by Kent Sterling
The number one incoming freshman in the country is going to announce his decision today, and there are four finalists from which he’s going to choose – North Carolina, Florida State, Kansas, and Kentucky.
I would love for the very best players in the country to make their decisions based upon something more than ease of academics, and reputation as a factory for producing pros.
Andrew Wiggins will be a lottery pick if he goes to North Dakota State, so why not choose the school that offers an academic challenge, fun local rivalries, and great school history.
I hate to see kids make a bad choice, so I want to offer Andrew my two cents.
You’re a hell of a basketball player, and I wish you the best wherever you go to college for eight months before jumping to the NBA – even Kentucky, should you choose to play there. But don’t go to Lexington.
Kentucky is a wretched place with a past filled with deceit, cheating, and unabashed racism. It represents the out-of-whack set of priorities that are making a mockery of the student-athlete experience. Filled with knuckleheads who care more about Wildcat basketball than their families, Kentucky is a not the kind of place any kid should choose when so many other great options exist. They pay coach John Calipari over $5.2 million per year to be a camp counselor for NBA bound prima donnas, and that amount of cash warps a man’s perspective.
You appear to be a reasonable kid with a good head on your shoulders. Kentucky is a holding cell for those who have no goal in college beyond preparing to play in the NBA.
Why choose to be a part of those programs when you can go to North Carolina – a great university in the second best basketball conference in America? Chapel Hill is a wonderful and beautiful town, and Roy Williams is a great mentor for college students. Speaking of college students, you will be one at UNC. You will go to classes, and actually learn things. If you are going to go to college, why not learn?
And while Kentucky pulled the plug from their rivalry with Indiana, UNC will play their next door neighbors at Duke at least twice a year. There is no atmosphere more fun for a player.
Franklin Street is an eclectic place, and the weather in Chapel Hill is just a little warmer that in Lexington or Lawrence.
Wherever you go, you will be able to jump to the NBA whenever you like, so why not go to the place where you can have the best experience while you wait. Be a college student. Learn something about yourself. Enjoy basketball. Play for a great coach.
You have narrowed your list to four programs representing three quality universities. It will be hard to make a mistake given your choices. You have a 75% chance of getting it right, if you include Florida State, and why wouldn’t we?
In delaying your choice, you have shown a desire to take the road less traveled. Don’t stop now. By choosing UNC, you will show that playing college basketball should have something to do with education, even if you will go pro long before earning a degree.
Wherever you go, good luck. I’ll enjoy watching you play.
That is your most ridiculous article (letter) yet. You have reached an all-time low. Don’t you ever get tired of the same ol’ whining? You are surely one pathetic loser.
I can only respond with this…
If only more media-types would voice the concerns you have about UK, perhaps some things would change. The course of college basketball has been changing for the worse and Kentucky has been out front in that negative change. I hope that new regulations regarding one-and-done and recruiting will occur to stop this demise. Until then, it will have to be the loud voices in the media to sway questionable methods. So far, those voices have been mostly absent. Thanks, Kent.
I wish I could say it’s my pleasure. I wish I could view the Kentucky Basketball program with distant pride.
Yeah, I bet you do.
Are you so ignorant and narcissistic as to think Wiggins gives a Tinker’s Damn what you think?
Sometimes a voice from the wilderness makes a difference. Nice use of “Tinker’s Damn”. Haven’t heard it used by anyone born after 1930. I’m a big fan of unearthing arcane phrases. Great Caesar’s Ghost! Score one for you.
Very big horse laugh on your, “go to UNC and get an education” line Kent. Even you can’t be that uninformed.
Wiggins already has a degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, by the way.
He completed the requisite work in African American Studies during his one campus visit. His GPA was higher than Julius Peppers, whose transcript was released on line last year, revealing that without grades from classes he never attended, nor completed any work for, he’d have been ineligible for both football AND basketball.
That’s why you’re always welcome here. Very funny and smart. It was a big stretch, but I don’t like the Dean Dome, and couldn’t think of any reason to go to UNC other than Franklin Street, the weather, and local rivalries.
Yikes, the Indiana media begging a recruit not to go to another school? My how the mighty have fallen. I dare to say that RMK would be completely embarrassed by this work.
What has happened to hoosier nation? They used to have pride. They used to have swagger. They didnt have time to tear others down because they were too busy building what was theirs. Now they sit in dark corners and scoff about other programs’ successes, like a bunch parasites. If they would only realize that it’s this mentality that has their team cutting down nets after losses.
