The season’s over. To stay apprised and educated, follow me on Twitter @NotJerryTipton. Here’s the weekly notebook:
*Wasted Years: On Tuesday, five University of Kentucky underclassmen — Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb, Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Doron Lamb — declared for the NBA Draft. This was obviously a very sad day for UK fans, when their worst fears were realized: Jon Hood, Kyle Wiltjer, Ryan Harrow and Twanny Beckham aren’t ready for the NBA. Ever since he got the job at Kentucky, John Calipari has touted himself as a master of getting players prepared for the next level much more quickly than other coaches. However, he has failed at least four players on his current roster (it probably wouldn’t be fair to include Jarrod Polson, Sam Malone and Brian Long in this group, as they’re walk-ons and can’t reasonably be expected to play in the NBA just yet) in this regard. And while rival coaches would never admit this publicly, you can rest assured they’re using this to negatively recruit against Kentucky and Calipari.
*Evil That Men Do: When Nerlens Noel committed to Kentucky last week, he did so in a very grandiose manner. He revealed his college pick by removing his hoodie, and showing a “UK” logo that was shaved into the back of head. Stunts like this are why so many fans are turned off by college basketball in general and Kentucky basketball in particular. An informal poll taken at the Golden Sunset Retirement Home revealed that (nearly half of) 100% of the respondents didn’t much care for the way Noel announced his decision. Cecil Haggard, a 96 year old from Mt. Olive, didn’t understand why players just don’t send a telegram to the school of their choice. Likewise, Willard Hartselle, a 92 year old retired farmer, wondered why Noel couldn’t have simply “sent one a’ them telefacsimile transcripts” to UK informing them of the good news. And it wasn’t just the mature crowd who was turned off by Noel’s actions. Radio personality Drew Deener said Louisville would never recruit a player who would pull such a stunt. Said Deener: “This is why Coach Pitino doesn’t recruit any top 20 players, because they all act like that.” UofL blogger Howie Lindsey agreed. “Total lack of class. OK, let me get back to my meal. This bacon and gravy sundae is scrumptious.” So there you have it. Fans of all ages, shapes and sizes were turned off by the gratuitous showmanship of Nerlens Noel.
*Run To The Hills: Although John Calipari and Kentucky already have commitments from four players from the class of 2012, there is still room for more talent on next year’s roster. At this point, Calipari’s main target appears to be #7 ranked Anthony Bennett, a 6’7″ power forward from Nevada. By all accounts, Bennett’s two leaders are Kentucky and Florida. In order to get a feel for which way Bennett is leaning, I called his father. Mr. Bennett, surprisingly, was unaware that Calipari has had two Final Fours vacated. When informed of the details surrounding these scandals, and asked whether the fact that John Calipari is a cheater may make a difference in where his son chooses to play next year, he said it would not. I then informed Mr. Bennett that Calipari routinely calls UK fans “crazy,” and that he probably says worse things about them in private. I asked him if his son would rather play at a school where the fans aren’t so intense, such as Florida, and he said he’d leave the final decision up to Anthony. Subsequently, I reminded him that Florida coach Billy Donovan has won twice as many national championships as Calipari, and that — unlike Donovan — Cal has never won it all without the nation’s top player. When asked whether he agreed that this was proof of Donovan’s superiority over Calipari, he apparently was driving through an area with poor cell phone reception (which is odd, considering I called his home phone), because the call then ended. He must still be in that same bad area, because several follow up calls have not been answered.
* On this date: On this date in 1990, Kentucky was on probation.