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UCLA Basketball’s Thursday News and Views

At one time, it was the most dominating program at any level, in any sport. UCLA won 88 consecutive regular season games under John Wooden from 1971-1974 and compiled a 38-game NCAA tournament winning streak with seven consecutive titles from 1967-73. What Wooden did in the 60s and 70s will never be repeated, but what the UCLA program has done as a whole can be matched and surpassed.

The University of California, Los Angeles has won a record 11 NCAA basketball tournament titles since the program’s establishment in 1920. The Bruins have played in a record 12 NCAA tournament title games with 17 Final Four appearances. UCLA is one of only four schools to have an undefeated season, joining the 1956 San Francisco Dons, the 1957 North Carolina Tar Heels and the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers in accomplishing such an improbable goal.

The titles and Final Four wins and appearances are NCAA records. They say an undefeated season can’t be done again. And for that, UCLA is the subject of this Thursday’s News and Views.

What you just read about UCLA is exactly what John Calipari wants at Kentucky — and more. UK is currently three national titles behind UCLA’s 11 and Cal has his mind set on breaking the record. “We’re chasing UCLA,” he said after Kentucky won banner No. 8. If he can lure in Shabazz Muhammad, Nerlens Noel, Anthony Bennett, or just two out of three in the next month, Kentucky will be the early favorite to win the title again next season. It’ll be the same forecast for the 2014 Final Four, considering UK is lined up to haul in its best recruiting class yet for the 2013-2014 season.

All that aside, there are many out there who expect Calipari to be the head coach of the New York Knicks next season, and those believers have a voice on Twitter and on the Internet, unfortunately. On Wednesday, a reporter for the New York Daily News tweeted, “a lot of people believe John Calipari to the Knicks is already being set into motion.” The reporter did not, however, say who this lot of people are or why they believe the move is in motion. It’s just a rumor. It’s expected and will continue to be expected after every successful season at Kentucky. It’s part of being John Calipari. He failed in the NBA before, and now that he’s won at the college level, his ego could eventually drive him back to the league to prove he can do it. I wouldn’t blame him for leaving either, especially if it was for New York.

But even with a possible job opening in The Big Apple, Calipari has made it clear he is happy right here in Kentucky. I’m sure many have been quick to tell you he said the same thing at Memphis right before he left, but Memphis isn’t Kentucky. He has “the best job in basketball” and he reminded Big Blue Nation of that again on Wednesday afternoon. “I’m not going anywhere,” he said.

UK athletic director Mitch Barnhart believes Calipari is sticking around the bluegrass too. On Wednesday, he tweeted, “I had a great conversation with Cal and I’m looking forward to chasing UCLA’s record.”

And it’s not crazy to think Calipari can get there.

 Like I mentioned somewhere above, Cal needs to add Shabazz Muhammad, Nerlens Noel, and/or Anthony Bennett to the 2012 class, and the two prime targets, Muhammad and Noel, will both announce their decisions on April 11. Shabazz is down to UCLA and Kentucky, and Rivals.com’s Jerry Meyer said on Wednesday that he’s hearing Muhammad will end up a Bruin. While Meyer could end up being correct, remember he is just hearing it from “a couple of reliable sources” at this point. Believe him if you’d like, but until I get a who or why, I’m still hoping for Muhammad in Kentucky blue. I think this one will ultimately come down to who makes the decision. I believe Shabazz wants to go to UK but he’s being pressured by his father and others around him to stay out west. Let’s hope he does what is best for his basketball future.

 If you ask a staff member from UK or UCLA about where they think Shabazz will go, you’ll probably end up with completely different answers. Jeff Goodman said both staffs are telling people “it’s done for them.” I guess someone has to be wrong.

 It won’t be the end of the world if Shabazz picks the Bruins, as long as UK can get a commitment from Nerlens Noel. We’ve felt very strongly about the flattop feller becoming a Cat since he reclassified to 2012, until Wednesday when Evan Daniels tweeted that no less than three industry sources told him they believe Noel will end up at Georgetown. However, Evan told us he doesn’t necessarily agree with his industry sources. He said he is still not sold that Nerlens doesn’t end up at Kentucky. Evan is one of the best and most-informed in the business and he said he would be shocked if Kentucky doesn’t get two out of the big three left on the board.