This is America. Quit trying to undermine the success of others and go build something for youself. And if Crean can’t do it, find someone who can.
No one scoffs or considers Kentucky’s basketball program a success. It’s a one-and-done way station for kids who would prefer to be in the NBA if not for a foolish and self-serving NBA rule.
When the Wildcats start bringing in kids who list “earning a degree” as a goal, I’ll begin to respect them.
Geography alone makes me a member of the Indiana media. I’ve written as many positive posts about Kentucky and those who play there as I have for Indiana.
Do you type these things with a straight face? You just spent an entire article hurling snarky insults Kentucky from the depths of the internet, for no other reason than to tear them down. Your work demonstrates that you are a scoffer, and an angry one at that.
You also seem to have an antiquated view of big time college athletics. Do you really think the vast majority of elite prospects have any concern whatsoever about getting a degree? Were Perea’s A-Hope advisors were ultimately impressed by IU’s history department? Did Noah Vonleh list “earning a degree” as a goal? Get a real position pal.
It’s interesting that you associate “unabashed racism” with Kentucky. Maybe you should take a look at your own writing. You characterize Kentucky’s recruits, nearly all of which are african american, as prima donnas with no academic goals, and reference Kentucky as their “holding cell.” Nice undertones there, chief. I’m interested if you’d write the same thing about Zeller? By the way, what did he earn his degree in again?
So Kentucky is the kingpin of the asserting the “neo-plantation mentality” that former NCAA chief Walter Byars described in college athletics, and somehow my writing describing UK’s pathetic history regarding race is racist?
Justifying Kentucky’s act by pointing at others is a tired and flawed tactic.
Hey, Sport – Try telling me why anyone should respect John Calipari or the ratship he’s built in Lexington, instead of claiming everyone else inhabits the same moral low ground.
That’s funny, I thought throwing stones from glass houses was the most tired and flawed tactic of all. Explain to me what “act” has Kentucky perpetrated that UNC, Kansas, and IU haven’t? Do you have any evidence that Kentucky players go to class less or learn less than UNC, Kansas, or IU? Or should we just take you at your word?
If you would use your brain, you would realize that Calipari is one of the only coaches being honest with these kids about the “neo-plantation mentality.” That’s why he has gone on record in support of paying college athletes, and that’s why he encourages them to become professional basketball players when it is in their best interest, instead of staying in school so you can enjoy your coke while they entertain you without compensation. Maybe that’s a reason why someone should respect John Calipari? He fights for the exploited, instead of ignoring the exploitation. There’s an idea.
Here is what would earn my respect – if Calipari funded a plan to pay players out of his own pocket. Let him dip into his own $5.2M plus bonuses to pay the kids who do the heavy lifting. That’s a pipe dream, but words are cheap.
All of my evidence about Kentucky basketball players is anecdotal from athletes of other sports, and none of it on the record. It flavors my beliefs, but will never be specifically shared.
My house is wood and brick, and claim no other school as my own. When Indiana hired Kelvin Sampson, no one made more noise about it than I did, and I’ve been hammered by as many IU fans for what I’ve written about Tom Crean as I have by Kentucky fans for what I’ve written about UK.
You are assuming so many facts not in evidence, I’m sure sure where to stop the education.
Kent Sterling is an irrelevant hack who uses UK as his primary target in order to pad his blog numbers. Leave UK out of the equation and his blog would seldom get a hit.
Another Kentucky fan with an inflated sense of importance. Glad to see the confusion continues – to Wildcat fans I’m either a page view whore or psychotic. The ugly truth stares back at them in the mirror every morning and night. They are amoral front runners happy only when Kentucky is the center of someone’s attention. It doesn’t matter in the least why people talk about them, just that people talk about them. They are the North Korea of sports fans, pleased with themselves only when discussed – regardless of the reason.
“…the North Korea of sports fans”, LMAO
Surely, you can do better than that, Kent.
I think Kim Jong-un might be a ‘Cats fan.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a closet Hoosier !!!
I’m assuming facts not in evidence? Your article is a bunch of unsupported accusations passed off as truth to your readers to tear down Kentucky and its players. “Anecdotal” evidence that “will never be specifically shared.” Right. What a great day for American journalism.
