, and to castigate the NCAA or its agents for the fact that Kanter is a foreigner seems unfair. Also, had he taken the money directly from an agent, rather than have his father handle his affairs without his knowledge, he’d be suiting up for Kentucky right now. Again, he knew this going in, and as he is learning, all decisions come with consequences.
* Bloggers Are People Too: Recently, some Kentucky fans complained when this reporter cited a blogging journalist with Bleacher Report who called UK the 3rd dirtiest program in history. Apparently, since they didn’t like his conclusion, they decided to attack his credentials. It’s important to note, however, that he was not alone in that opinion. Other blogging journalists (e.g., CARDZRULE4EVER, DukeKixASS!, RockyTopXXX and GOTPATINO?6969) agree with the aforementioned writer. In fact one journalist (I_LUV_SIVA_AND_WEED) ranked Kentucky as the #1 dirtiest program in history. So it may be that ranking UK 3rd was being generous.
* In Defense of Rothstein: Speaking of UK fans attacking journalists, one such instance occurred when CBS’s Jon Rothstein called former Kentucky and current Louisville coach Rick Pitino “far and away the best coach in the country.” This writer happens to agree with him. In a mere 10 years, Pitino has taken Louisville from the NIT to a top 25 ranking, and he has assembled a team that managed to stay within 15 points of Kentucky. He hasn’t won a Final 4 game at UofL yet, but with a few lucky breaks, a few more players, a few good calls, and a couple of new assistants, he has a chance. And Kentucky fans should remember that while their Wildcats were flaming out of last year’s Tournament in the Elite 8, in the two years preceding that, Pitino took the Cards to consecutive national quarterfinal games.