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The Wishing Game

*Poof* What do you need? *Poof* What do you need? *Poof* What do you need?

Let’s assume you’ve just found a genie.  Don’t ask how.  You just like rubbing things, and got lucky one time.  So, genie.  And let’s say you’ve already used your first two wishes.  Who wouldn’t spend a couple of wishes to get rhythm and music?  That’s all a man really needs in life.  But for your third wish, you’re a little perplexed.  You want to spend it on the Kentucky Wildcats’ recruiting class, but don’t know which star recruit to pick.  Well, let’s open it up for debate and try to answer that for you.  IF you only got to pick one, and doing so guaranteed that the other wouldn’t come, who would you choose between Nerlens Noel and Shabazz Muhammed?

Rashawn Franklin, Stuart Hammer, and I had a conversation on Twitter (Twittersation? No, that’s stupid. Forget it.) yesterday to this very same effect.  Rashawn clearly falls on one side, having seen some of the players in action in Chicago.

There’s no doubt that Shabazz’s offensive package is pretty complete.  He can score in literally every way possible, and attacks the rim with a ferocity we haven’t seen in… well, just a few days, I guess.  MKG did that pretty well.  But throw in a smooth jumpshot with that driving ability, add great size (seriously… GREAT size), and you’ve got a not-annoying, even better Austin Rivers.  Seriously, I think Shabazz makes that guy look like a chump.  Put Shabazz on the wings with Archie Goodwin, let Ryan Harrow do his thing, and you’ve got one of the best backcourts in the country.  It’s clear why Rashawn would want Shabazz, and that’s certainly not a wrong answer.

Stuart and I, however, respectfully disagreed.  At this point, I’m operating under the assumption that the talent levels are a push.  These are both tremendous players, and both have been ranked #1 in this year’s recruiting class at some time or another.  That’s no easy feat.  I couldn’t even break the top 100, and I was solid in high school.  (I’m sorry for lying, I’m terrible at basketball.  I just wanted to impress you so we could be friends.)  But Stu and I were of the opinion that the need for Nerlens is just too strong.

Let me say this: There’s no replacement for Anthony Davis.  He’s a once-in-a-generation player, and to expect another like him the year after may be asking too much.  However, if somebody could hope to do that, Nerlens is that man.  Touted as one of the best shot-blockers coming out of high school, he would certainly allow our defensive presence to be as, if not more intimidating than last year, especially around the rim.  However, should we miss on Noel, there are other great frontcourt players out there, like Anthony Bennett and Alex Oriakhi.  Shabazz may be the best guy at his spot by a mile.

So what do you think?  Clearly, both of these guys are special.  We’ve known that for a while.  So there’s no wrong, or right, answer here.  The idea that both could wear Kentucky blue next season has me salivating like Pavlov’s pitbull in the Notre Dame bell tower.  Thankfully, for the next 10 and a half hours or so, there’s a chance that we could land them both.  That would take this team from being potentially good, to being a legitimate contender.  But, say you could only get one of those wishes granted; which would it be?

Article written by Corey Nichols

70 Comments for The Wishing Game

  1. ScuzGlet
    9:05 am April 11, 2012 Permalink


  2. Gocats
    9:06 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    Noel- we should have scoring with Goodwin, but Noel brings the defense that we will need to take us to the next step next year.

  3. 44 Stitches
    9:07 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    Want both but I’ll take Noel.

  4. Lonnie
    9:08 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    Let’s not post about which one we would rather have and why on a site they both probably read……… Let them make a decision and move on…… Recruiting coverage you guys provide is awesome recruiting bs on her that just creates threads of bashing other players is stupid. We want em both and need both if we are talking title……

  5. GrumpyOldDude
    9:10 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    Perfect example of why I stay away from Twitter…..

  6. MKG for supreme ruler of the universe.
    9:12 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    I’d go with Noel as the more pressing need. Shabazz would take us from very good to great.

  7. lexslamman
    9:13 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    I want both, and if Kentucky doesn’t get both, I am going to go down to state street and break things.

