Whenever the subject of “one and done” players come up, it is inevitable that John Calipari’s name come up as well. USA Today, did a lot of talking about “one and dones” recently, and as part of a series, talked to all twelve active NCAA Championship coaches and asked their opinion on whether they would want to coach a team with three “one and done” players.
It’s kind of funny as it seems some coaches kind of regarded it as a “duh” question. Jim Boeheim started his reply with “Who wouldn’t?” and Bill Self with “Yes, I would love to coach a team with pros at every spot”. Of course, Pitino answered with his usual wishy washiness on the issue. Here is part of what John Calipari had to say:
Let’s say, I’m at Kentucky, we lose all the kids to the NBA, all lottery picks … and then the recruiting class we have is the best in the country, but it’s in a down year for high school basketball. So you had by far the best class, but it’s in a down year and that group is not quite good enough. Now if you don’t have veterans and that happens, now you hit a glitch. And that is going to happen. But here’s the option: I am not for one and done. I have made it very clear, I’ve said it to Billy Hunter, I have talked to Mark Emmert, why not get me involved I this? I’m saying how do we solve this issue because it’s not good for high school basketball, college basketball, pro basketball, it’s not good for the game what we are doing. But I am not going to convince kids to stay when they have the opportunity to reach their dreams. I will give them all the information, maybe tell them my opinion if they ask me, and if the family decides we want to do this anyway.
Speaking of Kentucky and NBA players, the current speculation is that a few players, most notably Alex Poythress and Archie Goodwin, may return to Kentucky next year. It’s all speculation and nothing is official, but if they do return, ESPN’s Chad Ford, in a pay Insider item, says that Kentucky could have nine pros next year. He also talked about the Poythress and Goodwin scenarios:
While Poythress’ and Goodwin’s struggles this season made some fans obviously jaded toward projecting the pro potential of high school prospects, keep in mind that the high school class of 2012 was one of the weakest in years. In addition, Telep and ESPN’s other recruiting analysts had Poythress and Goodwin ranked outside their top 10.
Telep, in particular, warned me and everyone else that he didn’t think Poythress and Goodwin were true one-and-done candidates. We didn’t listen. We should have.
This year, there is much more consensus between the recruiting gurus and NBA scouts on the future of most of the class. The Harrison brothers, Young and Randle all have a toughness that this year’s class lacked.
If Poythress and Goodwin return, there’s a good chance that both will be asked to come off the bench as sophomores. The incoming players at their positions — Harrison, Young and Randle — are better prospects.
But that doesn’t mean Poythress and Goodwin shouldn’t return to school. If they declare now, both players are projected as mid-to-late first-round picks. They’ll likely spend the 2013-14 NBA season in the NBDL and both could eventually wash out of the league. If they stay another season at Kentucky, scouts still project them in the same place — as mid-to-late first rounders who have the opportunity to really improve their game.
That’s six and seven.
“Even if they come off the bench, they’ll get minutes,” one NBA scout said. “There’s a lot of talent there and Kentucky really needs some depth. Dion Waiters went No. 4 in the draft last year coming off the bench. If they play with energy, fix their weaknesses this summer and toughen up, they can still redeem themselves. They both have all the physical attributes we’re looking for. Another year in college is what they need. Starting, coming off the bench — doesn’t matter.”
Johnson also has a chance to play a significant role as a freshman and could slide in at No. 8. Add in Wiggins to this recruiting class and the Wildcats could have … gulp … nine.
So, if you’re an NBA draftnik, you might as well just set your TiVo to record Kentucky’s entire 2013-14 season. It’s going to be quite a ride.
Even if players return or not, there is starting to be a common consensus that Kentucky may dance their way to a NCAA Title next year.
Alex Kline, who runs the Recruit Scoop on Rivals.com, actually doesn’t see this year’s freshmen coming back.
“I don’t see them coming back at all,” Kline says. “Based on that, I think Kentucky is on course to win a national championship in 2014 with the talent and depth they have. Depth is the key word here. They need depth in case of injury this year. Had Nerlens Noel stayed healthy, Kentucky likely makes the tournament and becomes a threat to everyone.
“So although Johnson and (Marcus) Lee will be in the post; Young and Randle will have on the perimeter; and the Harrison twins will have at the guard position, I feel as if their backups will be the key to each game. If injury or foul trouble happens, it could hurt this team just as it could hurt any team. They have the talent, and I’m sure they will mesh well after a while, but no one can avoid the unavoidable.”