Noel does benefit though as this is going to be an extremely weak draft class. His long term impact could outweigh the instant impact of the rest of the class. My biggest concern would be future injuries, especially with Greg Oden fresh in everyone's mind.
De'Sean Butler was a senior and you can say that his development in the college ranks was the reason why he was draftable in the first place. His knee injury probably was the reason he wasn't able to make a pro team, but without the previous 3 seasons he probably doesn't sniff the NBA. I think you can make the argument that it was more the timing so close to the draft and camp that was the primary reason he couldn't make an NBA team. I didn't follow him once he left WVU and am curious as to why he never tried the European route.
I am a proponent of everyone getting as much education as possible. You can probably point to the a player or two that were hurt because they went to college but I would imagine you can point to many many more who were hurt because they decided to jump from HS to the NBA.
To further that I read a story on Yahoo about Vince Young being broke. The gist was he has no money and last year secured a high interest loan to throw himself a $350K birthday party. Granted some people are just awful with money and will spend it if they have it, but furthering your education is never a bad thing. If you could tailor a course in college to athletes, how to succeed after sport, how to handle your money, etc. that would to a long way to helping each athlete as they end their playing days and enter the "real world." For every massively successful player both during their playing days and after there are countless players who are broke and down on their luck shortly after their playing days end.
FWIW I would support a baseball type system. Enter the league after HS or after 3 years in college. The one exception is MLB has a minor league system in which HS players are in an environment where they are surrounded by other same aged players. Its a little different being an 18 year old kid with a few hundred dollars a week to spend in Bakersfiled than it is being an 18 year old kid with millions to spend in NYC.
I tend to agree with the baseball style solution. Perhaps lower the threshold to two years. But for this to be a true equivalent, you'd have to see more players opting for the D-League as a workable path to the NBA.
This isn't Gillispie's second year at Kentucky where the overall direction of the program was trending south. This is a year where a defending champion has lost most if not all of their nucleus and is in the process of building it back. My expectations were low for this year, but I still think this team, even without Nerlens, has a run left in them. It's just going to take them buying in and playing as a team and not as individuals.
Anyway, my point is that there was no guarantee that Noel would have gone first even if the unfortunate injury hadn't occurred - not that I agree with it with my belief that you always draft the player with the highest ceiling if your team is that bad - so the unfortunate injury may well hurt his draft stock, though not catastrophically.
Am I the only one who thinks that Kentucky will still be an NCAA team, capable of going fairly deep this season?
Wiltjer will have to play/ rebound/ defend more inside, but he's a mismatch problem for other power forwards-- or centers, if Cal decides to go small.
Cauley-Stein can play garbage man, has much better hands, and is more advanced offensively. He's not the defensive player Noel was, but who is?
Poythress will likely have the offense run through him, a la Mashburn as a freshman. He's also a match-up problem, for either power or small forwards.
The guards are a crapshoot still, but Kentucky would have lost without good guard play anyway. (I think starting the combination of Polson and Goodwin OR the combo of Harrow and Mays makes sense, as you can then "depend" on one smart guard at all times, but the talent disparity makes that hard to do.)
This hurts the bench, but Jon Hood may now get some minutes. He's at least a veteran-- perhaps he has something that can spark the team?
I realize the injuy will make it harder for UK, but, in the state college basketball is in this season, you really don't need much to make a run.
Our guard play is so poor, still at this point, I just don't see it, Scrap.
Wish I felt differently.
They may still limp in, but the committee will use Noel's absence against UK if they're on the bubble at all.
I know middle schoolers who could physically dominate Ryan Harrow. He'll be a good backup for Andrew Harrison next season I suppose.
I'll be glad when Archie Goodwin leaves UK. First UK player of the Cal era I've felt that way about. One of my least favorite UK players ever.
And don't even get me started on Poythress.
So, yes, I agree with Scrap here. But in any case, Wiltjer should continue to come of the bench. He's the sixth man of the year in NCAA B-Ball, for sure.
I see two options with this team:
1. The players rally around Nerlens, Cal uses his injury as motivation for his players, and they start to play. For that to happen, Poythress stops being a teddy bear and starts to become the Mashburn player you described, and Archie stops being, well, Archie.
2. They can fold, winning only against the weakest of the SEC teams. They lose to Tennessee this weekend, Georgia and Arkansas on the road, and get embarrassed again by Florida at Rupp and against Missouri for College Gameday.
I'm not giving up on this team, but Saturday at Thomson-Boling Arena will tell how the rest of the season is going to be.
It's nothing anyone wanted to see, but it certainly will be interesting to observe how the team responds to this crisis. The unfortunate reality is that they weren't playing that well before and I don't see a loss of the heart and soul of this team doing much to make things any better.
Probably see Goodwin go even more insane on the court trying to be "The Man." :facepalm:
Missouri has been ranked all year. They'll make it, no doubt.
Same with Ole Miss.
At least one of Kentucky and Alabama will make it, most likely both. Even Tennessee and Arkansas have outside shots of making the NCAAs.
I suspect Kentucky will make the big tourney assuming they win out against lower echelon teams and win at least one more big game against an upper division team.
Now, they might be a 12 seed, but they'll make it.
I would love a play-in game. We need to do everything we can to keep our win total over KU as high as possible. Hopefully we can stretch the lead out again next season.
That's why I scoff at people who talk about declining an NIT bid. Those Ws count on your all-time total.