Posted on: May 20, 2009 9:39 am
Edited on: May 20, 2009 9:39 am
I've received a few emails about -- and there are various message boards addressing the topic of -- Kentucky's scholarship situation, which is to say, how John Calipari has over-signed this stellar recruiting class that many are calling one of the best in history. All I can tell you is that somehow, someway, it'll end up being a non-issue, and I know this from past experiences.
I was a beat writer who covered Calipari for four seasons before I moved to CBS.
Every year, it seemed like he over-signed.
Every year, it seemed like I had to ask him about it.
Every year, he explained how he doesn't worry about the numbers.
Every year, it was a complete non-issue by the time August approached.
So yeah, the NCAA's scholarship limit for men's basketball is 13. And yeah, the signing of John Wall means Kentucky has 16 scholarship players set to enroll. And yeah, that number will rise to 17 if Jodie Meeks withdraws from the NBA Draft. Make no mistake, those things are all true. But remember, Calipari has been doing this a long time, and there's no doubt he already knows how this will play out.
Eric Bledsoe might never qualify.
Meeks might remain in the NBA Draft.
Two, three or even four current Wildcats might transfer.
If you want a prediction, it'll probably be a combination of those things, plus something else unexpected. But rest assured, it won't matter in the long-term, and that's why I'd advise all fans to stop worrying about it in the short-term.
Posted on: May 10, 2009 1:55 am
John Calipari spent the weekend in Memphis.
With Chris Douglas-Roberts.
And Derrick Rose.
And Joey Dorsey.
And this sure does feel like 2008 again, doesn't it?
"It was really neat," Calipari said by phone late Saturday night. "Everybody had a great time."
Calipari flew to Memphis to celebrate the graduation of four former players -- Antonio Anderson, Robert Dozier, Shawn Taggart and Chance McGrady -- by throwing a party at his home that also lured Douglas-Roberts, Rose and Dorsey (all of whom are now in the NBA) back to the city in which they played college basketball. Calipari did not attend Saturday's graduation ceremony because he had no interest in creating a scene, particularly a possible unpleasant one. But he said he still wanted to provide a presence for the players he recruited to Memphis, so Calipari came home, organized a cookout and invited all sorts of people with UofM ties -- from academic advisors to trainers to new Memphis coach Josh Pastner.
By all accounts, it was good for everybody involved.
Lots of old friends together for a day, even if they will go their own way again soon.
Calipari will head back to Kentucky.
Douglas-Roberts to New Jersey.
Rose to Chicago.
Dorsey to Houston ... although he plans to return next year.
"You should've seen Joey," Calipari said. "He watched those guys graduate, and he said, 'I want to do that.' So he said he's going to finish up (school) and walk next year."
If so, party at Cal's.
Posted on: May 6, 2009 3:42 pm
It was not a surprise that Eric Bledsoe signed with Kentucky on Wednesday.
What was a surprise was the point guard's rationale.
Asked for the decisive moment in his recruitment, Bledsoe said it was when John Calipari told home he could "come in right off the bat and start." Problem is, the Wildcats are widely considered to be the leader to also land John Wall, and there isn't a point guard on any team in America who would start in front of Wall, Bledsoe included. So if Bledsoe wants to start, he'd better get to rooting for Duke or Miami or Florida to sign Wall, because if Bledsoe finds himself on the same roster as Wall he's going to find himself starting the game on the bench.
Which is fine, if he's OK with it.
And this has nothing to do with the quality of Bledsoe.
The guy is a high-level prospect who could start immediately for most high-major programs, just not any high-major program that also has Wall. It breaks down like this: Bledsoe has the potential to be a great college point guard who someday develops into a pro; Wall is a pro who will spend a year in college. That's the difference between the two, and the only way Bledsoe won't learn this soon is if Wall decides to enroll somewhere other than Kentucky.
Short of that, Bledsoe won't "come in right off the bat and start."
Rather, he'll start on the bench, where he'll watch Wall become the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.
Which is fine, if he's OK with it.
But if he's not, then he's being delusional.
Posted on: May 6, 2009 12:40 am
Edited on: May 6, 2009 12:56 am
Eric Bledsoe plans to announce at a Wednesday press conference that he is signing with Kentucky instead of Memphis, sources involved in the recruitment told CBSSports.com on Tuesday.
Attempts to reach Bledsoe for confirmation were unsuccessful.
His press conference is scheduled for 11 a.m. ET.
Bledsoe is a five-star prospect from Alabama many believe is the best point guard in the Class of 2009 not named John Wall. There are some questions about whether Bledsoe will become eligible to compete as a freshman because of academics. But under the assumption that he is ultimately cleared, this development ensures John Calipari will open his first season at UK with at least one competent point guard to play beside DeMarcus Cousins, Darnell Dodson and perhaps Jodie Meeks and Patrick Patterson (both of whom could withdraw from the NBA Draft).
Of course, Bledsoe could also quickly turn into a back-up.
