Monday, August 23, 2010

Professional Wildcats

UCLA was the original school who sent players en masse to the pros, led by the incomparable Bill Walton and Lew Alcindor. Then you had North Carolina with Michael Jordan, James Worthy, Sam Perkins, Brad Daugherty, Kenny Smith, and other elite talent throughout the '80s. Then Kentucky was an NBA floodgate institution, sending nine players from their 1996 championship roster alone to the next level. UNC reared its ugly head again, sending four players apiece from each of their '05 and '09 championship squads, led by Marvin Williams and Tyler Hansbrough, respectively. Well guess who's already pre-ordained to dominate year in and year out in the 20-teens? It's UK again. And if you didn't realize that after this year's draft ... I don't know what to tell ya.

Kentucky Colonels (our hypothetical 2010-2011 NBA roster)

Center: Nazr Mohammed/Jamaal Magloire/Daniel Orton
Power Forward: Demarcus Cousins/Chuck Hayes/Patrick Patterson
Small Forward: Tayshaun Prince/Kelenna Azubuike
Shooting Guard: Jodie Meeks/Keith Bogans/Joe Crawford
Point Guard: Rajon Rondo/John Wall/Eric Bledsoe

Head Coach: Pat Riley
Lead Assistant Coach: Dwayne Casey
Assistant Coach: Walter McCarty
General Manager: Rex Chapman

That's a pretty sick collection. And it only looks to get ridiculously sicker in the coming Calipari years. As Nazr and Jamaal (the only remaining players from the '90s championship squads) head to their career twilights, future potential pro Cats Enes Kanter, Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones, Darius Miller, DeAndre Liggins, Doron Lamb, Mike Gilchrist, Marquis Teague, and Anthony Davis will be making their grand entrances into the league. Five years from now, Rondo and Wall might be two of the best three point guards in the entire league. Cousins and Kanter might be vouching for 2nd place for the rebounding title behind Dwight Howard. Meeks might be the best three point marksman in the league. All these scenarios are legitimately possible.

It's gonna be an unprecedented run. Regardless of if every recruit is a one-and-done jumper, Kentucky will be the absolute go-to school for every uber-talented high school player out. It'll be to the point where the encyclopedia's gonna have to include that as a fact. The combination of Wall with Calipari made an instant transformation of our school where we went from being the historic program with the greatest tradition in college basketball to the cool program affiliated with Drake, LeBron James, and Ashley Judd. And that even affected everything to the point that, in edited retrospect, world champion Rajon Rondo is a beloved child and major representative of the University. Everything's almost too good right now. The Elite Eight loss was tough and having to lose our top five players to the draft hurt, but we reloaded without a skipped heartbeat and our 2011 class is already preset. As long as Calipari can resist a second bout of NBA temptation, UK is guaranteed to be the program of the next decade. And with LeBron now secured in Miami for the next seven years with Pat Riley looming over the organization, I say it's a safe bet that Coach Cal stays put. Within the next two year, we'll have finally unveiled banner number eight and it can only feasibly get even greater after that. I'll getcha back in five years if UK's reign hasn't already ended the world by bringing on the Apocalypse.

... and do the John Wall.

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