The 2013-14 season is quickly approaching, and Big Blue Nation holds its collective breath. John Calipari’s Kentucky team will go to war this year relying only on what a few “experts” are calling “the greatest recruiting class ever assembled,” a couple of sophomores, and a few older guys. Is this a recipe for success? We shall see. But probably not. Unfortunately for Kentucky, only one team has ever won the national championship using this formula, and this happened way back in 2012. To stay apprised and educated, follow me on Twitter @NotJerryTipton. Here’s the weekly notebook:
*Runaway: Last Friday night, news leaked that 5 star point guard Jaquan Lyle decommitted from Rick Pitino and Louisville. Card fans celebrated the news. As various UofL fans astutely pointed out, Lyle is a “headacase,” a “primadonna biatch” and a “loser.” To be sure, those same people were probably just waiting until Pitino set Lyle free, so that they could get those complaints off their chests. They also accused Kentucky of stealing Lyle away. This was a very stealth move by John Calipari, as UK has yet to offer Lyle a scholarship or even show any interest in him. Whatever the case may be, this only underscores Pitino’s recruiting strategy of “stay away from the 5 stars.” With 6 McDonald’s All-Americans in the Cats’ current freshman class, you have to wonder just what on earth John Calipari is thinking.
*It’s My Life: Last week, Kentucky received a commitment from Tyler Ulis. This was not what UK fans wanted to see. Ulis, you see, is a mere 5’8.” This is not to suggest that he cannot be an effective point guard for Kentucky, but it seems that he cannot be an effective point guard for Kentucky. There have been several people through the years who were 5’8.” Angelina Jolie, for example. When she’s not buying children, she does a lot of charity work. But can she break her man down off the dribble? Rappers Eminem, Ice Cube and Kanye West are also 5’8.” While they can spit rhymes, it seems unlikely they can drop dimes. Ryan Seacrest happens to be 5’8” as well. He probably wouldn’t know what a basketball was if you gave him a basketball and said “hey Ryan Seacrest, here’s a basketball.” Not to question Coach Cal’s judgment here, but one really has to question Coach Cal’s judgment here. The same goes for Tom Izzo, Billy Donovan, and the several other high profile coaches who pursued Ulis. It’s almost as if Calipari decided to channel another 5 foot 8’er, Humphrey Bogart, and is saying to every Kentucky fan “frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
*You Give Love A Bad Name: Earlier this week, the 2013-14 UK basketball team had its annual picture day. This does not bode well for Kentucky. As can be seen from the various photos of the young team, they appear to be emotionally unstable. In several of the pictures, the young players are laughing and joking around, apparently unaware that Kentucky fans take their basketball very seriously, and are demanding nothing less than an undefeated season this year. And in other photographs, the players are very solemn, seemingly overburdened with the unrealistic expectations placed on them by the 4,000,000 residents of Kentucky who choose to live vicariously through them simply because they can shoot a ball through a hoop. It’s only September, but by all accounts, this season is already in danger of being a colossal disappointment.
* On this date: On this date in 2012, preseason #1 Indiana was gearing up for a magical run. Their roster featured two eventual top 4 picks, and as everyone knew, college basketball was down that year. By all accounts, another trip to the Final Four for the mighty Hoosiers was a mere formality.