Kyle Wiltjer. Kyle Wiltjer. Kyle Wiltjer.
The NBA draft is 68 hours away and we’re talking about Kyle Wiltjer. No one saw it coming, but it’s here. Kyle Wiltjer is looking to take his talents elsewhere for the remainder of his college career. No more WBA. No more Goonies. Goggles down, BBN.
News broke of a potential transfer Monday afternoon when Coach Cal posted ‘Best of luck to Kyle Wiltjer’ on his official website. In the message from Cal, he said Kyle feels like he could have a more prominent role in another program than he will have at Kentucky next season. Kyle realized that during his time playing with the Canadian developmental team this summer in China.
While a transfer isn’t official at this point, it’s looking like that is the route Kyle will take, though he left the possibility of returning to UK open, for now. But if he is seriously considering returning, I’m not sure he would’ve written a letter to say goodbye and to thank the staff, his teammates, and you for a memorable two years in Lexington:
Big Blue Nation,
I would like to take this moment to thank Coach Cal, the entire staff, my teammates and the BBN for a memorable two years thus far.
Heading into college my dream was to win a National Championship and compete with and play against the best players in the country. Without a doubt, I accomplished both of these goals in my two years at Kentucky. Now as I head into my junior year, I recognize that my new and adjusted goals require me to make some very difficult upcoming decisions. Coach Cal has been everything I expected him to be, as I have felt very comfortable talking with him about my situation. I cannot stress enough how supportive Coach has been during this period. He is more than a coach to me, and for that I am forever grateful.
During this next year, I will be working on my body so that I am able to compete the way I know I can. I want to find a situation that will help me do this as well as play a more significant role, wherever that may be. Even though I might physically leave Lexington, I will never forget the support and kindness that everyone has shown my family and me. It is difficult to put into words how hard it is to possibly leave BBN, yet I am confident that whatever I choose, I will give it my all. Regardless, I will always bleed blue and will never forget these amazing last two years at Kentucky.
We’d all love to see him stay, but the decision is his to make and moving on is probably his best option. There are plenty of offenses out there that are tailored to fit Kyle’s style of play, and Kentucky isn’t one of them. If he stays, he’ll have to change his game to try to find a spot in the dribble-drive offense. If he goes, he can pick a school that will utilize the tools and strengths he already has. Either way, he has Big Blue Nation’s full support.
Now to the News and Views…
As I mentioned above, the NBA draft is 68 hours away and Nerlens Noel’s stock continues to drop with every passing hour. Once the consensus No. 1 overall pick, Nerlens now has some draft gurus projecting him as low as fifth to the Phoenix Suns. Chad Ford, however, is still sticking to Nerlens going to the Cavs, assuming GM Chris Grant can convince Dan Gilbert to continue to be patient with the rebuilding process, he says. Ford writes, “Noel has the most upside of anyone in the draft and is a perfect long-term fit with Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters. His elite athleticism and shot-blocking abilities could anchor their defense some day. The fact that he isn’t a polished offensive player matters less because the Cavs already have a couple of those on their roster.”
Ford also notes that Alex Len, this week’s flavor, is on crutches with an injury that imposes a higher risk. Len is suffering from a stress fracture in his ankle, an injury that should be bigger red flag than Noel’s torn ACL.
And what about Archie, you ask? Jim Brighters of The Sports Network has the most confidence in Archie heading into Thursday night; he projects Archie going 25th to the Clippers:
25. LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS – Archie Goodwin (Kentucky), Shooting Guard (6-5, 189) – A very mediocre one season at Kentucky led some to be surprised Goodwin came out early. He has to cut down his turnovers and inconsistency. This would be a good situation for him to go, assuming Chris Paul re-signs here. With Chauncey Billups and Matt Barnes both free agents, Goodwin could play some right away.
Goodwin dropped all the way to No. 47 in NBADraft.net’s updated mock draft Monday. He could really go anywhere from the late first round on.
Coach Cal addressed Archie Goodwin and several other Kentucky basketball related topics during his brief appearance on the SEC summer teleconference Monday morning. I summarized Cal’s portion of the teleconference earlier this afternoon, but I will summarize the summary (that’s deep) for you tonight so you don’t have to waste any finger energy scrolling down to find it. Quick hitters! Let’s go!
— The 2013-14 Wildcats will be more like the Wall-Cousins team than the 2012 team. Execution won’t be great due to youth, but they’ll win games with athleticism, physicality and talent.
— “Having talented players doesn’t guarantee you win, but having bad players will guarantee you’re gonna lose.”
— Competition will bring out the best in Alex Poythress and Wille Cauley-Stein. “They’ve elevated their game.”
— “If you tell me there’s a guy out there that says, ‘Well, I like to coach ‘em up,’ well, you go coach ‘em up, and let me go get talented guys.”
— He hopes to have the Harrisons and James Young on campus soon, possibly as early as this weekend. He would’ve liked to have had them here for the eight-week summer session but their school years ran longer and they’re still finishing some stuff up academically. “They will be fine.”
— Archie’s decision to go pro was his own and Archie has to make it work. He wished Archie would’ve returned, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what he thinks.
— Last season was “humbling.”
Before he picked up the telephone for the SEC teleconference, Coach Cal attended mass in New Jersey where he ran into a very important stranger from his past. He told the story of what could turn out to be a magical handshake on Facebook Monday afternoon:
“As I was leaving Mass this morning, an older woman grabbed me and said, “Do you remember me from two years ago?” I said, “To be honest, I really don’t.” She said, “You were leaving Mass here two years ago and I wished you luck and shook your hand – and then you won the national title!” I said, “Well, get over here and shake my hand again and wish me luck!” And she did.”
Boom. Hang the banner.
Alabama lost Trevor Lacey to NC State this offseason and now Devonta Pollard is leaving the program to handle his legal issues. Pollard, a top 25 recruit in the 2012 class, was arrested earlier this month for conspiracy to commit kidnapping and faces a maximum of five years in jail and a $250,000 fine. His mother faces a maximum penalty of life in prison for the kidnapping of a six-year-old child. Moral of the story: Don’t kidnap children.
In football recruiting news, Matt Elam took his first unofficial visit to Notre Dame on Monday and, unlike KSR, loved what he saw in South Bend. “It was one of the best visits I have been on,” Elam told Blue & Gold Illustrated. “Just a wonderful campus. Just so much tradition there. It’s crazy.” He said it opened his eyes to the potential of playing for the Irish and it was much more than he expected.
KSR will be coming to you live from Williamson, West Virginia tomorrow morning for the second stop on the radio tour. Stop by for your chance to win two tickets to a UK home basketball next season and tune in to hear lots of Kyle Wiltjer discussion.