By the way, have you called on Crean to dip into his 2.9 million to pay his players? How about Pitino, Krzyzewski, Self, or Izzo?
I would love for all of those coaches to earn less so players could be given something. That would be great, but I can only put out one fire at a time, and Kentucky is the biggest.
If my accusation of Kentucky’s academics seemed baseless to you, Forbes ranks them #410 overall among colleges. The criteria for the rankings include quality of teaching, great career prospects, high graduation rates and low-levels of debt. They are surrounded by Cal State Fullerton, Montana, Northeastern, and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Duke is ranked #24, Georgetown is #38, UCLA is #45, North Carolina is #47, Michigan is #57, Indiana is #144, Syracuse is #154, and for a little SEC deep south flavor – Florida is #80, Georgia is #125, Ole Miss is #270, Alabama is #274, LSU is #299, and just to show that I didn’t run through schools trying to find only those ranked higher than UK – Louisville is #541
An interesting piece of statistical data is that 81% of the student body at Kentucky is White. That’s compared to 47% at Duke, 61% at Georgetown, 32% at UCLA, 66% at UNC, 66% at Michigan, 76% at Indiana, 55% at Syracuse, and for a little more SEC deep south flavor – 59% at Florida, 76% at Georgia, 75% at Ole Miss, 79% at Alabama, 77% at LSU, and 77% at Louisville.
That’s not quite as anecdotal as hearing from athletes what goes on at study tables for the basketball players. In fact, it’s not anecdotal at all. There are 650 schools ranked, so Kentucky slipped into the upper two-thirds.
I was curious about the lowest ranked school. It is Texas Southern, who just edged Johnson & Wales and South Carolina State.
Nice misdirection, but your attack wasn’t on UK’s academics, it was an attack on the character and aspirations of the basketball players that attend Kentucky. With respect to your student body race statistics, I have no idea what point you are trying to make, and I don’t think you do either. Are implying that UK is somehow racist as an institution because of its high percentage of white students? If so, please look at the overall race statistics for the state, moron. The percentages reflect the population.
Look, until a few minutes ago I admittedly didn’t realize with whom I was bickering. I had never heard of you until yesterday, so I did a little research and apparently you are some former IU journalism student with a weird fixation on Kentucky. That is really creepy. Not to be a jerk, but I assume your Kentucky hangup, along with other similar psychological issues, is why you are running this blog in the middle of your golden years. Turn the page man.
That’s it for me. Good luck.
Yes, the overall population of African Americans at UK reflect the population in the state. African American aversion to Kentucky isn’t restricted to UK students.
Not sure you read any better than you believe I write – which makes sense. Asserting that the Kentucky players came to UK to wait for the NBA draft isn’t an attack – it’s what they claim themselves, and there is nothing wrong with that.
There is everything wrong with Kentucky using these soon-to-be millionaires to make millionaires of others without compensating them.
I can’t help myself. This is like fishing with dynamite.
So now your argument is that Kentucky’s low percentage of african americans means that african americans, as a group, don’t like Kentucky because Kentucky, as a state, is racist? Did you really go to college? So I guess the other 25 states with even lower percentages of african americans (including Vermont and California) are even more racist than Kentucky? On the other hand, Mississippi, with the highest african american population, is the least racist state. Nice logic bro!
You attacked Kentucky players saying they have no goals of learning, and do not learn at Kentucky. You clearly you have no support for that with your “anecdotal evidence that will never be revealed” crap. You’re angry because Kentucky owns Indiana, and it has apparently been eating at you for a long, long time.
I won’t even address your last comment because it could be the dumbest thing I have ever read. Suffice it to say that you are now angry at Kentucky for NOT paying its players. Doesn’t get better than this folks.
Correct on all counts. You have a keen ability to read and understand.
South of the snow belt states, Kentucky has the largest concentration of Whites in America, minus West Virginia, so if you want to claim racial tolerance, limit that to your neighbors to the east.
Yes, I believe the business model of BCS college football and basketball is ridiculous, and that the scholarship athletes should at the minimum maintain control over the profits from the licensing of their images. The money can be put into a trust fund they would have access to four years following enrollment.
So Mississippi and Louisiana are two of the most tolerant states in America because they have some of the lowest percentages of white persons? Brilliant.
I also like how you excluded an entire section of the country to fit your argument. Without that little ommission, your theory would make Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire as the most intolerant states in America.
