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:
*Turn It On, Turn It Up, Turn Me Loose: There have been rumors over the past week or so that former UK players Eric Bledsoe and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist were being used as trade bait by their respective franchises. These are just two more examples of former Kentucky players being unable to cut it in the NBA. Though John Calipari likes to promote UK as a pit stop on the way to NBA superstardom, a little research shows this is not the case at all. The fact is that if a high school player decides to play his college ball at Kentucky, there is only a 13% chance he will be drafted by the NBA. Of the roughly 650 players who have worn the blue and white, a mere 89 have been selected in the NBA Draft. And of those 89, only about 20 are still in the league. In other words, only 3% of all players who have ever played basketball at the University of Kentucky are still in the NBA. Stated otherwise, if you play Kentucky, there’s a 97% chance you aren’t in the NBA right now. Guess UK isn’t the sure-fire guarantee of NBA riches that Calipari says it is, huh. Maybe this is why Andrew Wiggins went to Kansas.
*You’re the One: On Monday, Kyle Wiltjer announced his decision to transfer from Kentucky. This is just another example of a player deciding that he hated UK. First, Darnell Dodson. Then Stacey Poole, Jr. Then Ryan Harrow. Now Wiltjer. What do all these players have in common? They all were poised to have breakout seasons, as evidenced by the fact that they were all going to be older and presumably better had they stuck around. So why did all these players leave? Sure, the reasons they gave had to do with “finding better opportunities elsewhere,” and there have been rumors that they didn’t think they would see much playing time had they remained in Lexington. But the implication there is obvious: They hate John Calipari. Sure, the players will deny this. As will their families, friends, peers, and Calipari himself. But again, do the math. Of course, there is a much more pessimistic view as well. Maybe they didn’t hate Coach Cal. Maybe they hated the Kentucky fans.
*Things Change: Last night, Nerlens Noel was taken in the NBA lottery, becoming the 8th UK player in the last 4 years to do so. This does not bode well for Kentucky. While this sounds impressive on the surface, it’s all about trends in college basketball these days, and the trends do not paint a pretty picture. In 2012, there were two Kentucky players taken in the lottery. This year, there was just one. In other words, UK is only producing 50% as many lottery picks as it used to. High school recruits are sure to figure this out, and then things will only get worse for the Big Blue. Especially when they see that schools like Indiana are currently producing twice as many lottery picks as Kentucky is. If this keeps up, and it certainly will, the Hoosiers are going to have a lot more nets to add their trophy case in the future.
* On this date: On this date in 2023, Rick Pitino will be a 70 year old man with a giant tattoo on his back.