  8. Another Perspective
    9:14 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    Wish List:


    I think that is a realistic possibility. If so, we are on a march for #9!

  9. Brother Danger
    9:16 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    Noel. I don’t know how well Bazz would have fit in this year in a team > me atmosphere. Plus, defense shows up every game, and if your offense revolves a prolific scorer who happens to have an off game in the tourney, it’s “there’s always next year” time…

  10. WildcatByTheGraceOfGOD
    9:18 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    Can we get Petrino too when the football job is open after the season????

  11. jimmyjam
    9:19 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    hell no

  12. TShlew
    9:19 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    Give me Noel. I’ve heard some things about Bazz that kind of scare me. Nothing he can even help really, but could put us in a bad position down the road. Not sure if it’s true or not, but the guy who told me is actually in the know for these kinds of things. I’ll take the safer pick.

  13. IIXChamps
    9:20 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    Finding a 6’9 beefy guy and teaching him to play defense isn’t that hard. Finding a guy that can drop 25 whenever he wants is hard. I’ll take scoring and find another Eloy that can take up space and play defense.

  14. David Easterling
    9:22 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    I think we are destined to get Shabazz. What would the summer be without endless speculation about eligibility? I would probably be down to one ksr check a day.

  15. MtnCat
    9:22 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    Noel is the lynchpin, Bazz is the highlight. Either or both, and if we don’t get either Cal has a boatload to choose from that want to come play for a title, fame, and fortune. We’re in a can’t loose situation, relax, we’re the center of it all.
    With Cal, all things are possible. #9 is very close, UCLA is going down.

  16. Rixter
    9:23 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    I keep hearing that Noel’s offensive game isn’t real polished, but he’s a tremendous shot blocker. I read yesterday that he averaged 3.9 blocks a game his senior year. Poythress averaged more blocks than that. Hell, AD averaged a bunch more than that in COLLEGE.
    Are we sure Nerlens Noel is legitimately the sh1t?

  17. Bledsoe's Biceps
    9:25 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    Agree with #4. Why create this debate at this critical point in the recruiting? Not very wise.

  18. Mark Whitaker
    9:31 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    Id take Nerlens Noel over Bazz, He’s defense and shotblocking will strengthen out potential weak frontline..

  19. Amaze Pants
    9:31 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    I’m with 4 and 17. Why, on this crucial Signing Day, would you even think to tell a recruit you prefer one over the other?? Sigh. I wish wordpress allowed me to filter out all you newbie writers on this site.

  20. beepthacreep
    9:32 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    news flash #8 oriaki is a scrub he averaged 6 points a game on a bad team. i want no part of him ,ill take jefferson and cauley

  21. Steely Dan
    9:35 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    You clowns actually think that they read this site on a regular basis?

  22. like a bazz
    9:35 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    six 5* guys remaining and these guys say we only get 1 –

    we need more players!

  23. Both Bazz AND that flattop feller!!!

  24. Joe
    9:36 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    Noel’s presence allows us to extend our defense to guard the perimeter. I think we’ll be okay offensively w/o Bazz, BUT I’d hate to lose Bazz.

    He looks like a real nice kid too. Seems like he’d be a good role model for the kids and BBN.

    I hate to have to pick one, but I guess I’d go with the Defensive presence.

    But I expect to get both, as I can’t imagine either one going elsewhere when they can come here and play for a great coach, with a proven track record of getting players to the NBA asap, and being a father figure away from home.

    Cal is a great man, morality wise and character wise, he loves his players, and he is a great teacher, motivator and coach.

    I would love my son to play for him. I think it would be a life-changing experience.

  25. Jack Hammer
    9:36 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    Oriaki = Vargas… Maybe a little better but not much!

  26. TN Cat
    9:37 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    It seems anymore that too many of the posts on here are just filler material.

  27. Red Rooster
    9:38 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    Why take the chance that either recruit will see this? Way more risk than reward.

    Wow I haven’t mentioned the Learned Hand Analysis since law school

  28. Walden Schmidt
    9:39 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    Had a big mix up at the store today… Apparently, when the woman said strip down facing me, she was referring to my debit card.

