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:
*The Cowboy Rides Away: Last week, rising junior Kyle Wiltjer announced his intention to transfer from Kentucky. This is just another example of a former top 25 high school player getting shown the door at UK. First, there was Rod Rhodes. Then there was Marvin Stone. Then there was Ryan Harrow. Now there’s Kyle Wiltjer. Of course, as many Louisville fans were quick to point out, five star players do not get pushed out the door at UofL. Rick Pitino has seen to it that the players who are forced to leave his program — Zach Price, Elisha Justice, Jared Swopshire, Rakeem Buckles, etc. — are the more lightly regarded players who will go pro in something other than sports. In other words, they aren’t delaying their entry in the NBA by being forced to sit out a year, as those under UK coach John Calipari are. Maybe next time Coach Cal is rushing a kid out of town, he’ll take a peek down the road at UofL to see how it’s supposed to be done.
*I’d Like To Have That One Back: Nerlens Noel was taken 6th in the NBA Draft by the New Orleans Pelicans, before quickly being shipped off to Philadelphia, where he will join a struggling Sixers squad. Meanwhile, Georgetown’s Otto Porter was taken 3rd by the Washington Wizards. Observant fans will recall that Noel almost picked Georgetown last Spring when he was deciding where to go to school. So how much money did he cost himself by picking UK instead of Georgetown, where he would have presumably been drafted 3rd? According to the 2013-2014 NBA Rookie Salary Scale, his decision to attend Kentucky cost him $2,888,500. Not only that, one must assume that had he been a Hoya, he wouldn’t have suffered a season-ending (and career-altering) knee injury. When I called Noel to get confirmation of this, he acted like he didn’t know who I was and then hung up. In denial much?
*Fool Hearted Memory: Over the last few days, former Kentucky standouts DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe have tweeted how good they think the UK freshmen are. This does not bode well for Kentucky. Ever since John Calipari arrived in Lexington, the general consensus has been that he recruits only the best of the best, and that spending a year in Lexington was a great way to turn yourself into an NBA superstar. However, if two of the more highly touted players of the Calipari era — Cousins and Bledsoe — have their hands full with a bunch kids who just graduated from high school, then how good can those two guys really be? One has to question why Calipari allows his former players to return to Lexington in the summer, if the result will only be to reveal that they’re pushed to the limit by mere high schoolers.
* On this date: On this date in 2011, people thought that North Carolina basketball players actually attended class lol.