Thursday, April 8, 2010



In what has to be the height of absurdity in the “one-and-done” era of college basketball, four – count ‘em – FOUR Kentucky Wildcat freshman have declared for the NBA draft. A fifth, junior Patrick Patterson, is also headed to pro ball.

Led by super frosh All-Americans John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins, freshman guard Eric Bledsoe, freshman center Daniel Orton and Patterson (#54) are all leaving leaving Lexington.

Wall and Cousins are expected to be among the first few players selected after leading the Wildcats to a remarkable turnaround season in coach John Calipari’s first year on the job.

Kentucky went 35-3 this season—Calipari’s first as Wildcats coach— winning the Southeastern Conference regular season and conference tournament titles before falling to West Virginia in the regional finals of the NCAA Tournament.

Players have until May 8 to change their minds, as long as they don’t hire agents. It’s highly unlikely any of the five players will come back for another season with the Wildcats.
Certainly not Wall, who was the SEC player of the year after averaging 16.6 points, 6.5 assists and 4.3 rebounds while becoming a highlight-reel staple for his breathtaking play in the open floor. His 241 assists set a Kentucky single-season record.

Wall is a good bet to be the first pick in the draft.

Patterson, a junior, could have gone to the NBA last spring but opted to stick around to expand his game in Calipari’s “dribble-drive” offense while also finishing his degree. He averaged a career-low 14.3 points but became a better shooter and fit in with his less-experienced teammates.

If they all leave, it leaves Calipari with a rebuilding project on par with the one he inherited a year ago. The departure of Wall and company combined with the graduation of Ramon Harris, Perry Stevenson and Mark Krebs leaves Kentucky with just five players returning next year, only three of whom played significant minutes this season.

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