Luke Warm Linkage

Sexy? No. Badass? Definitely.

5 UK Under-Classmen Are Reportedly NBA Bound

According to Jody Demling of the Courier Journal, Kentucky recruits are now being told that 5 UK underclassmen will be leaving school early for the NBA draft. That’s 5, as in the number of players on the floor at one time for one team.

I’ve got to say… This is a little ridiculous.

One of Daniel Orton’s 780 seconds per game.

Kentucky fans knew full well what to expect when we signed future #1 pick John Wall. 95% of us also knew DeMarcus Cousins was too talented to hang around for more than one year. Patrick Patterson is graduating a year early and we’ve already had him at least one year longer than we probably deserved. His jump makes complete sense.

Finding out that any of those three weren’t coming back would be like hearing that Ricky Martin is gay. It’s disappointing, but you’ve been prepared for it for a long time.

Eric Bledsoe and Daniel Orton are a different story completely. While both are immensely talented, neither is consistently effective as a college player. Not yet anyway.

Bledsoe goes through obvious dry spells, over-dribbles into turnovers, misses wide open layups and shoots 60% from the foul line. His single greatest asset is his athleticism. How many guys in the D League can you say that about right now? He lacks polish. He lacks consistency. He’s somehow a lottery pick.

Say hi to the kids from Europe, Taurean.

Daniel Orton averages under 4 and 4 in about 13 minutes a game. UNDER 4 and 4. He has an NBA body and an NBA defensive game to go with it, but his offensive game is lacking. I’m not sure if Daniel hasn’t shown more because it’s not there or because he hasn’t gotten the minutes to do so. As a projected first round pick, I’m guessing NBA GM’s are banking on the latter.

Daniel Orton and Eric Bledsoe are benefactors of what I like to call the “Taurean Green Effect”. If you put either of them on another team that isn’t stacked with 3 more lottery picks, they wouldn’t be thinking about the draft much less getting ready to pull the trigger. For some reason, all the time GM’s spend staring at obvious stars like Wall, Cousins, and Patterson makes them lose their perspective about the rest of the players on the roster.

Let me say this… I love both players. I love their potential and I’m proud of the character they’ve shown this season at Kentucky. But taking the money and running, when you know full well you’re not ready to succeed in the NBA yet is what the one and done rule is supposed to prevent. By jumping now, these guys are taking a huge risk and subsequently setting their program back at least a year while their replacements are groomed.

If they go, I wish them the best of luck. Here’s hoping I don’t have to.

EJSIC College Basketball Preview Series: Kentucky

Kentucky fans should have plenty to cheer about this season.

Kentucky fans should have plenty to cheer about this season.

In the world of big time college athletics, change is the only constant. The night of March 25th, 2009 I was verklempt (you’re welcome) to say the least. I was drunk (not nearly drunk enough, as I still remember the night) and staring at my ceiling, trying to convince myself that Travis Ford really did have redeeming qualities as a human being and a basketball coach. Losing in the NIT when you’re Kentucky is foreign territory to say the least.

Fast forward to October 29th, 2009 and it’s safe to say that things have changed for the Kentucky Wildcats. Out went Billy Bourbon and his “Toughness > Smartness” mentality and in came Calipari and his “Schmoozing > Boozing” approach. Along with his people skills, Coach Cal brought a bag full of highly touted recruits (it’s so… beautiful, isn’t it?) and expectations with him to the Bluegrass. In an onslaught of contracts, settlements, and Emory envelopes (kidding), my beloved Cats have gone from NIT also-rans to a near-consensus pre-season Top 5 team. The contrast from then until now couldn’t be more stark.

Last night, I got the privilege of watching the “debut” (read “glorified scrimmage”) of the aforementioned new and improved Kentucky Wildcats at the annual Blue/White game. After months of build-up, anticipation, and run-ins with the message board hate brigade, it was finally time to see the new Cats in action. Would anyone be able to knock down the trey? Would D-Cus rock the headband and ruin half my Tennessee jokes? Would John Wall poop ice cream and serve it to the crowd?

The answer to all of the above was a resounding YES. Continue reading