The 2012-13 season is mercifully over, and despite having the #1 ranked recruiting class in the country, Kentucky failed to make the NCAA Tournament, and were unceremoniously dispatched in the First Round of the NIT by Robert Morris. Hard to see things being any different in 2013-14. To stay apprised and educated, follow me on Twitter @NotJerryTipton. Here’s the weekly notebook:
*Last Thing I Needed First Thing This Morning: Last week, Louisville’s Russ Smith announced that he would be returning to Louisville for his senior season. This is bad news for Kentucky on a couple of levels. First of all, it draws attention to the fact that Kentucky has never had player return to school because he loves it so much. When Kentucky’s players are on the fence (e.g., DeMarcus Cousins, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Nerlens Noel, etc.) they always end up leaving. (The fact that there are exceptions to this only proves the rule.) Second of all, it gives Rick Pitino yet another arrow in his recruiting quiver. Immediately after the championship game, Smith’s father told reporters that Russ was definitely gone. However, Smith apparently loves and respects Pitino so much that he completely ignored his father, and did what Pitino told him to instead. In other words, Russ Smith cares more about Rick Pitino than he does his own father. It’s like Pitino always tells players who are contemplating a jump to the NBA, “If you want to do what’s best for me and my family, come back. And I talked to some scouts, and, ummm, they said you should definitely come back. Gotta go. #L1C4.”
*Living in the Promiseland: John Calipari has repeatedly said that he wants to coach a Kentucky team that goes 40-0. Frankly, the fact that he would so brazenly thumb his nose at over a century of Kentucky basketball tradition is more than a little unsettling. Kentucky has had several championship teams, and even an undefeated team in the past, yet he doesn’t respect them at all, and is just content with making every team that preceded him an afterthought. In order to get the reaction of UK fans, I asked 89 year Gertrude Lilywhite what her thoughts were on Calipari’s intention to cast a negative light on every team Adolph Rupp ever coached. Her response, verbatim: “Huh?” In other words, she couldn’t believe her ears. And I doubt she’s the only one.
*Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain: In a recent interview, 2014 UK commit Karl Towns said his goal is to be “the greatest Wildcat who ever lived.” This does not bode well for Kentucky. In order for the 2014-15 Cats to flourish, egos must be shelved and all individual goals discarded. However, 18 months before he even puts on a Kentucky uniform, Towns is already telling anyone who will listen that all he cares about is himself and his own personal legacy. Towns hasn’t even played his senior season in high school yet, but you can rest assured that with every award he wins and accolade he collects, John Calipari winces. Kentucky First, Cats Forever? Apparently not.
* On this date: On this date in 2007, some Kentucky fan somewhere was proudly sporting a t-shirt that read “Ushering in the Billy Gillispie Era.”