  29. Google My Skillz
    9:40 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    I’d think we need Noel more but ‘Bazz would be so much fun to watch!!!

  30. cats
    9:40 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    MKG staying over both.

  31. Azubuike's Bicep
    9:40 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    25-Not even close. In size or ability.

  32. Bsb Coach
    9:41 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    As several have already said, why would you post such a thread? The timing is terrible. Are you actually a Duke fan?

  33. BusterBrown
    9:41 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    defense wins championships.

  34. HandSolo
    9:42 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    I hope Bazz is reading this, and wants to prove us wrong! Give me Noel for wish, that hair with this fanbase will just be too much fun! And if Bazz really wants to play for a title like he says….UCLA should be farthest from his list. They couldn’t get a title if they wished for it!!

  35. theTruth
    9:43 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    Bring back BTI.

  36. jaws2
    9:47 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    An absolutely wasted post. You guys ever go to class, date chicks, or do anything other than this blabber?

  37. Amaze Pants
    9:49 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    21 — Maybe not KSR but when you have Rashawn Franklin hashtagging BAZZ in his tweets, there is no argument that the recruits could see the thread. So you can sit your clown ass back down. Thanks.

  38. Tom Blevins
    9:56 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    I’m with 4, 17, and 19. This is a debate that can do nothing to help Kentucky, and could possibly hurt us, especially coming at this time.
    20, if you go back to the 2010-11 season, you’ll find Oriakhi was the starting center for Connecticut, averaging 9.6 ppg and an outstanding 8.6 rpg. UConn won the NCAA that year. That he lost his starting job and his minutes (and stats) went down, probably says that Calhoon made a poor decision in using him, more than any lack of ability on his part. The main reason I think Oriakhi is good enough to play for Kentucky though, is that Coach Calipari thinks so. I trust our coach’s judgement. He does have a good track record when it comes to bringing in good players. I do agree with you about Cauley, though. I think he’s a very underrated player, and I’m glad he’s coming to Kentucky. I would also be happy if we got Jefferson in the fold.

  39. the yo
    9:57 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    the Bazz=future Kobe. it’s not even close we need him more for the simple fact that he is awesome

  40. Azubuike's Bicep
    9:57 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    21-Roasted courtesy of #37……clown.

  41. lonnie
    9:57 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    I absolutely think players that are considering UK read this site. It is the most popular uk site I know. Everyone wants to see and hear positive things about themselves regardless of how awesome they are. This website usually strokes every players ego……. just dont think debating it the last few days is in anyway beneficial….. everyone on here will be pumped as long as we get a least one, whichever it is

  42. the yo
    9:58 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    4, 17, 19 – i’m sure KSR is at the top of their list as reasons why or why not to pick UK

  43. MrsKiddGilchrist
    9:59 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    ok granted shabazz is insane..but nerlens is a BEAST. if shabazz comes that is a garuntee MKG leaves but if he goes MKG will most deffinetly stay. therefore we NEED nerlens to replace our legit big man Anthony Davis. i predict nerlens comes MKG stays and we win #9

  44. Tampa Satchel
    10:01 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    Would you rather win $10m in the Lotto or Powerball?

  45. Steely Dan
    10:04 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    42) Thank you. You guys are delusional if you honestly think that this website has any play in their decision. I mean, seriously. Come on.

  46. kyrobman
    10:06 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    I would go out on a limb and ask the genie to please bring back this past years team.

  47. Steely Dan
    10:08 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    and 37) you’re an idiot.

  48. nassau65
    10:09 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    i think i’ll let Cal handle this. he makes more than i do.

  49. Some Guy
    10:14 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    I have waited all summer; I can wait a couple more hours and just find out. Just like a month ago stupid post on comparisons.

  50. robuk
    10:15 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    we aint gettin either one

  51. Amaze Pants
    10:16 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    42 & 47 — Your aguments are that they don’t read ksr. I am simply pointing out that since Rashawn Franklin took the conversation to Twitter, the likelihood of the recruits seeing it has increased. It is my hope that I don’t have to explain to you what Twitter is. Now go on and cram yourselves back in that tiny ass clown car you rode in on.

