Blog Entry

Making the Leap: UK trio declares; no agents yet

Posted on: April 20, 2011 10:55 am
Edited on: April 20, 2011 10:57 am
 

Posted by Matt Norlander

The question was hanging out there: Would Kentucky do what North Carolina did? Would the core of the team return and make UNC vs. UK the dominant storyline heading into next season?

Turns out: no. At least, it doesn't seem that way. Freshmen Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones, along with junior DeAndre Liggins, formally released today, through the university, they'll be putting their names in the 2011 NBA draft pool.

As of now, none in the trio has signed with an agent, nor publicly stated they'll do that in the near future. That's what Kentucky fans will hold on to in the short-term. The writing on the wall for this got etched yesterday, when freshmen Doron Lamb chose to announce he'd be staying with UK for his sophomore season. Conventional thinking was, If Lamb's making this decision now, and he's making it alone, then his fellow frosh must be forgoing next fall in Lexington. Indeed that's the case.

“I support the decision these three have made to take advantage of the process of putting their names in the draft,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said via the linked press release. “They were a joy to coach this year and I would love the opportunity to continue to coach them again next season.  I will always support my players in weighing their options and doing what is personally best for them and their families.”

NBA Draft
Either way, Kentucky's still going to be very strong next season. The 2011 class is considered by some to be the strongest Calipari's recruited. If/had the three names here been a part of the 2011-12 team, then Kentucky would've had hype that zipped past the highest atmospheres on earth.

All the players quoted in the release carry a tone of eager and guarded optimism. They're happy to be moving closer to realizing their NBA dreams, but all want to see where they stack up in this year's draft, and what NBA scouts think of their greatest strengths and weaknesses. In my opinion, Knight's got no reason to come back. Marquis Teague is the incoming Freshman Guard du Jour for Calipari, and he'll be much better suited with the ball in Cal's offense than Knight.

Knight grew into a force of a point guard, scoring 17.3 points per game alongside his 4.2 assists. According to the school, his 657 points this season was a Kentucky freshman record. He reached that milestone thanks to a Kentucky-freshman-best 87 3-pointers. Liggins averaged 8.6 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. He was a defty 3-point man, hitting at a 39.1-percent clip. Jones, the SEC freshman of the year, put up 15.7 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game.

Knight's good enough and his stock is high enough: he can and should stay in the draft. The other two, we'll see. Terrence Jones can't go right, and everyone, including Steve Wonder, knows it. There are strengths, but also real drawbacks. Liggins is a fantastic defender; he's actually more suited to leave right now than Jones, I think. A lot of his skills are refined, and his length will be what makes scouts endear to him.

The deadline to withdraw one's name from the draft is May 8.

Photo: AP
Category: NCAAB
Comments

Since: Feb 2, 2009
Posted on: April 21, 2011 11:36 am
 

Making the Leap: UK trio declares; no agents yet

At some point, UK's basketball graduation rate is going to come back and bite the Wildcats.  In 2010, their grad rate was 31%.  Losing three more player won't help that.  When scholarships start disappearing, due to the departure of superfrosh, Kentucky's basketball program may start to wither.  Is this something that Calipari--or any coach--can remedy?  There's a problem with recruiting.  You want to get the bast recruits you can find, and KY is on the list of most top recruits.  It's the same with Duke (92% but dropping a little, I think), UNC,  (keeping three this time around but probably losing some next year), and other top programs.  You want the best, but you can't hold on to them for more than a year or two.  So perhaps the key for all programs is to chill out and look for really good walk-ons.  (LOL)  When basketball scholarships dwindle to six or seven, you'll have to play walk-ons for significant minutes anyway.  On the other hand, the NCAA probably needs to review its policy on graduation rates, in light of the reality of basketball today.  Grad rates made sense when college players couldn't go to the NBA early unless they had a real financial reason for doing so.   Allowing HS players to go straight to the NBA makes sense now; restricting them doesn't--if we're talking about graduation rates.  The student athlete in college basketball, as far as the top players are concerned, is very often the reluctant student athlete. Being a student is now just another hoop to jump through to get to the NBA, and the sham of making these guys attend classes needs to be seen for what it is.  I'm not saying they should be allowed to play and not go to class.  I'm saying they should be allowed to go to the NBA directly out of high school.  



