Since John Calipari has been in town, the biggest recruiting draw is the fact that going to Kentucky is the fastest path to the NBA for many of the nations elite players. And the fact that they spent just one year in the Bluegrass does not diminish the bond they feel both with the fans and the school.
So summertime in Lexington has turned into the time to catch up on the former Wildcats as the current NBA millionaires still make UK and the Craft Center the place to catch up and keep their skills in check. Cynics say that this gives UK an unfair advantage in recruiting but in the end they will find something to complain about.
It is kind of cool that current NBA players like DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe pay a visit to Lexington and work out with the team. And then like true UK basketball fans, have a twitter conversation in front of thousands on how good this team is going to be:
Cousins: “Gotta get back to Lex soon to get another run in with dem Wildcats. A lotta talent on this year’s team. Julius Randle is a beast!!”
Bledsoe: “Cuz, you should have stuck around to see the twins and James Young. We gonna be straight this year. I was going hard against them too.”
John Calipari has another annual tradition of his own since he has arrived in Lexington and that is to drop his annual recruiting manifesto on the Bluegrass. Probably one of the more interesting tidbits was his comments on “package deals” in which certain players decide they are going to play together and that is the determining factor of where they go to school. Seems Mr. Calipari is not a fan:
There are some years where the kids recruit each other because they know each other and they’re talking to each other. There are other years that the kids are from all over the country and don’t necessarily know each other. If players want to play together, that’s OK, but it must benefit ALL the players. If not, it’s a huge mistake for one or more of those guys.
Ultimately, what I think a kid should be thinking about is what’s in the best interest of his individual career.
When a student-athlete is making a decision where he wants to play college basketball, he should decide who can prepare him the best and who can put him in the best position to reach his dreams. Those should be the overriding factors. The player has to understand to truly reach his potential, he must: 1.) Be on a team that wins and has a chance to win a national championship, 2.) Work beyond his comfort level, and 3.) Be willing to make sacrifices for his team.
Those have to be the overriding factors because if it’s solely about who he’s going to play with or what region of the country he wants to be in, that kid may find himself in a position where his individual career is in jeopardy because of secondary desires. Everything else is just an add-on.
Otherwise, what if the person you want to play with gets hurt? Or what if three players leave after one year before you even get to campus and leave you there by yourself? How about this: If the Miami Heat drafts you, you aren’t going to go because you want to stay in the Northeast?
I have to admit, I’m not a fan of the Miami Heat analogy simply because I’m a diehard Magic fan and detest the Heat, but I get it. The Heat, The Yankees, The Patriots. The Wildcats. To everyone else, we are the evil empire, so embrace the hate.
Yesterday we talked about the whereabouts of some former Wildcats in China. Today, the former Wildcats in the NBA are making some news as well. We know that Eric Bledsoe was traded to the Suns and now we also learn that Nazr Mohammed is staying put in Chicago for another year.
The Chicago Bulls and Nazr Mohammed have agreed to terms on a one-year contract that will have the veteran center return to the club for the upcoming 2013-14 season.
Comcast Sports Net Chicago reported the deal, which cannot become official until July 10, will be for the veteran’s minimum, and Mohammed confirmed the re-signing Tuesday via Twitter.
“Thanks for all the support and well wishes about me returning to the Bulls. Not enough time to RT or reply to them all,” Mohammed tweeted.
Mohammed will be entering his 16th NBA campaign and second with Chicago. The 35-year-old averaged 2.6 points and 3.1 rebounds over 63 games in a reserve role last season.