 For more on Nerlens Noel, go read his latest blog entry over at ESPN.com. The nation’s top prospect wrote about talking to hundreds of UK fans in New Orleans, including one guy who offered up his wife. Nerlens also wants you to ignore people like the ones talking to Evan Daniels. “Rumors are rumors, what can you do, but just know that I’m far from a decision no matter what you hear.”

 Another 2012 recruit is still floating around out there uncommitted and he has Kentucky on his list of four schools. Amile Jefferson, who we at one time believed was down to Duke and NC State, said he received a phone call from Kenny Payne and the UK assistant told him they expect to lose six players to the NBA. It’s unclear if that’ll affect his decision but we at least know UK is still in contact with the forward from Philadelphia.

 Enough with the recruiting talk; let’s get Hollywood. Anthony Davis will be a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Thursday night at 12:00 AM ET. He’ll be on with the smokin’ hot Lena Headey from 300 and Game of Thrones. (I wonder if she’s seen Davis in Moncell Allen’s This Is UK video.) Needtobreathe will be providing Kimmel’s music.

 If history repeats itself, the Wildcats will visit President Obama at The White House sometime in May. The past three NCAA champions — ’09 UNC, ’10 Duke, and ’11 UConn — all made their celebratory trip to Washington, DC in the middle of the month. We’re making sure our schedule is completely free so we don’t miss out on the visit.

 Some of the 2012-2013 preseason college basketball polls were released on Wednesday, which is completely ridiculous, and everyone seems very high on Kentucky, Indiana, and Louisville at this premature stage in the game. CBSSports.com, CNN, NBC, and Yahoo all ranked the three schools in some various order at the top of the rankings, while Andy Katz put Indiana at No. 1, Louisville second, and Kentucky fourth behind Kansas. Assuming the big names at IU and UofL stay in school, it could be a very fun non-conference schedule for the Cats next season. It’s great to see the local rivals back to prominence.

 The Craft Center’s trophy case has some new hardware:


(via @CoachCalDotCom)

I’ll leave you with that.

Go Cats.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

65 Comments for UCLA Basketball’s Thursday News and Views



  1. Wall2Cousins
    11:48 pm April 4, 2012 Permalink

    ***UPDATE***

    With many people believing Shabazz Muhammad is UCLA-bound, Amile Jefferson has re-entered the picture. In fact, he never really left. The star forward has been high on Kentucky for awhile, and he continues to show his interest.

    According to WLKY, Jefferson says he has spoken with Kenny Payne recently, and the assistant acknowledged that Kentucky would lose all six primary role players; thus, the 6-foot-9 star is still very-much in the picture.

    Evan Daniels caught up with Jefferson today at the Kentucky Derby practice, and the unsigned senior says he is looking at Duke, NC State, Kentucky, and Villanova. He also denies his recruitment being a two-horse race.

    When asked about UK, he automatically popped a big smile.

    I have said this for awhile, but the longer it takes Amile Jefferson to make a decision, the better things will look for Kentucky & John Calipari.



  2. randymarsh
    11:57 pm April 4, 2012 Permalink

    Great point, Drew. It would be a hilarious conversation piece to hear Anthony Davis and Lena Headly discuss that video. I wonder if she even knows about it. I look forward to tuning in.



  3. JaredCarterIsMyHomeboy
    12:05 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    Yeah, but UCLA had the second highest payroll in the country, right behind the Lakers.



  4. rockatao
    12:15 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    and you could add 1954 UK as one of the undefeated teams



  5. Drew Franklin
    12:22 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    4. — The NCAA doesn’t count 1954 because UK turned down the tournament.



  6. Ridge Runner
    12:22 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    I live out of state & just a question for someone who may know… Can you (public) tour Joe Craft Center or is it difficult to do so? Just curious and I apologize if this is a crazy question but I really do not know.



  7. KingRex
    12:33 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    Most of you probably already know this but just so you know all sides of the UCLA legacy you should read this:

    http://espn.go.com/blog/collegebasketballnation/post/_/id/12227/the-other-part-of-the-wooden-legacy

    Once again shows the selective enforcement of the NCAA. This doesn’t bring me any joy but I’d prefer to have my eyes wide open than be ignorant hypocrites like so many fans are that throw stones at UK.



