Has Kentucky Basketball Become an AAU All-Star Program?

Gary BrownCorrespondent IIJune 25, 2010

SYRACUSE, NY - MARCH 25:  Eric Bledsone #24 of the Kentucky Wildcats looks to pass the ball against the Cornell Big Red during the east regional semifinal of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Carrier Dome on March 25, 2010 in Syracuse, New York.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Jon Hood probably woke up today and wondered where all of his buddies went. In case you missed it, every player signed by Kentucky coach John Calipari in his first recruiting class for Kentucky will be a “one-and-done” player except for Hood.

The Kentucky faithful will be proud today as they heard five Wildcat names called last night in the first round of the NBA Draft, something no other school has experienced. 

These players are truly amazing, and expectations were met when Washington made John Wall the overall top pick.  While Wall went first, the other Kentucky stars who made the jump were DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe, Daniel Orton, and the old man of the group, Patrick Patterson. They all posses the raw athletic talent the NBA craves, and it is not unreasonable to believe all will excel at the pro level.

Here is the question though: Were Wall, Cousin, Orton, and Bledsoe every really Kentucky Wildcats? They seemed more like a summer AAU All-Star team than a group of players who were committed to the crazed Kentucky fans.

Do their names really belong with those like Kyle Macy? Macy was a Purdue transfer who played three seasons for the Wildcats and was nearly automatic from the charity stripe.

What about Jamal Mashburn, who averaged over 18 points a game during his three years in Lexington? Are these three guys like him?

Think about it, even Rex Chapman spent two years on campus before bolting for the NBA. At least he was on campus long enough to figure out where other buildings not named Rupp Arena were.

Sam Bowie was the second pick of the draft in 1984. You've heard of Michael Jordan, the guy taken after him. Bowie managed to play 96 games in a Wildcat uniform. Cousins and his fellow Kentucky draftees did not make it to 39.

Kentucky has three of Rivals' top 20 in the fold to step into the place of these guys next season. The problem is that these guys are really no different than the three who are leaving after just one year. They are not looking to lead the Wildcats to prolonged success; they are just using the college to mark time until they can throw their names into the NBA Draft ring.

Calipari seems to be fond of the one-and-done model. It is a good way to win tons of games. It is not likely to be the way to win a national title.

The real question that needs to be answered though: Is it even Kentucky basketball anymore?

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