We have officially entered that awkward time of year when we don’t have much on our Kentucky basketball plates currently, but we know our next meal is going to be a great one. As we wait to find out the last minute potential additions to the recruiting class, as well as the decisions to be made by some of the players from this year’s roster– let’s discuss priorities. Over the course of the next month, what is the most important thing to you? I’ll give you 3 options. Feel free to discuss amongst yourselves.
1. Andrew Wiggins choosing Kentucky
Up until the last week or two, the idea of Andrew Wiggins signing on to an already absurdly loaded recruiting class seemed to be a stretch. What was once a tug-of-war between Kentucky and Florida State, began to feel like a slightly more wide open race. North Carolina and Kansas entered the picture as contenders for Wiggins’ services as well. Florida State has been the popular prediction for a while now, but in the past few weeks, Kentucky’s chances seem to be on the up and up.
Andrew Wiggins is the best player in the 2013 class. Sure, there are other great ones…and many of them will be wearing Kentucky uniforms next year. But Andrew Wiggins is undoubtedly the best. His name has been used in the same sentence as LeBron James’ by more than a handful of “people in the know.” Wiggins is destined to be the next big thing, not only in college basketball, but in the world of basketball period. Wiggins would put Kentucky’s chances to be the dominant team in college basketball next year over the top. Wiggins would only strengthen a recruiting class that has already earned the #1 ranking. Wiggins is the difference between Kentucky’s 2013 class being one of the best of all-time, and THE best of all-time.
Why this is important: Kentucky would have the #1 player at each position for the 2013 recruiting class. Kentucky would move to the odds on favorite to win the national championship next year. And, let’s be honest– the kid is going to be fun to watch.
Why it might not be the MOST important thing: Kentucky could very well contend for a national championship next year with or without Andrew Wiggins. In a lot of ways, he could almost be considered the icing on an already delicious cake.
2. At least 1 or 2 players choosing to stay instead of entering the NBA Draft.
Let’s cut to the chase. We are talking about Alex Poythress, Archie Goodwin and Willie Cauley-Stein. These 3 players are the 3 who will have a major decision in front of them over the course of the next few weeks. All 3 are in an interesting situation in which they could be drafted in a good spot in the first round, regardless of whether or not they are ready to play in the NBA next year. The money is there and it might be hard for a few of these guys to improve their draft stock next year, especially considering how “down” the NBA draft is this year.
Kentucky won its most recent national championship last year with the help of 2 guys who made the decision to stay when faced with a similar choice to that of Poythress, Goodwin and Cauley-Stein. Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb elected to stay. Even with a loaded group of talented freshmen (potentially including Andrew Wiggins), having 1 or 2 returning players with experience to add depth to the roster could be a plus for Calipari.
Why this is important: We saw how Calipari struggled this year when he didn’t have competition and depth at each position. If 1 or 2 (or 3) of Poythress/Goodwin/Cauley-Stein stay, depth will not be an issue. Kentucky’s team make up will be similar to that of the 2012 national championship team. Calipari will not have to start over from scratch.
Why it might not be the MOST important thing: I think much of the significance of this decision hinges on Andrew Wiggins. If Wiggins joins Kentucky’s recruiting class, the importance of more of these guys staying is lessened. If Wiggins chooses somewhere other than Kentucky, the return of these players becomes much more important.
3. Louisville or Indiana NOT winning the national championship
The only thing more painful than an NCAA tournament-less season (including an NIT loss to Robert Morris) would be going through the woes of this season AND then watching one of our biggest rivals take home the title. The fan bases are close enough in proximity to us that we would likely have to hear them brag for the next 12 months. Call me crazy, but I don’t like watching the fan bases of teams that I don’t like being happy and giddy.
Why this is important: It’s really not THAT important to Kentucky fans at the end of the day. Kentucky will still have more national championships than either of these schools. At the same time, either of those schools winning would just be annoying.
Why it might not be the MOST important thing: Indiana or Louisville winning this year takes nothing away from last year’s national championship…or the potential of next year’s. Life will go on. Probably.
Of the 3 things mentioned above, which is the most important to you over the course of the next month? For me, either #1 or #2 needs to happen. Both don’t have to happen, but one or the other is crucial.