Friday, March 8, 2013

Kentucky highly touted freshmen may be the most talented team EVER TO MISS THE BIG DANCE link

John Calipari is something of a recruiting genius. Since arriving at Kentucky he has managed to bring in the #1 class in the country 4 out of 5 years. The problem that Kentucky has continually had to overcome is the fact that many of those high profile top recruits, only are coming to college because of the NBA rule against entering the draft directly out of high school. This leaves the Wildcats in the position of having to re-tool their entire starting lineup and replace almost every player in the rotation, YEARLY. It's a situation that is both incredibly fortunate and incredibly frustrating for Coach Calipari at various times throughout the year.

While he continues to cherry pick EXTREMELY heralded and talented recruits that would most likely be starting no matter what team they played on, they are still freshmen. Depending on such young players at every position is risky no matter how talented they are and they are still developing in terms of strength and mental ability in terms of decision making. Many of them have never experienced adversity on the basketball court, these are the players that could roll out of bed and drop 50 back in high school but playing together as a team and winning isn't quite that easy. Just because you have the most talented roster does not guarantee the ultimate success of an NCAA Championship. Just as the Yankees found out they could not buy a championship, throwing hundreds of millions at the top free agents year after year got them many wins, just not when it counted most. Calipari is a savant when it comes to recruiting. He's done it everywhere he's been and while rivals cry foul, coach Cal gets many of the so called "one and done" phenoms just passing through college.

When Nerlens Noel went down with his season ending injury the Wildcats fell apart even though they still had 3 other freshmen rated a 95, 97 and 97 out of 100 by ESPN recruiting. The backup center when Noel was playing was Willie Cauley, himself a 4 star recruit. I don't understand why Kentucky, Calipari or these players for that matter are getting a pass just because they lost Noel. 95% of college teams could only dream of having two four/five star recruits, let alone 4 just in last years incoming class. While Nerlens Noel was no doubt a huge piece of what Kentucky was doing and had the ability to change the game with his incredible shot blocking ability(2nd in the country at the time of his injury I believe) and rebounding. With a team full of Mcdonalds All-Americans and even guys that don't need to bother to wear a jersey beneath that Wildcat warm up that could not only play at numerous D-1 schools but start they should be able to fight their way into this watered down/expanded field that is the NCAA tournament.