  8. ChuckHayes_Award
    12:40 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    6. You are able to walk around parts of it. You are definitely able to walk in an see the trophies, but the locker rooms,, training rooms, and Memorial are typically closed off. You may be able to peek into the practice gym though.

    But you can definitely see the trophies.



  9. carlos toomer
    12:41 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    Looks like the ’96,’98 and’12 national championship trophies. What are the crystal ones?



  10. Elmo
    12:42 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    Cal never said he was staying at Memphis before he left for UK. I believe he said that in response to rumors when Arkansas was trying to hire him.



  11. WhatSheOrder?FishFilet?
    12:58 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    I’d be shocked if Noel ends up at Georgetown.



  12. Just wondering
    1:01 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    #7 Thanks wish all the haters had to read this.Looks like this is much worse than what Camby done.To say their program is better then ours is crazy.They did have the best ten year stretch that’s it.Didn’t their team from 95 end up getting Herick fired and land them on probation.



  13. Brink
    1:02 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    7 what irritates me the most about that is that everybody including the NCAA knew what was going on the whole time. In that article they act like he would have won anyway, but how easy is it to recruit when the players know they are getting cars and clothes and whatever else. But RUPP is a cheating racist, while Wooden is never hated on.



  14. NotInsertNameHere
    1:18 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    #10 – He most certainly did. He was directly asked about the Kentucky rumors and told the reporter Memphis was where he wanted to be.



  15. JaredCarterIsMyHomeboy
    1:18 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    Does anyone know any prospect that has come out of Georgetown in the last 5-10 years?



  16. Great8
    1:34 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    #14 GO back and listen to what Cal said. He never once said he wasn’t leaving.All he said was he was happy at Memphis. Seeing how he hadn’t talked to UK then.He wasn’t going to say he would leave when the job wasn’t offered to him 2 years before. As long as Cal is at UK this WILL happen every year.Same as coach K and all other big time coaches.



  17. Say what
    1:37 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    #15 bud Mackey Never mind that was a prospect for the pin.



  18. sean
    1:39 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    Greg monroe



  19. cal's blue balls
    2:39 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    15- Roy hibbert



  20. I Say
    2:59 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    #15 Jeff Green Patrick Ewing jr



  21. dukesofmaggard
    3:08 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    Where are the other 3 trophies?



  22. Bulldawg
    3:27 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    Noel seems like a great kid. Any team will be a factor that has him wearing their colors. Wherever he ends up, tall flat tops will be in fashion. However, at UK it would be amazing!!! Just look at “the John Wall,” “Jorts,” and this year the “Unibrow!!” The Box cut is next in line.!! As a frequent caller on KSR, Turly Curd would say, “Flat top feller!!” I just hope he chooses UK!! Going to UK is a win-win situation. Just look at what Cal has been able to do with his collection of Wildcat recruits. I mean really…John Wall, Demarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe, Daniel Orton, Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb, Brandon Knight, Marquis Teague, Kyle Wiltjer, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Anthony Davis!!! All freshmen recruited to UK by Cal. All of whom are in the NBA or a member of a national championship team and will soon be in the NBA as well. Only ONE recruit has not panned out and succeeded under Cal. Stacey Poole transferred. So I’d say the odds are overwhelmingly in Noel’s favor to flourish at KENTUCKY!!! That’s not to mention how Cal has developed the players he did not recruit for UK. Everyone wins at KENTUCKY!! Even bench warmers are local legends!!



  23. Bulldawg
    3:29 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    *Orton was originally recriuted by gillispie…



  24. ghosts of BBN past
    5:36 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    Please AD Don’t pull a D.O. on us.



  25. worried
    6:22 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    It looks like we are going to miss on shabazz and noel. If we do, next years team may look like one of cal’s old memphis squads. I am talking about one of the four memphis teams that went to the nit.



  26. daviswiththeflush
    6:26 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    21) we are not allowed to count the titles we won before black players were allowed to play. Those cracker filled teams would suck today.



