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Why would anyone in their right mind go to Clemson?

Earlier today I was sitting on a snow-covered bench in Triangle Park, looking up at the college basketball palace that is Rupp Arena, and I got to thinking: Why would anyone go anywhere else, if given the opportunity to play for John Calipari at Kentucky?

Let’s take a school like… oh… say Clemson for instance. I don’t mean any ill will toward Clemson; it’s just the first school that popped into my head while thinking about other places one could potentially go to play college basketball. I assure you there is no reasoning behind Clemson as my example, and I definitely don’t have a specific college basketball prospect in mind while having this internal debate — it is completely hypothetical and not related to any real life scenario at all.

But let’s say you’re a young star, maybe you play on the wing and can really fly, and have some crazy amount of Instagram followers, like 1.1 million or so. If that were the case, you’d definitely want to go to Kentucky, right? Going to Clemson — or even somewhere like South Carolina, another school with absolutely no relevance to this imaginary situation — shouldn’t be an option you would even fathom.

For instance, Clemson was 70th in the nation last season with an average attendance of 7,261 fans per game. Kentucky ranked first with more than triple that amount each game in Rupp Arena. Kentucky plays all of its games on national TV too, while I can count Clemson’s national TV appearances on one hand. If it were me, those numbers alone tell me Kentucky is the place to go if I want to build my brand and maximize my exposure for my one year of college basketball. What better place to do that than the school with the biggest fan base and strongest brand in the game?

Then there is the coaching debate. John Calipari is the best of the best at putting guys in the league. I hate to pick on Clemson — which, again, is a completely random school for the sake of this conversation — but who even coaches Clemson? Is Oliver Purnell still there? I honestly don’t know. Clemson’s coach could walk up to me right now in a Clemson basketball t-shirt with a whistle around his neck and I wouldn’t know who he is.

And why go to Clemson where you could be the best player in the program’s history and still not half as popular as Dabo Swinney? Clemson is a football school that wouldn’t know the NCAA tournament if it was played in the middle of campus.

I guess one could argue Clemson has a proven track record with NBA guys like Tree Rollins, Larry Nance, Horace Grant and Dale Davis, all of whom were really good before today’s high school stars were even born, but there isn’t a program in America with the college-to-NBA results like Kentucky, especially not Clemson. Or South Carolina.

I grant you the Kentucky-Clemson debate is a weird thing to be on my mind lately, randomly, but I really felt compelled to share it with you today for no other reason than to spark a meaningless debate. Like I said, it’s completely irrelevant to any current event coming up this weekend or any real life scenario at all — it’s just something that popped in my head, because, seriously, who in their right mind would pick Clemson over Kentucky?

(If that were ever an actual situation.)

As you were.

Article written by Drew Franklin

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

57 Comments for Why would anyone in their right mind go to Clemson?

  1. PillsburyThrowboy
    4:38 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

    In all honesty, past TV appearances don’t really matter to Zion because everyone knows ESPN will cover every Clemson game next season just because of Zion.

    Also, Drew, there is no way you were sitting on a snow-covered bench in Triangle Park.

    • catsarerunnin
      4:49 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

      I’m sure his antifreeze was at the correct level so it’s possible he was there.

  2. 4everUKblue
    4:52 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

    Well done Drew. I don’t think young basketball stars realize how important where they attend college really is. Take Jahlil Okafor for example, how did playing for K prepare him for the NBA? I could pick on a number of players who chose not to come here but you already know who they are and so do they.

    • 4everUKblue
      4:54 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

      *don’t realize…..dammit please make it possible to edit our comments.

    • PillsburyThrowboy
      4:57 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

      Kyrie Irving is the only superstar player to come out of Duke and he didn’t even play a game for them. They have a few good players like Ingram, Parker and Reddick. How many superstars have come out of Duke though? They make really good NBA role players.

    • J-Dub421
      5:05 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

      Irving played in 11 games for Duke.

    • DelrayCat
      5:23 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

      You do realize one of the top 3 candidates for Rookie of the Year went to Duke, Jayson Tatum (and the likely winner having gone to Louisville)?

    • callitlikeiseeit
      5:25 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

      Cal does not put guys in the NBA. He did {in the past} a great job at recruiting NBA guys and partially because some schools and coaches did not want to go that route. All those guys you say Cal put in the NBA would have been the same top pick if they could have left from High School. Some actually saw their status fall after playing for Cal, some alot, like POY, Twins, Goodwin, Bricksoe and many more. Now that others are going bafter these type kids Cal is not getting them all, thus the next draft will have many lottery picks and 1st rounders not from UK, guess Cal did not want to put these guys in the league right. NO, he missed on some of the more ready guys-Porter, Ayton, Bagley etc. so the guys he got were not as ready, obviously. Amazes me that people think Cal got all these guys there, he had them about 6 months and like I said most were the same or higher prospects from High School than they were when they left Cal.

    • Blue Bill
      7:37 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

      Yeah, Cal sucks. Moron.

