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Could John Calipari Use the NBA Lockout to Form One of the Greatest Collections of Talent in College Basketball History?

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Could John Calipari Use the NBA Lockout to Form One of the Greatest Collections of Talent in College Basketball History?

Post  BestdamnUKfanperiod on Fri Apr 15, 2011 5:49 pm

Could John Calipari Use the NBA Lockout to Form One of the Greatest Collections of Talent in College Basketball History?

Jared Sullinger of Ohio State surprised everyone by passing on the NBA. Then Perry Jones of Baylor did the same. There are rumors Harrison Barnes is passing on the NBA, too. Do they fear the NBA lockout? Perhaps. Clearly, college basketball stands to profit from the NBA lockout, as Sullinger, Jones and Barnes were considered Top 10 picks. But what happens if Kentucky coach John Calipari manages to keep three of his freshman from leaping to the NBA? Are we looking at one of the best collections of college basketball talent … of all-time?

Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones and Enes Kanter are all considered NBA lottery picks. [Ed. Kanter is permanently ineligible. Bummer.] Knight is an excellent student, Kanter’s father has said his son wants to stay in school, and Jones … well, nobody expects him to stay, but humor me for a minute. So maybe they all stick around Lexington for one more year? (And three other holdovers will definitely be back: Doron Lamb, Darius Miller and DeAndre Liggins.)

The Wildcats already have the No. 1-rated recruiting class coming in, with point guard Marquis Teague (brother of Jeff, who plays for the Hawks and starred at Wake Forest), forward Mike Gilchrist and power forward Anthony Davis. The trio are considered to be among the 10 best players in the high school class of 2011. A fourth recruit, Kyle Wiltjer, is considered a Top 50 player.

Amazingly, Knight, Jones, Kanter and Doron Lamb were all considered Top 25 high school players a year ago.

So if Calipari can convince the holdovers to stick around for one more year, the Wildcats could feasibly suit up six Top 25 high school recruits, five of whom could be NBA lottery picks in 2012. That’s not hyperbole, either. Knight, Jones, Teague, Gilchrist and Davis all project as future NBA players. And nobody would be surprised if players like Lamb, Liggins and Wiltjer made the pros, too.

UK has had immense collections of talent before – the 1995-1996 team was stacked, and nine players made the NBA, which is the same number as the 1990-1991 UNC Tar Heels – but next year’s team would be vastly superior. Sure, they’d probably look like an AAU team, and the in-fighting over shots and playing time would be legendary, and not having role players will obviously hurt at some point in March … but LET ME DREAM!

And yes, everyone’s preseason Final Four would have Kentucky and UNC.

Potential Kentucky rotation in 2011-2012:
PG – Brandon Knight
SG – DeAndre Liggins
SF – Terrence Jones
PF – Michael Gilchrist
C – Enes Kanter Anthony Davis

Reserves: Teague, Miller, Lamb, Wiltjer. Kentucky could put on a UNLV/Arkansas full court press and dominate teams by 20 points on a night basis. If need be, they could go small with Knight, Teague and Lamb … or big with a frontline of Gilchrist/Davis. And it is unlikely they’d fall into a 3-point trap, which is what cost them in the NCAA tournament the last two years (WVU & UConn), because Davis, and Gilchrist all have back-to-the-basket ability, something that was a lacking the last two years. Even if Jones bolts for the NBA – I expect him to – you can plug Gilchrist into the PF spot and not miss anything. The real key to making this team special is the return of Knight.


http://thebiglead.com/index.php/2011/04/15/could-john-calipari-use-the-nba-lockout-to-form-one-of-the-greatest-collections-of-talent-in-college-basketball-history/
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Re: Could John Calipari Use the NBA Lockout to Form One of the Greatest Collections of Talent in College Basketball History?

Post  Californication on Sat Apr 16, 2011 1:50 am

I can't wait for October. Fast forward, two dead turkeys for me, one more for my daughter, another 3-4 for friends that I take, many pounds of fish filets, crappy golf all summer, pool parties galore, hopefully a new job, houseboat trip vacation, fight bermuda in yard again, and presto! UK basketball time.
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Re: Could John Calipari Use the NBA Lockout to Form One of the Greatest Collections of Talent in College Basketball History?

Post  jagator on Tue Apr 19, 2011 3:19 am

One problem though. How do you keep all those guys happy?
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Re: Could John Calipari Use the NBA Lockout to Form One of the Greatest Collections of Talent in College Basketball History?

Post  stuckinknoxville on Tue Apr 19, 2011 1:08 pm

Pitino did it in the 90's. I'm sure it wouldn't be an easy task but I'd like to be in that position to see if Cal can do it.
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Re: Could John Calipari Use the NBA Lockout to Form One of the Greatest Collections of Talent in College Basketball History?

Post  jagator on Tue Apr 19, 2011 9:44 pm

Pitino didn't have nearly this much NBA type talent. Collections of all Stars don't always mesh into great teams. Look at the Red Sox. Even the Heat hasn't run away and hid like people thought they would. I actually think UK would be better if Jones and Knight stay and they can talk a couple of those new guys into red shirting.
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Re: Could John Calipari Use the NBA Lockout to Form One of the Greatest Collections of Talent in College Basketball History?

Post  BestdamnUKfanperiod on Tue Apr 19, 2011 10:54 pm

Sounds like some of the freshman would love to play with Knight and Lamb, I think Knight is gone, not sure about Jones, But Cal could start different ones in different games.
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