It's been a while since we have talked about all the goings on surrounding Kentucky Basketball. The reason for the hiatus is due to my shift being changed to evening shift after being on day shift for the last 10 years, but you gotta do what you gotta do to keep the lights on. Now that that's out of the way, lets get to what all has happened over the last couple of weeks.
First there was the NBA Draft where we painfully witnessed the slide of Nerlens Noel from the perceived favorite to be the number one pick and for a few sweet minutes Kentucky fans thought they would see Noel and Anthony Davis join forces on Bourbon Street when the New Orleans Pelicans selected Nerlens with the sixth pick only to trade him to the Philadelphia Seventy Sixers. In the end, I think being traded to the 76ers was the best option for Noel considering he wouldn't have seen much playing time in New Orleans with Anthony Davis being on the roster.
Then there was the surprise of the draft when Archie Goodwin was selected with the 29th pick by the Oklahoma City Thunder then being traded a few times and finally ending up in Phoenix with the Suns. Going into the draft, NO ONE (Kentucky fans included) thought Archie had a chance of being drafted, especially in the first round. Making things a little more interesting and creating more Suns fans in Kentucky, the L.A. Clippers traded Eric Bledsoe to Phoenix after hiring Doc Rivers (more on this later) away from the Boston Celtics. Phoenix is a good place for both Eric and Archie, but especially Eric as he has played second fiddle to other point guards since he graduated high school. At Kentucky, Bledose was behind John Wall and in L.A. he played behind Chris Paul. Now he has the chance to show what he can do as I believe he will start from day one in Phoenix.
This brings us to the curious case of the pending (maybe not) transfer of Kyle Wiltjer. Sometime this summer, Kyle made it in known to John Calipari that he was thinking of transferring to another team and Cal being Cal, didn't restrict Kyle from any school like some coaches have in the past (looking at Kevin Stallings here), instead he supported him and helped him create a list of schools that were best suited for him. Kyle ended up visiting Gonzaga, a school many people including myself suspected was number one on Kyle's short list of possible destinations. After the visit, an interview that Kyle's dad gave to a Portland news paper surfaced where he said that Kyle hasn't made a decision about transferring and that a return to Lexington with a red-shirt year was more than possible. In the end, I wouldn't be surprised if Wiltjer went either way, but my gut feeling is that Kyle will ultimately transfer to Gonzaga although I'd personally love to see him finish his career in Lexington.
Now lets get to this seasons freshman that are (mostly) all on campus as of today. The reason for the mostly comment is that the Harrison twins and James Young were on campus last weekend but ended up leaving and won't be around the majority of the summer. The reason for their absence was reported by Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports Radio earlier this week and he said the reason they won't be around this summer is because they were late signing up for summer school at Kentucky due to their respective high schools graduating later than normal causing them to miss the deadline to sign up for summer classes. Matt went on to say that the Twins and James Young would be making weekend visits to workout with their team over the Summer. The Twins and James Young will also be taking their summer classes online to stay caught up with their teammates in the academic portion of their development.
Speaking of this years crop of freshman, there was some pretty impressive comments made by former Cats that had been in town and took part in some pick-up games with the new kids. Demarcus "Boogie" Cousins took to Twitter to praise Julius Randle saying... "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!! This led Eric Bledsoe to give his own opinion of a few players saying "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."
If comments like that don't get you excited for this coming basketball season, then you either are not a fan or you have no pulse.
By now everyone has heard and is excited about the alumni game between the 2010 and 2012 team that is tentatively set to take place on September 9. This is one game that I will try my best to attend as it will be one for the ages. The amount of talent that will be in Rupp on that day is more than the human brain can process.
This years edition of Big Blue Madness is an important one as all of them have been since the arrival of John Calipari when it comes to recruiting. This week Emmanuel Mudiay (#1 PG in 2014) and Stanley Johnson (#12 player in 2014) both announced that they would attend BBM in October. As it stands right now, Kentucky only has one commitment in 2014 and that is Karl Towns Jr. So to say this years BBM is important is an understatement.
Now I said earlier in this post that I would talk more about the Celtics hiring Butler's Brad Stevens as their new head coach. I was more than surprised when I first read the news, it's bad enough they traded Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce then they go and do something like this. I'm not saying Stevens isn't a good coach, that would be insane to say because he is, on the college level. What Brad has done at Butler is impressive, but he is too unproven to coach an NBA team. At 36, Stevens will be younger or the same age as most of the players he will be trying to motivate and coach. It's no secret that I'm a huge Celtics fan and have been long before Rondo was even thought of and this hire for me is painful to see take place. How and why should the Celtics have to go and hire a college coach that so unproven instead of landing a seasoned NBA coach or at least someone who has proven they can win at the highest level in college. Over the last few years we have seen the Celtics front office do some things that made you scratch your head in confusion from trading Kendrick Perkins for nothing in return, to continuously considering trading Rajon Rondo even though he is one of the top 3 or 4 point guards in the league every season. I'm starting to think the front office is where they need to make some changes instead of on the court, but too late for that as the damage has already been done.
Well, that pretty much gets us caught up on all the news (the important stuff at least) that has happened in the last couple of weeks. Now it's time to celebrate our countries INDEPENDENCE, I hope everyone has a fun and safe Fourth of July weekend...