  27. Joey
    6:50 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    It is a proven fact that UCLA cheated all of those years that they won their titles. But yet they were never punished, and neither was Wooden. Why anyone would think their 11 titles are legitimate boggles me. If Shabazz goes there, you can bet the boosters are behind it, and they will be on probation soon thereafter. His choice is probably to either go there, so his dad can get paid, or come to UK and get nothing for his dad. That is probably the reason the dad is applying pressure.



  28. Deadbrah
    7:25 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    We’ll see what everyone says when that title is vacated in the next couple of years. Calipari has always lived on the edge of the rules….history shows KU will get burned. Enjoy the title until then.

    For thr record nothing against KU or the kids, this just shows the desperation of some in college athletics to have a winner. If you think shortcuts were not in the mix I have a bridge I’d like to sell you.



  29. dumazz
    7:39 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    @28. What does Kansas have to do with anything?



  30. Stan
    7:42 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    I have learned to trust Calipari and his recruiting, we will be ok. #28, I don’t no who the hell your talking about, Kansas or Kentucky. KU is Kansas, UK is Kentucky. Sounds like you can’t wait for the title to come down. Don’t hate on us just yet,look in the rafters at rupp, 2012 CHAMPIONS BABY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



  31. allen kincade
    7:44 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    @28 Who are you talking about?? KU is Kansas, so I guess you mean the Jayhawks. I think they cheat too. Good point you big idiot!! At least know the proper way to talk about “UK” if you are going to be a stupid hater!!



  32. Paratrooper
    7:54 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    So the entire team is nothing but commies. I can’t believe I cheered for this team. Visiting the White House and that non-American. I should have known, the way they shared the ball this year…yep nothing but a bunch of liberal commies. Next years crop better be Limbaugh listeners or I’m done with these Wildcats. Hopefully an extremist Republican wins this year so they can vacate this communist championship. There should never be separation of politics and basketball! Or religion. Boycott this team of commie heathens!



  33. Aaron Craft's Rosacea
    7:57 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    Could be completely wrong but my prediction (for what its worth): I think we land Noel and miss out on Shabazz.



  34. Chuck
    7:59 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    28 needs to be on the shiver trashing Kansas. Your argument is idiotic. Go Away, you stupid moron. You suck at trash talk. KU? Really? Dumbass.



  35. UL2UK8
    8:12 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    UK Asst. coach Robic was on the Coach Cal radio show the other day, and he said that he thinks Coach Cal is a perfect fit for UK. I would say that he knows Cal better then 99.9% of the people talking about him.



  36. Axe Cop
    8:16 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    32. Yes! Well done!



  37. UKGr8
    8:18 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    Just got word, Jon Hood has perfected his reactions, high fives, and celebrations to be used for sitting on the bench the entire year next season.



  38. Ridge Runner
    8:19 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    8…thx bud & looking forward to getting by there over the summer.



  39. Al's IndiCats
    8:25 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    One thing about it 32, most will be rich enough to listen to R.L. if they wish to.



  40. Bob Loblaw
    8:28 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    32 I assume you are trying to be funny. It doesn’t matter who the president is at the time, it’s always a great honor to be a guest at the White House.



  41. Gilly the Kid
    8:29 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    9. – The crystal trophies are the NABC Trophies also awarded to the National Champion. They used to present these at the same time as the NCAA trophy after the game, but it created confusion. If they are still awarding this trophy, we should be receiving one at a separate ceremony soon.



  42. Azubuike's Bicep
    8:30 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    28- I agree, KU(Kansas) is terrible.

    BTW, EVERY team lives “on the edge.” It’s called gray area. And you are a fool if you think every team isn’t living in it.



  43. HOO HOO
    8:31 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    Nerlens will not come to UK because he saw what CODY ZELLER did to anthony davis twice this year. anthony davis is lucky he plays on a team with four other NBA players (Darius Miller isn’t one) or he would have been exposed all year long.

    anthony davis = hassan whiteside 2.0



  44. Al's IndiCats
    8:34 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    7, there’s “STILL” a ruling to be made on Duke’s Crey Maggette, and old Roy Boy’s hands wasn’t exactly clean at KU.
    When Denny Crum was an assistant coach under Wooden he and Crum was doing bed checks and there was Bill Walton burning a fatty in his room. When they asked Walton what the hell was he doing he said that Pot helped his ankles feel better……Wooden and Crum just strolled out of the room. That was a story BY Bill Walton.