    • krautdog
      7:45 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

      Truth is in the numbers!

    • DelrayCat
      5:26 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

      Plus Brandon Ingram will be really good and a key piece of the Lakers for a long time. He will certainly outlast Julius Randle there….just sayin.

    • 4everUKblue
      5:30 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

      Yeah Delray, try to look at the big picture. Callit, I don’t recall saying Cal put anyone in the NBA. He is the best at developing players, just not a miracle worker, some people just can’t get over themselves….you should be able to identify with that.

    • 4everUKblue
      5:45 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

      Thank you JDub.

    • unbridled
      5:57 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

      For anyone to argue that coach cal and the U.K basketball program dont better prepare players for the NBA is foolish. Look at the track record. I understand that these kids are NBA talent regardless of the college they choose….the point is, they are better pros because of their time at U.K. The results speak for themselves.

    • wyatts1
      7:15 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

      Callitlikeiseeit, you can’t be serious?? Of course some kids may be a bust but they would be in the pros also had they went and stood even less of a chance of succeeding, at least with UK’s guidance they was better equipped and stood a far better chance of having that career. To say that they was the same or better before coming to UK is just a ignorant statement. UK often does smack some of the kids in the face with reality and they either shy away from it (like the Harrison twins did) or they accept and own it (like ulis did). But to say WCS, or Anthony Davis or Booker (or whoever else you wanna say) was better off before coach Cal Came along just proves the lack of knowledge you have on this subject.

  3. 4everUKblue
    4:53 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

    *don’t realize

  4. Rabbi Li
    4:55 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

    It’s u n r e a l i s t i c to even contemplate being a momma’s boy to the point that you need to stay home when you’re 18 years old.

    In other words it’s like saying… everyone else can go be an adult now except me. I would rather trash my chances of a National Championship, throw away growing like other 18 year olds do when they are ‘of age’ to become adults, hand over my skill development to underqualified & unproven amateurs, & forever be remembered by several people in my neighborhood.

    Big shoes take big men. And you can’t be a man when you say at home with momma.

    • unbridled
      6:00 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

      His college career will last less than one year. I don’t get it.

  5. KYcats11
    4:59 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

    Sounds like somebody confirmed to Drew that Zion is going to Clemson for sure.

  6. 4everUKblue
    4:59 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

    Gotta leave the nest sometime Zion…jus’ sayin’

  7. jahanc2uky
    5:01 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

    You forget to mention travel accommodations. Clemson probably takes a bus to games, venues for neutral games, training facilities, living quarters, and post college council.

  8. 2Dogs
    5:02 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

    Norman, Oklahoma isn’t exactly the center of the basketball universe but Trae Young seems to be making it work for him. Cal has said it himself, UK isn’t for everyone. And that’s okay.

    • 4everUKblue
      5:04 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

      He didn’t make it work all that well last night. I know everyone has an off night here and there but when he has one, OK has very little chance of winning.

    • callitlikeiseeit
      5:19 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

      Just like when anyone has an off night you could lose to a horrible SC team.

    • Rabbi Li
      5:22 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

      2Dogs – Just stop. Trae Young won’t be playing long in March. 1 bad game and they are done.

    • 4everUKblue
      5:33 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

      It’s ok if you are a Cal hater but why not do your hating on a UofLittleBro site. Seriously you’re your own worst enemy.

  9. Rabbi Li
    5:12 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

    I think it’s fair to say… ballpark guess of how much money Zion will loose if he chooses Clemson or South Carolina over Kentucky is 25-100 Million over a career.

    It’s not hard to figure out:

    1. Preparation. By playing against future pros all year long. You play against your team way more than you do against other teams.
    2. Instruction. Calipari coached in the NBA & the Collegiate level. Between he and his staff the players are getting the best instruction in the game (specifically aimed at preparation for the NBA game).
    3. Connections. Calipari has EVERY NBA team General Manager’s phone number in his phone.
    4. Exposure. Every game is on TV. Every season there is a Pro-Day in front of all the scouts at Joe Craft Center. The concept was invented at Kentucky by Cal. Only a few other teams have enough future pros on their roster to even get the scouts to attend.
    5. Family. Once a Kentucky Wildcat you instantly know 50 multi-millionaires who are/were as talented as you and went through what you are going through. You instantly are brothers with 20-30 of the biggest name in the current NBA. Kentucky is a Basketball state. There are no pro sports… the focus of the state is on 1 thing. Kentucky Wildcats. Then the BBN… we make NCAA games home games. This is a rare thing. Just watch and see.
    5. Endorsements. Branding is important. You do it by being on the main stage in March. That is not going to happen in South Carolina basketball.

    • 4everUKblue
      5:33 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

      And Callit is typing some inane BS as we speak.

    • unbridled
      6:07 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

      I agree whole heartedly Rabbi. A players tenure with the university of Kentucky gives preparation for the transition into a professional….in all aspects. Hopefully Zion wants to be a pros pro.

    • StevieGotLoose
      8:55 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

      Do you really think that playing with this bunch of overrated players will help his game. There are several NBA stars that went to lesser schools.

