And so it begins at Kentucky as four freshmen have declared for the NBA draft. As expected, John Wall and Demarcus Cousins, who were expected to be one-and-done guys anyway, made themselves eligible for the draft.
From the not-so-much category are two other Kentucky freshmen, guard Eric Bledsoe and center Daniel Orton. Bledsoe is a quick guard who averaged 11 points while making a mark as a three-point shooter, but declaring for the draft? Really? Orton, meanwhile, was a decent defender but averaged just over 3 points and 3 rebounds a game, or roughly the same as Travis Wear. According to the AP article, “Orton said going against Patterson and Cousins in practice each day helped him believe he could make it in the NBA.” Yeah, right.
But there’s one developing wrinkle – apparently junior forward Patrick Patterson hasn’t officially decided to leave yet, despite UK saying he’s outta here. Yahoo’s The Dagger blog reports that the press release announcing Patterson’s departure came as a shock to Patterson’s mother, who maintains that he has not made a decision yet, but interestingly, UK maintains he has.
With the departure of three seniors, that makes at least seven and possibly eight players leaving the UK program. John Calipari had been telling players at the McDonald’s game that he had 8 players leaving, so I guess he was trying to do some one-stop shopping, since there were an unbelievable seven unsigned players at the game. Kentucky only has one signee and one other commitment at this point, but I’m sure Cal has World Wide Wes on the job. I wonder if this revolving door and soap opera is what Big Blue Nation had in mind when they sold their soul to get this guy. Otherwise, the winningest program in college hoops could find out how life was this season for the second-winningest program in college hoops, but without the national championships in the past five years.
In other college hoops news:
* Kansas’ Xavier Henry became the Jayhawks’ first-ever one-and-done player and will join junior Cole Aldrich in this year’s draft. Losing those two and senior Sherron Collins will test Bill Self’s ability to reload in Lawrence.
* Apparently Wake Forest’s recruits found out that Dino Gaudio had been sacked through Ron Wellman’s press conference. I commented elsewhere that Wellman is an extraordinary AD and that there must be reason to can Gaudio just one season after extending him. The fact that the recruits did not know this was coming means either that it came down quickly or that Wake’s internal security is tighter than the CIA.
* Bob Huggins visited the families of killed and missing miners in that horrific mine disaster in West Virginia on Wednesday, bringing homemade pasta and West Virginia University t-shirts. Huggy’s kids may not have a history of going to class and graduating, but he is a West Virginia guy and this was a classy move on his part.