The Wildcats do their spring cleaning, as all five of their starters declare for the NBA Draft. Whats next for Kentucky, and who else is making some big changes at this point in the off-season?
It has only
been a few weeks since the Kentucky Wildcats completed its march through the brackets on its
way to a national title, but it is never too early to start scouring the news
wire looking for clues as to which teams will make all the right moves this
offseason to emerge as one of the top contenders to win next year’s NCAA
Kentucky Cleans House
At the top
of the page for this week’s news and note are the champions themselves. Last
night on ESPN, Kentucky’s entire starting five from this season title team all
declared they would opt for this year’s NBA draft as opposed to returning to
the Wildcats for one more season. There were no surprises here as Coach John Calipari sat calmly among the group.
Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are projected to go one and two in the
draft and freshman Marquis Teague along with sophomores Terrence Jones and
Doron Lamb are all projected to be top-25 picks. When you add in the fact that
senior Darius Miller is another pro prospect, it becomes easy to see why and
how this team rolled through the 2011/2012 season with just two blemishes on
question is what kind of chance does Kentucky have to repeat as national
champions next season? The Wildcats still have freshman Kyle Wiltjer on the
roster and have already received commitments from Willie Cauley, Alex
Poythress, and Archie Goodwin. Another top prospect, Nerlens Noel just verbally
committed to Kentucky last week so it is safe to say that Calipari will have a
brand new set of high-profile players to make another legitimate run at a
title. The actual NCAA basketball odds to win next season’s championship have yet to be
released, but you can bet that Kentucky will once again be at or near the top
of the list.
Mr. Brown goes back to College
It has been
reported that longtime college basketball and NBA coach Larry Brown is close to
accepting the head coaching job with SMU. While nothing has been finalized, the
well-travelled Brown announced yesterday that he had agreed to take over the
top spot with the Mustangs even though he has not signed a contract or has even
been offered the job according to school officials.
still appears that this deal will go through, one of the potential hang-ups
could be the fact that the 71-year old Brown would like to name Illinois State
coach Tim Jankovich has his coach-in-waiting for when he decides to step down.
Brown is also looking to add former Illinois assistant Jerrance Howard and
former Kentucky assistant Rod Strickland as additional members of his staff.
remains the only head coach to win both an NBA Championship and a NCAA title
after leading Kansas to a national championship in 1988. That just happens to
be the last year that SMU won a NCAA Tournament game. The Mustangs will play
one final season in Conference-USA before joining the Big East in 2013.
Making a Name for Yourself
Also in NCAA Baskeball coaching news, Richard Pitino has decided to leave his father’s coaching staff
at Louisville to try and make a name for himself as the new head coach at
Florida International. It is reported that the younger Pitino has agreed to a
five-year deal with FIU worth an estimated $250,000 a year, which is actually
less than he was making at his previous job.
It will be a
tall task for Pitino to turn things around at FIU considering the team was 8-21
this past season and its last winning season was in 1999-2000 when the Golden
Panthers went 16-14.