    • 4everUKblue
      7:59 am January 18, 2018 Permalink

      Really Stevie???? Wake up and just look at all the evidence around the NBA, you can’t be that ignorant.

  10. Rabbi Li
    5:13 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink


  11. lindamyers56
    5:24 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

    It’s about being close to home. Just like Bolden.

    • lindamyers56
      6:47 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

      This should have stated Young not Bolden. You can’t edit that I have found.

  12. Rod Crandler
    5:29 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

    Plus we have really good ice cream cones at Rupp. That should close the deal.

  13. TB112162
    5:42 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

    Bolden is from Texas ?

    • lindamyers56
      6:48 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

      I went back and commented. Should have stated Young. Can’t edit that I have found. Maybe updated comment is not there yet.

  14. Ukgrad2006
    5:55 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

    Well Drew –

    Let me tell you why so called “hypothetical” player might pick a school like Clemson over Kentucky.

    Maybe… just maybe, because this hypothetical phenom tuned into ESPN last night and saw Kentucky blow the game against Clemson’s little brother, South Carolina. So much for Kentucky being that powerhouse of college basketball where young stars go to shine, huh?

    Cal losing Trey Young to Oklahoma – who did not make the tournament last year – will be the worst thing that will happen to his recruiting success going forward. It’s okay though, now we have Brad getting some clock in the first half when our guards get into foul trouble, showing us how great UK Basketball is expected to look in the near future…

    That might make me re-think some things.

    • unbridled
      6:11 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

      Hahahaha. You think Zion Williamson is going to choose a college based off of one game???? Hahahahaha. That’s just silly. I’d say trae young attending Oklahoma is a blessing in disguise for U.K.

    • Ukgrad2006
      6:13 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

      Sarcasm. Learn it.

      BUT. blessing in disguise? How so?? He is averaging almost 30 and 10 a game… He could totally change the way our team is playing right now with his leadership alone.

    • BeejeCat
      10:30 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

      Where was the sarcasm then?

    • wyatts1
      6:38 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

      He also leads the NCAA with 8 TO’s a game. Great player and seems like a good kid but Kentucky isn’t for everybody, if he was as confident in his skills then he could’ve came to UK, and earned that role cause after last night and some of these close games he would’ve shined much brighter here then Norman Oklahoma.

  15. Kat4Life
    7:10 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

    Well……honestly, it’s because once Zion signs that place will be PACKED every night for the show. Clemson will support that with attendance.

    • Bobbum Man
      8:37 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

      Well it only holds like 10k but yeah….

  16. mcp157
    7:12 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

    We need to get over people choosing other places. We get a lot of players and not getting a few is not a big deal. Some kids may not like the glitz and boom that comes with going to UK. Chill out dudes. We will be okay either way.

  17. Catcasey1
    7:21 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

    Callit what was the score of the uofsmell score against Kentucky that really bad team that lost to sc

  18. BeejeCat
    10:28 pm January 17, 2018 Permalink

    He’s a troller. Ignore.

  19. I agree that Zion to Clemson doesn’t make sense…to me. However, as has been noted before, the Bamas of the world tell Kentucky natives the same thing about UK football. Damien Harris case in point. One report said that at a Bama game an assistant coach looked at him, pretended to shoot a basketball, and shook his head.

  20. jr1122
    8:26 am January 18, 2018 Permalink

    Maybe…he doesnt care about being in college.
    Maybe…he wants to stay home.
    Maybe…he just wants to go pro.

    Not everyone cares about college basketball like Kentucky fans do.
    Not everyone who goes to Kentucky should leave after one year (another topic for another day),

  21. Howdy Doody
    9:14 am January 18, 2018 Permalink

    We own a vacation home near Clemson. #1 Weather is better #2 Football is King #3 ACC is a really good Basketball Conference #4 High Academic Standards #5 Fan base does not make death threats at Refs

    Other than that, dunno.

  22. Howdy Doody
    9:33 am January 18, 2018 Permalink

    Oh, average salary in Clemson, SC = $44,000
    ” ” Lexington Ky =$29,000

    Clemson University Ranking = 67th
    UK = 133rd

    Drew needs to “ponder” a bit more…

  23. Howdy Doody
    9:37 am January 18, 2018 Permalink

    I forgot again, WHICH College did Drew Franklin Graduate from ?

  24. Howdy Doody
    9:39 am January 18, 2018 Permalink

    Maybe just a BIT biased ??

  25. Howdy Doody
    3:17 pm January 18, 2018 Permalink

    I graduated UK in 1976. I liked it just fine. Not everyone does. My own first born called it a “cow college” and enrolled and graduated with honors from NYU. She is now a Physician at NYU Hospital. The second went to Duke, just like Matt she is now an attorney. The third attended UK and transferred to MIT for Grad School.He is now an Engineer.

    Like I said, to each their own. You can’t throw stones at a kid who wants to go to school somewhere else other than UK….UNLESS it’s Lousyville.