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:
*Promises: Last Friday, Kyle Wiltjer announced his decision to transfer from Kentucky to Gonzaga. This is a huge blow for the Cats. Wiltjer takes with him 100% of the entire team’s Final Four experience and NCAA Championship Game experience. Also, losing a McDonald’s All-American is never easy to overcome, especially when you return exactly zero Burger Boys not including Alex Poythress. Also, one must wonder how close UK was to suffering a mass exodus. Luckily, it’s too late for any of Kentucky’s 9 incoming freshmen to transfer, or else they probably would have maybe. And you’d have to think Jon Hood and Jarrod Polson would join Wiltjer heading out the door, if not for the fact that they are seniors and only have one year left. So, I mean, what’s the point. The same logic applies to sophomores Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein, who would certainly be transferring as well, if not for the fact that this would simply delay their inevitable trip to the NBA by a year. Tellingly, John Calipari has yet to post a web log entry on the computer inter-net site http://www.coachcal.com expressly denying the scenario laid out above. The silence is deafening.
*Hello Old Friend: Jeff Sheppard caused a stir when he told a group of UK alumni that he despises John Calipari. Specifically, he said that not only does not like the one and done rule, but that “I don’t think the Kentucky fan overall likes it.” He then suggests that the only reason Calipari still has his job is because UK backed into a title in 2012: “We’ve had to accept it… (w)e’re winning national championships — or at least one.” Notice the “at least one” line, which was presumably a mocking reference to the fact that Coach Cal only has half as many championships as Sheppard’s coach, Rick Pitino. Shep wasn’t done blasting Calipari, however: “I personally think maybe there’s a little bit too much emphasis on celebrating first-round draft picks. I’d rather be celebrating national championships.” Though this point was originally (and brilliantly) made by Rick Bozich, the fact is that while Calipari has produced 12 first round picks at UK, he’s only produced 1 national championship. Unfortunately, that disparity only figures to grow in 2014.
*Before You Accuse Me (Take A Look At Yourself): On Monday, it was announced that the possession charges against North Carolina’s P.J. Hairston relating to his June 5 arrest have been dropped. This does not bode well for Kentucky. What this means is that Roy Williams and local law enforcement agencies in Chapel Hill (as well as Durham, and anywhere else a UNC player has run afoul of the law) will now be able to focus their collective attention on getting rid of the other legal entanglements facing the Tar Heels. This includes, but is not limited to, allegations of Hairston’s receipt of improper benefits, Hairston driving with a suspended license, Hairston possessing a firearm (with 9 rounds of ammunition), etc. This will also allow UNC as a whole to expend more energy ignoring the widespread academic fraud that has been going on at the school for years. For those UK fans who were hoping Hairston — UNC’s best returning player — would miss the Kentucky game in December just because of a little arrest, think again. Even though Calipari protÃ©gÃ©e Tony Barbee kicked a player off of Auburn’s team for possessing less than an ounce of marijuana, Hairston will receive no punishment whatsoever for committing a much more egregious offense. The difference is that UNC, unlike Auburn, is serious about winning basketball games.
* On this date: On this date in 2018, Terry Rozier will be playing professional basketball in Kazakhstan.