Worst. Statistical. Analysis. Ever.
Fair enough regarding the your aversion to the business model of the BCS. But quit taking it out on Kentucky. If you don’t like Kentucky (probably because they own Indiana), just say that, quit trying to act like the current BCS business model is our fault.
I use Kentucky because Calipari is an easy target as the coach making the most cash while having two Final Fours vacated. By the way, I’m aware none of the NCAA sanctions attached to him.
It’s illogical to assume that minorities avoid Montana, Idaho, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Wisconsin, and Iowa because of societal intolerance, so I looked for a comparison of states in a similar climate belt – sadly for West Virginians.
I have been a fan of Kentucky in the past. Tubby Smith is an excellent coach, and I enjoyed watching those teams. I also really liked watching Wall and Bledsoe run the transition game in 2010-2011. I’ve never seen faster players.
I do not like or respect Calipari. That’s the source of my discontent with UK, not some weird pro-IU angst ridden psychosis.
You use Kentucky because it generates hits.
Why would I care how many people in Kentucky read what I write? I write about Kentucky because of the way Calipari does business, and the victory prompted blindness from which UK fans suffer.
I have been folloing this thread for some time. Maybe you UK apologists can help me out so I can understand all the hostility you have towards Kent as he professes his distaste for the UK recruitment model.
Do you UK fans like the one-and-done model and are you defending it because of your appreciation of it? Is it your contention that winning at all cost as long as you technically don’t break the rules is the best way to run a basketball program?
If the UK fans on this thread can answer yes to these questions, then it is clear why you would hammer someone who feels the opposite as you do.
Just wondering . . .
Uk apologists? UK has nothing to apologize for, well besides the beat down we laid on Indiana in the sweet sixteen in 2012.
No one defends the one and done model, not even Calipari. UK fans defend Kentucky (and its coach) because you idiots act like Kentucky commits some unethical act from which every other major program refrains. The only difference between Kentucky and every blue blood program is that Kentucky is the only one with the ability to sign multiple top 15 recruits, while everyone else has the ability to sign one or two.
Assuming you are an IU fan, how can you chatise UK for recruiting one and dones when Indiana does the same thing (see, Vonleh, lyles, exum). Hell, even Indiana’s golden boy Zeller is departing early for the NBA with no college degree.
Is it your contention that Zeller departing early for an NBA pay check and with no degree is somehow diffent than Kentucky players that do the same thing? Why is that? Skin color? Not from a “good” family?
I am not implying anything – I am saying that Zeller is different. He will have his degree within a year, and it will be a real degree.
I am not an IU fan though. When they screw up, I write about it. No one has called or emailed more to gripe about what I’ve written more often than IU athletics staff.
My reply was directed to the comment by Jeff Gregory.
However, there is no distinction for Zeller for purposes of your theory. You assume Kentucky’s one and dones come to UK not for an education, but rather for a layover prior to making NBA riches. You make this assumption because they leave school early with no degree (the only facts you have). If you make that assumption about Kentucky’s kids, why havent you made the same assumption about Zeller? How else is Zeller’s situation different?
I’m sorry but it seems to me that you only think Zeller’s situation is different because he went to IU, he’s white, and he talks like you. UK’s one and dones are black and don’t talk like you, and thus you assume they have no desire to learn, or do anything else other than bide their time until their first NBA pay check.
I guess ill take for your word for Zeller having his degree within a year if you take my word that Bledsoe will have his mba within two years.
First of all, I don’t like the idea of Zeller leaving early. I think it is a mistake for Zeller and it also is a slight smudge on Indiana’s program. That is my opinion. If you have read any of my comments regarding IU, you will see that I am VERY concerned about maintaining the “IU does things the right way” reputation. So, you won’t see me ever defend leaving early or over-committing scholarships.
You state, “The only difference between Kentucky and every blue blood program is that Kentucky is the only one with the ability to sign multiple top 15 recruits, while everyone else has the ability to sign one or two.” Why do you think that is? Magic? Do you think UK is the pinnacle of college basketball at a level by themselves while North Carolina, Duke, and Kansas are all second-tiered schools? Could it be that despite what the UK public, company line states, Calipari is marketing UK as the quickest-way-to-the-NBA program?
By the way, Vonleh has stated publicly that he can see himself playing for IU for four years regardless of his ability to be drafted early. That may change, but it certainly doesn’t look like Crean marketed IU as a brief stopping point for an NBA career.