The reason is because Kentucky is considered the leader to land Wall -- the projected No. 1 pick of the 2010 NBA Draft whose presence would allow Calipari to operate with a one-and-done lottery pick at point guard for the third consecutive year. There is still no timetable on an announcement from Wall, and his recruitment could drag well into May. But if Calipari gets him -- and again, almost everybody believes he will -- then UK could have a best-case-scenario line-up that looks like this:
G: John Wall
G: Jodie Meeks
G: Darnell Dodson
F: Patrick Patterson
F: DeMarcus Cousins
Key reserves: Eric Bledsoe, Daniel Orton, DeAndre Liggins, Darius Miller, Jon Hood, Perry Stevenson
Simply put, that roster would be favored to win the SEC.
It would likely have Kentucky in the top five of most preseason polls.
Posted on: April 16, 2009 10:42 am
Edited on: April 16, 2009 12:12 pm
I'm not sure what took so long, but nearly two weeks passed between the day John Calipari signed to be Kentucky's coach and the time the first rap video celebrating his arrival was produced by a Kentucky fan.
Come on, Big Blue Nation.
Seriously, click this link and check it.
I think my favorite verse is as follows ...
Twice Coach of the Year/He's gotta be our future
Dribble-Drive offense and he's the best recruiter
Posted on: April 8, 2009 5:09 pm
Edited on: April 8, 2009 5:14 pm
First Xavier Henry asked for a release from his national letter of intent with Memphis.
Then DeMarcus Cousins decommitted from Memphis and committed to Kentucky
Now Nolan Dennis wants a release from Memphis, too.
"We just want people to know that we are not going to attend Memphis because we were going to attend Memphis because of (John) Calipari," Carol Dennis, the mother of Nolan Dennis, told Scout.com's Evan Daniels on Wednesday. “We are going to wait and see what we are going to do from here.
"I think Nolan wants to go to Kentucky; I’m not for sure," she added. "But I know he’s not going to go to Memphis."
Just last week, Memphis had a five-player class some considered the best in the county, but Calipari's departure has killed any chance of it materializing. Junior college standouts Will Coleman and Darnell Dodson are the only Memphis recruits who haven't publicly decommitted.
Meantime, Josh Pastner isn't sleeping.
The new Memphis coach has not slept in days.
"I haven't slept since I got the job (on Monday)," Pastner told me this afternoon. "I've been up 48 hours straight."
Pastner said he plans to be in bed by 10 on Wednesday night, get a solid six or seven hours of sleep and be ready to hit the road recruiting Thursday. He'll start in the Memphis area, where Class of 2010 star Joe Jackson (of White Station High) is a clear priority.
Posted on: April 8, 2009 7:49 am
Edited on: April 8, 2009 7:54 am
Any honorable reporter gives credit where credit is due.
Case in point, there are Facebook pages title We (heart) Megan Calipari and We love the Calipari sisters!!!
Both Erin and Megan are in college -- one at UMass, the other at Memphis.
Anyway, if you're reading, nice work, Megan.
Congrats on the scoop.
(And please shoot me an email if you hear anything about the Xavier hire.)
Posted on: April 8, 2009 1:16 am
Edited on: April 8, 2009 1:27 am
DeMarcus Cousins will follow John Calipari to Kentucky.
"I just committed tonight,” Cousins told Scout.com's Evan Daniels late Tuesday. “I’m going to UK.”
Cousins had spent the past month committed to Memphis, where Calipari coached until he left for Kentucky last week. At the time of Calipari's departure, Cousins did not officially decommit. But it was clear the McDonald's All-American probably wouldn't sign with Memphis regardless of the next coach, and that became public knowledge late Tuesday when Cousins -- who is rated as the sixth-best prospect in the Class of 2009 -- committed to Kentucky.
Now to the questions ...
1. What does this mean for Daniel Orton?
There has been speculation that Orton -- the 12th-best prospect in the Class of 2009 who signed with UK under Billy Gillispie -- would ask for a release if Cousins committed to Kentucky because Orton and Cousins are both big men, and if Patrick Patterson were to remain in school UK would have a crowded frontcourt. However, sources close to the Kentucky program told CBSSports.com that Calipari is working to keep Orton on board, and the ideal scenario would be Orton and Cousins enrolling together.
2. What about Xavier Henry and John Wall?
At least one media outlet reported that new Memphis coach Josh Pastner would hire Henry's father, Carl, in an attempt to keep the McDonald's All-American committed to Memphis, but industry sources told CBSSports.com that's simply not going to happen. Thus, Henry will re-open his recruitment and probably choose between Kansas and Kentucky. As for Wall, the nation's top point guard prospect remains uncommitted. But Kentucky is very much involved, meaning there is a chance that Cousins, Orton, Henry and Wall could play together for Calipari at Kentucky, although it's unclar whether that's a likely scenario or merely a possibility.
Wall is the No. 2 prospect in the Class of 2009.
Henry is the No. 4 prospect in the Class of 2009.