  45. Al's IndiCats
    8:35 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    ^^^^^Corey Maggette^^^^^



  46. lexslamman
    8:39 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    We got #8 – so haters gonna hate.



  47. HOO HOO
    8:40 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    is there anyone out there more jealous than myself? doubtful. you all deserved the championship, and embarassed us by hanging 100+ points on our players. sigh. maybe, just maybe, one day IU will be a dynasty again. and maybe, just maybe, one day we will win games away from Bloomington.



  48. Azubuike's Bicep
    8:42 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    43- And yet it still wasn’t enough to win the championship….Who did win that by the way?….Kentucky?….Man, they must’ve gotten lucky and faced some easy opponents if AD(Player of the year) got shut down…..Oh, they beat Indiana you say?….OK then…

    We win every argument you have. Scoreboard. Or shall I say, Trophy Case.



  49. Eric K
    8:48 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    #47 don’t count on it!! GO CATS!!



  50. Eric K
    8:49 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    #48 THANK YOU!! GO CATS!!



  51. HOO HOO
    8:54 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    Yeah, that’s why Zeller is going to the NBA. Zeller will play professionally…… In China.



  52. Al's IndiCats
    8:59 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    Hey Who? Who?, who spanked that ass in Atlanta? Who sent that tired ass team that couldn’t win away from Bloomington if they paid off the refs with a hands full of fifties? You all maybe decent next year, but remember you hafta come to Rupp next year. Besides, this is our Parade not some lameass Loosiers! Oh yeah and we have that cute little trophy they give Champions, not a pat on the back like Iu’s used to.



  53. Unnamed Source
    9:01 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    Breaking News: HOO HOO to The Onion is imminent…stay tuned…



  54. RYNO
    9:01 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    Gottleib on his show yesterday after playing a clip of Cal’s remarks about being undefeated and catching UCLA, “PSSSH, Pump your breaks a little Coach Cal, Kentucky’s got 8 not 10. Which one happens first; UK wins it’s 11th Title, or that last Final 4 banner comes down?” (paraphrasing but I’m certain he said that last line.)



  55. Doug Gottlieb
    9:03 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    Please buy my hair products. Daddy needs new shoes.



  56. RYNO
    9:05 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    56) lol…I was thinking, how do you do manage to find the time to do your show every day AND act in those Sonic commercials?



  57. BobKYCats
    9:06 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    57: Damn, you made me spill coffee all over my keyboard with that one.

    Congratulations.



  58. scoretowin8
    9:26 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    Did I read that right about Kimmel’s show? Needtobreathe is the musical guest? I will definately watch now. They are my favorite group. If you haven’t heard them before, look them up. They are fantastic.



  59. Dick Gosinia
    9:33 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    Keep in mind that UCLA very likely would not have won that many championships in todays 68 team brackets. Back when they won most of theirs, they did not have to win 6 games. It is a lot more difficult today to win it all.



  60. Alfadude
    10:29 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    Are so many of you really so jealous of UCLA? Why not just show pride in your program, instead of defending it by attacking another. Yes Dan Gilbert supported the UCLA program inapproprately, but do you truly believe there haven’t been boosters in Kentucky’s past to do the same? Do none of you remember a certain envelope full of cash? John Wooden was not Dan Gilbert, but the greatest coach in college basketball history, and beat every best team in the land even if the NCAA championship was a different format. Be proud of your team, and concentrate on basketball.



  61. Earl
    11:23 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    Yep, Cals already in New York , won all his games, in the 7th game of the NBA finals, won coach of the year and I hear he is already interviewing for the New Jersey job again. What a bunch of losers, leave him alone, let him enjoy his first of many titles to come.



  62. P.L. Wallingford, III
    11:27 am April 5, 2012 Permalink

    It’s not 12:00 AM, you idiots & there is no 12:00 PM either. God you people are stupid….it’s Midnight & Noon or 12:00 Midnight & 12:00 Noon, morons.



  63. GOCATS
    1:42 pm April 5, 2012 Permalink

    New President in May. Boom!



  64. BOB VILLA
    5:21 pm April 5, 2012 Permalink

    I think I can build a better display to show off those trophies. Let me know.