Indiana Scoffers, if that is your real name (sorry, couldn’t resist), I enjoy discussing these matters, but I think the conversation stays more focused if people refrain from using the term “idiots,” etc. when talking about people who may not share your opinion. Something to think about . . .
It would help is you stopped writing and posting idiotic blogs.
It would help who?
Something for YOU to think about…
Yes, when it comes to recruiting, Kentucky is currently the pinnacle of college basketball and programs like UNC, Duke, and Kansas are second tier. I think there are several factors that have led to this, none of them being magic. Mainly, I think Cal markets Kentucky as a school where elite players can shine, get their work done on and off the court, and if they stay four years great, but if they are good enough to leave early, then he won’t hold them back. I understand you think that means promoting a “one and done” system, but it doesn’t. Just cause he doesn’t hold kids back doesn’t mean he wants them to go. You think Cal didn’t want Davis and Kidd-Gilchrist for a few more years? Give me a break.
What do you suggest Cal do? Go recruit the Peter Jurkins of the world just for sake of making sure we have players stay four years? Should he not get the best available, high character kids? Do you think Crean, K, or Roy Williams would have turned down UK’s recruiting class if they had the opportunity?
That’s nice the Vonleh can “see” himself staying four years. I can “see” myself being an astronaut.
I am still asking; why do you think UK is the pinnacle of recruiting? You wrote, “I think Cal markets Kentucky as a school where elite players can shine, get their work done on and off the court, and if they stay four years great, but if they are good enough to leave early, then he won’t hold them back.” Really? You think Calipari is the only one doing that?
No, I don’t think that what you wrote is promoting one-and-done, I think what Calipari is actually doing is promoting it. Otherwise, it must be magic, because you and I both know that EVERY COACH IN THE COUNTRY promotes a version of what you claim Calipari is doing. Magic would indicate that he gets the best recruiting class (perhaps in the history of college basketball) after coaching a sub-par team in a sub-par season. OR, there is something else going on besides that nice, but universal company line shared by every other major program in the country.
I agree that Vonleh may change his mind. However, it is the point that he is actually thinking it. That is telling about the young man’s goals and the way he was being recruited.
I will give you props for not particularly caring for the one-and-done model.
I think Cal was the first coach to actively take the above described approach in the one and done era, and is certainly the most vocal about it. I also think that Cal and Kentucky draw intense media exposure. As a result, elite prospects now identify Kentucky as the school where they have the best chance of making the NBA, which is how Kentucky signs multiple top prospects each year. I understand that most of these kids come to Kentucky primarly for this reason, but I still don’t think Cal is somehow “promoting” the one and done system. He is recruiting the best possible high-character players to win championships, which is his job. I’m not sure we are disagreeing that much, except you think this approach is “promoting” one and done, and I think it’s recruiting the best players possible.
But again, what do you suggest he do? Pass on a top 15 player that wants to come to UK to recruit a top 150 kid just for the sake of having him stay four years? There is not a major coach in America, not even creepy crean, who would do that.
No, I just don’t like the promoting a one-and-done system. You say does not. I think the evidence points to that he does. Since neither one of us knows for sure (since we are not privy to his interaction with his recruits) there really isn’t much more to say about it.
What I hope for is a change in the system – the rules. Until then, nothing will change.
I think the NCAA needs to lobby the NBA, , to change their rules to a MLB type system where the top players can go straight from highschool to the D-league or if they enroll in college they can’t get drafted until their junior year. Hell, the NBA could even be require those players to stay in the D-league for a year if the current NBAers are that worried about their job security.
I agree. I think there should be a way for players, who have no interest in college basketball, to get to the NBA.
While I don’t believe that just because a player has the talent and athletic ability to be able to hold his own in the NBA, that he is READY (read: maturity) for the NBA.
I never really understood why the NBA could not say that to be “qualified” to be in the NBA, a player must complete three years of college (or something in that vein). Many jobs require a degree that the education in getting that degree is not used for the job. It is just a matter of proving that one has the maturity to complete college. I see no reason the NBA cannot enter into that kind of arrangement. I heard that there was some sort of anti-trust issue with it, but I have yet to understand how it applies exclusively for NBA athletes but not the rest of the wage-earning country.
It’s obvious that you will enjoy Kent’s articles. Are you from North Carolina?