  52. manbearpig
    10:18 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    Can my wish be that KSR bring back the blogger contest so that we can possibly find quality writers?

  53. Bill Clinton
    10:21 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    Written on the back of Bobby Petrino’s T-shirt….if you can read this the b*tch fell off!

  54. Tdr76
    10:22 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    Both these guys are great players and Bazz will be a super star in Lexington with Cal. If you want to win a championship, in route to the NBA sign with UK!

  55. Aaron Craft's Rosacea
    10:26 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    Why is everyone obsessing over Oriahki? I know he played well in last year’s tourney but he averaged 6 ppg last season. Some of you will say he will be ok under Cal but the same people probably said the same about Vargas last season. We need Noel or Bennett to complete this recruiting class. Without one of them this team could be in trouble even if we pick up Oriahki.

  56. Aaron Craft's Rosacea
    10:27 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    Last year’s tourney= title run, not the one game last season.

  57. RobertMontgomeryKnight'sSweater
    10:30 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    That flat top feller will gives us the best chance to win. These high school kids don’t read KSR.

  58. Steely Dan
    10:31 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    51) So you’re saying that their thought process is as follows: After YEARS of deliberation, I’ve decided that I’m going to go to Kentucky!!! YAY I’M SO EXCITED!!! Let me get on twitter and tell people. But first, let me discover what they’re saying about the Bazz hastag *commence search*. What?!?!?! Rashawn Franklin said if he had to pick between Nerlens Noel and Shabazz Muhammad he would pick Shabazz?!?!?! The hell?!?! No way I’m going there. Screw Kentucky and all the effort their coaches put in to recruit me. Screw all of the amazing facilities and national spotlight. Rashawn Franklin has pissed me off so bad that I’m going to a different school on the other side of the country.

    C’mon man, seriously.

  59. the yo
    10:33 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    51 – ok, so a Twitter hashtag by a KSR writer will make their final decision. Got it

  60. Come on Oriahki
    10:44 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    I want Shabazz Bennett and Oriahki if we can’t have both

  61. Wildcat_fanatic
    10:55 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    60, I agree with you. If we can get Oriahki, we gain an offensive threat and a defensive big man. In addition, Oriahki can give some senior leadership (much like Darius Miller). After watching Noel in the Nike Hoop Summit, he has no offensive game. In addition, get Shabazz for the scoring and Bennett for the muscle.

  62. 00BBN00
    11:00 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    Both these kids need UK more than UK needs them.

  63. Dallas
    11:17 am April 11, 2012 Permalink

    First look at the question then do what works, choose both of them, I would wish for 3 more wishes to get both.

  64. Matt Jones' virginity
    12:30 pm April 11, 2012 Permalink

    Hate this article. Why ask people to come to this comment section and argue over who we want more? Doesn’t make sense. Why ask your readers and fellow fans to argue over whether the 96 or ’12 team is better…. Right after the championship? Let these guys make their choice, let our team enjoy their hard earned accolades. Matt should really keep a better watch over the writers here.

  65. the yo
    1:14 pm April 11, 2012 Permalink

    64 – if you hate the article and comments, why partake? it’s a blog, people like to argue about stuff like this

  66. Katdaddy
    1:32 pm April 11, 2012 Permalink

    We get both!

  67. Winston Wolf
    1:57 pm April 11, 2012 Permalink

    You should write for the cartoon network.

  68. CrunkieBrewster
    2:09 pm April 11, 2012 Permalink

    This post is the equivalent AIDS.

  69. CrunkieBrewster
    2:10 pm April 11, 2012 Permalink

    *of AIDS

  70. Bledsoe's Biceps
    3:23 pm April 11, 2012 Permalink

    “Steely Dan” & “the ya” – None of us know what these guys may read and how fan comments may or may not sway their opinions, when trying to make their final decision. You can spout all the crap you want, as if you are the only ones who get it, but neither of you know any more than the rest of us. The simple fact is that this post and comments can do absolutely nothing positive and does have the potential to do something negative. So why play that game, when it’s all risk and no reward?