Weird that they cast Joe Pantoliano as Jared Sullinger.
We all know the story from three years ago: Coach Cal called the 2010 Draft the greatest night in the history of Kentucky basketball. Lots of folks were upset, some others were confused, and the rest of us were too busy looking at next year’s recruiting to care all that much. But Calipari dubbed it that because Kentucky broke the record for most 1st-Round draft picks of any school in a single year, showing that Lexington is the place to be for young talent looking for professional success. We all see how that played out; number one recruiting classes have become the standard, and arguably the best class of all time is scheduled to start practicing in October.
So what would Cal say if Nerlens went #1?
As far as single-year achievements, we’re still looking for a team to beat 5 first-rounders. But in the “All-Time” category, Noel getting picked up first would put UK in a tie for most overall number one picks, next to Duke, with three. There are a few schools already that have two–even some you might not expect (West Virginia has two, and Jerry West wasn’t one of them). But three, now that is rarified air.
And not only would it be three top selections, it would be three top selections in four years. That sort of streak would be almost unprecedented (Duquesne had back-to-back #1s in 1955-56).
I’m not jumping from A to Q here; there’s a lot of speculation at the top of this draft. Some sites are reporting that Len’s locked in to go to Cleveland (which sounds like something the justice system would like to do to Aaron Hernandez). But plenty others are still projecting Nerlens’s name to be read first. This is just idle speculation on what it would do for Kentucky.
And what it would do is add another bullet to an already loaded chamber in Calipari’s recruiting holster. If most first-rounders wasn’t enough to get recruits excited, then most all-time number one picks has to pique that last remaining bit of interest. There’s no way that’s going to guarantee that kids choose Kentucky, but it almost has to guarantee that they’d listen if Cal called them, right? From a business perspective, you’d be foolish to hang up on that phone call.
Noel going to the Cavs would mean a lot of things for him: bigger contract, a little prestige, affordable housing, etc. But it’d mean a lot for Kentucky, too. It’d elevate a team with a pretty good history of top overall picks, to a team with the most all-time picks. And no coach would have more from a single school than Cal (Art Heyman was selected from Duke in 1963, 17 years before Coach K). It would give Kentucky 3 of the last 4, and Cal 4 of the last 6.
If draft night three years ago was Kentucky Christmas, tonight could very well be its Thanksgiving.