If the 2010 NBA draft has come and gone and all five of Kentucky’s early entrants left pretty happy. The state of Mississippi also had two players drafted. Other than that, it was a quiet night in the Southeastern Conference.
1. John Wall, PG, Kentucky — Washington Wizards
5. DeMarcus Cousins, C, Kentucky — Sacramento Kings
14. Patrick Patterson, PF, Kentucky — Houston Rockets
18. Eric Bledsoe, PG, Kentucky — Oklahoma City Thunder
(Sorry, meant to note that Bledsoe’s rights were traded to the Los Angeles Clippers after he was selected by the Thunder. My bad.)
29. Daniel Orton, C, Kentucky — Orlando Magic
6 (36). Terrico White, SG, Ole Miss — Detroit Pistons
11 (41). Jarvis Varnado, PF, Mississippi State — Miami Heat
1. The night was a huge win for Kentucky. No school in history had ever produced five first-rounders in one draft.
In addition, John Calipari rising to applaud each of his guys as they were selected guaranteed him more screen time than ESPN’s Stuart Scott (if only). Yesterday’s draft should ensure two things:
A. The Cats will continue to land the nation’s very best recruits.
B. Those players will likely be of the one-and-done variety. “If Cal can get four one-and-doners into the league, he can do it for me, too.”
So on one hand, UK fans can look forward to having a phenomenal team each and every year. On the other, they’ll have to get used to becoming One-and-Done University.
It’s harder to make a connection with someone who’s only on campus for a few months — and it doesn’t say much for the academicians who still suggest basketball has anything to do with an education — but I’m guessing Kentucky fans will enjoy the wins regardless of how many line-up sheets they have to buy.
Winning’s the thing and there isn’t a fanbase in the conference that wouldn’t choose a Final Four team built with rent-a-players over an NCAA second-round team, we’ll say, built with juniors and seniors.
2. While the SEC had seven players selected, here’s how the other BCS conferences made out :
ACC — 9
Big East — 11
Big Ten — 1 (ouch)
Big 12 — 10
Pac-10 — 2
3. Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com (via SI.com) has ranked the top 30 prospects for next year’s draft. Here are the SEC players he says to watch:
Number 6 overall — Jeff Taylor, SF, Vanderbilt, Jr
Number 12 overall — Enes Kanter, PF/C, Kentucky, Fr
Number 14 overall — Trey Thompkins, PF, Georgia, Jr
Number 20 overall — Travis Leslie, SF, Georgia, Jr
Number 30 overall — JaMychal Green, PF, Alabama, Jr
For those saying that Kentucky has only one one-and-doner on the list, remember, no one had Eric Bledsoe or Daniel Orton joining John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins as potential early exits at this time last year.
4. ESPN’s Andy Katz caught up with Calipari last night. The coach had flown back to the New York draft from Haiti where he’d been on a humanitarian mission.
Here’s what Katz has to say about Cal’s choice to go after one-and-done talent.
“Calipari shrugs off the criticism that he’s all about recruiting the one-and-done players. He is. And he knows it means he’s got a chance to be a title contender every year, but more importantly to be right back at the NBA draft every June.
“‘Everyone says you cannot win a national title because you’re too young,’ Calipari said. ‘That may be the case, who knows?’”