Kentucky’s season came to an end Saturday night and likely so did the college careers of fab freshman John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins.
John Calipari made a habit of recruiting ‘one and done’ players at Memphis signing two top five draft picks in a row in Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans and continued this upon his arrival to Lexington.
The signing of Wall, Cousins, and the rest of the highly rated freshman class is what propelled the Wildcats from a NIT team a year ago to a number one seed this season.
But after a 29-2 regular season and a SEC Championship, no banner will be hung in Rupp Arena.
With the likely departure of at least two and maybe up to four NBA lottery picks, Calipari will have to again rebuild Kentucky for another run at a national title next year.
That could start with the nation's top prospect , Brandon Knight, signing with the Wildcats to add to four star Stacey Poole and five star Enes Kanter.
But can we expect better results next year using the same blueprint?
The team that beat Kentucky on Saturday, West Virginia, has zero McDonald's All-Americans.
Bob Huggins' club is led by Senior Da’Sean Butler and in the Carrier Dome Junior Joe Mazzula carried the Mountaineers to a Final Four berth. Another Final Four ticket was punched by Butler who does not have any burger boys, but rather a team made up by the sum of its parts.
Some may question where Wall and Cousins’ focus was with the looming NBA Draft; I won’t. They were the two best players on the court, but they were beat by a better team.
Calipari’s first season in Lexington was a success and a failure at the same time. He led Kentucky back to the top of the SEC and back into the nation’s elite. But he didn’t win the national championship or even get Kentucky to the Final Four.
Any school not named North Carolina, Duke, UCLA, or Kansas would love to have that kind of season, but the expectations at Kentucky are different.
Those expectations are why top players come to Kentucky and why Calipari will continue to use them in hopes of attaining that allusive national championship.
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