Anthony Davis, believe it or not, is going to the NBA. You were surprised too, right? He isn’t the only Kentucky Wildcat to be entering the NBA draft. He’s joined by Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marquis Teague, Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb, the entire starting lineup of the 2012 College Basketball national champions, entering the 2012 NBA draft.
You thought that’s all? Darius Miller, a senior, is entering the draft as well, in what might be the first time ever when six players from the same school get picked in the first round of the draft. Unlikely, because Teague probably won’t be, but still, all six are expected to be drafted. Davis is expected to be the number one pick. Kidd-Gilchrist will follow very close.
Kentucky had two players picked in the 2011 NBA draft – Brandon Knight who went to the Detroit Pistons, and Enes Kanter, who didn’t really play college ball, going to the Utah Jazz. In 2010 the entire freshman class of Kentucky was selected in the first round – John Wall was the number one pick, followed by DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe, Daniel Orton and Patrick Patterson.
Is the current group more talented? Probably. Just by a bit. And they do have the title to boast, although the 2010 class was special because they were all freshmen who underachieved in College. The class of 2012 is 3 freshmen, two sophomores and a senior. Calipari said after winning the national title that now he has set new goals – back to back titles, and getting six players, maybe even seven, picked in the first round of the NBA draft.
This is a players’ first program. I said it three years ago. During the season, it’s about our team. You saw it in this year’s team, they were about each other. When the season is over, it’s about moments like this.
Kyle Wiltjer is the only players that remains from the rotation, used mostly as a three point specialist, averaging just over 11 minutes per game in Freshman season. He averaged just under six minutes during the NCAA tournament.
Wiltjer will probably be a starter next year, as Calipari closed down his fourth consecutive no.1 recruiting class in the nation. He needs to fill in for over 90% of the team’s scoring, rebounds and assists. Willie Cauley, Alex Poythress and Archie Goodwin are supposed to fill in those holes, along with Nerlens Noel.
Good for College Basketball? Probably not. Calipari himself says he’s against the system, but in a program that wants to win, win, win and not hear a single word about development, this is his way to win. Players love him, making him the best recruiter in the nation. He’s playing by the rules in front of him, and despite the fact that it might not be the healthiest thing for the sport and these kids, titles are above everything else, especially in Kentucky.