Kentucky fans should be nervous. There is so much at stake tonight that none of them are even thinking about.
It’s not about getting revenge for their loss in Bloomington in December. It’s not even about a national championship.
It’s this. Kentucky is dangerously close to becoming Purdue.
A couple of years ago, when we were in the darkest parts of our rebuild and Purdue was looking like close to the best team in the country, before Hummel went down the first time, I wrote that Purdue should enjoy their position of dominance, because it wasn’t going to last. They didn’t have any recruits in the pipeline that were close to as good as Moore, Johnson and Hummel and as bad as IU was, we weren’t going to stay there.
Now, here we are, with Hummel just completing his career one year later than Moore and Johnson, IU is in the Sweet Sixteen one year ahead of a massive recruiting class and we beat Purdue twice this year and it wasn’t that hard.
Here’s what Kentucky fans don’t want to believe, but they need to hear.
This may be as good as it gets for you for a long time.
I think we’re all pretty sure that six players are going pro after this season from UK, leaving the program, once again, without much talent coming back, the hopes of future success resting completely on Calipari’s ability to bring in a top recruiting class next year. That’s not news.
And I’ve said all along that the problem with the way he does things, aside from getting total asshats on your team like Cousins and Jones, is what happens when he misses on a class, or what happens when the group he gets isn’t as good as they were projected? What happens is this, you suddenly have a group of players who don’t perform up to the standards, they aren’t good enough to go pro, they all stay around for another year, and now Cal doesn’t have the scholarship room to reload.
That’s a bad scenario for UK. But it’s not the one they should be worried about. You ready? You might want to sit down for this one.
What happens if Calipari decides he wants to coach the Washington Wizards with John Wall and Anthony Davis or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist?
I’ll tell you what happens. Any of those six who was on the fence, goes for sure. Your recruits for next year decommit. The NCAA investigates and finds something, because that’s what has happened after every job he’s left. Who ever you hire has to start from scratch and there are next to no upper classmen with any experience. And you suddenly find yourself two years out from having a team that will compete to get into the NCAA tournament.
And the worst part, UK fans. That is going to happen. That’s how this story ends. There’s no other way. Calipari was never going to be your coach for a decade. And unless the one and done rule goes away, and as it’s imposed on college basketball by the NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement, which was just renegotiated without a change in that policy being made it’s not going to change before Cal jumps ship, there’s no way he leaves you without a bare cupboard.
It may not happen after this season. But it’s going to happen.
And if you lose tonight. And six players go pro. And Cal jumps ship. You mortgaged your program for one trip to the Final Four and a total rebuilding job that will last longer than Cal was your coach.
Good thinkin’ Ray.