Since: Dec 19, 2007
Posted on: April 21, 2011 10:46 am
 

Making the Leap: UK trio declares; no agents yet

For all the haters, I think i can safely speak for nearly all UK fans when I say Coach Cal has brought life back to the blueegrass basketball scene, and we thouroughly enjoy watching his players and teams play! I will also go out on a limb here and say if most of you are honest, you would admit it is all about the basketball. you could not care less about academic performance. I dont know about personally, but people that complain about one and dones and staying four years sound selfish and silly. Who would honestly pass up the opportunity to earn what it takes most normal workers 25 years or more to earn? Come on, let's be honest! Getting an education is the way to maximize your earning potential in the first place, so that says it's all about the money! Noone is happy with their degree if it does not earn them money! "I'm not earning any money off of this thing, but it sure feels good to be a little smarter!" Come on people! No! These guys can always go back to school during or after their playing days, except this time around, they can live comfortably while earning their degree.



Since: Dec 19, 2007
Posted on: April 21, 2011 10:33 am
 

Making the Leap: UK trio declares; no agents yet

I really do not understand the mindset on most of these posts. This is about three young men that have taken the necessary steps to realize their dreams, and some of you immature haters would rather spew your bitter and envious venom than congratulate or be happy for them. For all those that insist on making the same old tired, hypocritical, and moronic comments about Cal being a cheater, please produce documentation, links, something to prove your slanderess assumptive, allegations. The man can not control every move those kids make and watch everything. If you have kids yourself, you know what i mean. Give it a rest already. Our current national champion will start next season on probation, with coach Calhoun suspended for the first three games. Why is noone up in arms about that? Coach K had players taking money a few years back, where is the witchhunt for coach K? Every major college program has shady dealings behind the scene--yes, even your favorite school! Even the mid-majors and such have issues. How about san diego st. players this year? All of this is well documented, but nothing directly linking Cal. Let these young men enjoy one of the finest moments and opportunities of their young lives. Please make sure your closets are clean before you go trying to clean someone else's!



Since: Dec 19, 2007
Posted on: April 21, 2011 10:21 am
 

Making the Leap: UK trio declares; no agents yet

I can certainly see why you would be a bitter, envious, fool. I noticed your favorite teams, you must suffer a lot, so attack success.  please feel free to print any documents you may have to prove Cal is a cheater. i'll wait.... nothing? hmmm....



Since: Feb 29, 2008
Posted on: April 21, 2011 9:26 am
 

Making the Leap: UK trio declares; no agents yet

Getting old with these kids playing a year and leaving for money.



Since: Feb 29, 2008
Posted on: April 21, 2011 9:26 am
 

Making the Leap: UK trio declares; no agents yet

Getting old with these kids playing a year and leaving for money.



Since: Mar 15, 2011
Posted on: April 21, 2011 9:14 am
 

Long Gone

These 3 players are gone--mark it down.  Why go to college, with tests and boring classes when you can millions playing basketball a few months, driving a bentley, hitting the top clubs every night with a huge entourage and some wild chicks all over you?  It's very simple--take the money.



Since: Sep 14, 2007
Posted on: April 21, 2011 1:07 am
 

Making the Leap: UK trio declares; no agents yet

To everyone saying that they should be made to stay 2 or more years and so on that is just selfishness from fans in all honesty.  You say well they are getting a free education, this is true but if you can go PRO and make MILLIONS do you really need to advance your education too much more?  Have you tried making it on a college budget?  Life is not grand in that fashion.  And like Chris Webber in his day, why allow the schools to make all this money off these athletes and the athletes have to suffer thru this? 

But with all this being said I do think it should be come out of high school or go 2 years of school your choice so that way no one is really getting cheated.  But Cal plays these cards in the right fashion because he is going to be able to recruit better if he has the motto of do whats best for you not for me!



Since: Jan 12, 2010
Posted on: April 20, 2011 10:39 pm
 

Making the Leap: UK trio declares; no agents yet

Now the path is clear for Crapolina.....

....Could be their 3rd title in 8 years...Yeah, real crappy. Jealous much??



Since: Apr 9, 2010
Posted on: April 20, 2011 9:38 pm
 

Making the Leap: UK trio declares; no agents yet

This is interesting to me that not one of them has hired an agent. I say at least one of these three come back this year. I think DeAndre Liggins should stay in the draft. With Mike Gilchrist coming in, Liggins won't be playing much and his time is almost non-existant if Terrence Jones comes back. He is a great defender and can shoot the ball so I think he will find his niche on somebody's bench. I think Terrence will stay in the draft because he is NBA ready and UK will have plenty of forwards coming in. In my opinion, I think Brandon Knight comes back. He is one year short of his degree and I think he can build on his good freshman season.


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