The Big Blue Daily Mail -- Tax Day Edition

For all of you who have not yet paid Uncle Sam, get ready to write that check.  Here are a few stories to get your mind off the pain:

More after the jump.

  • Did you want Brandon Knight for one season? - Alligator Army
    "We really didn't want him anyway." :-) Okay.

  • Melick: Calipari making early signing period obsolete | al.com

    Players commit to coaches and to situations. There was nothing the University of Kentucky offered to the fabulous freshman class of John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe, and Daniel Orton that almost any community college in the country couldn't have offered except the chance to play for Calipari.

    This is an astute observation.  There was a time when the school mattered more than the coach.  Arguably, that time has passed.

  • C.J. Leslie weighs his options - NC State - NewsObserver.com
  • Brandon Knight: Kentucky gets a special kid … who plays ball too - South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com

    Yet this is what colleges got, if they cared to read it. They got an English Honors III teacher raving about "Brandon's perfect articulation in reading Shakespeare," and describing "the stillness of the room as his peers listened in rapt attention" to his "Macbeth" soliloquy. They got an Advanced Placement statistics teacher recalling all the times he would stay for extra help, even it meant missing dinner before a game. They got his college counselor gushing, "A finer Pine Crest student I cannot imagine."

    And this is a young man who will likely put his educational opportunity on hold before he gets a degree.  Is anyone going to argue that he isn't qualified to make that choice, or that it should not be available to him?

  • Beecher: Coach Self’s first strike in recruiting | Kansan.com

    Coach Bill Self steps to the plate, tightens his gloves and knocks the bat against his cleats. In his own words, Self needs to hit a home run.

    The first pitch comes, and Self takes a mighty hack. He whiffs on his first chance at a recruiting home run this week, losing Brandon Knight, Rivals.com’s top ranked player to Kentucky.

    If you've been around Kentucky the last four or five years, stuff like this is like sweet music.

  • No new Huskies on Day 1; Knight selects Kentucky The Republican-American

    The late signing period began as expected Wednesday for the UConn men. They came up empty.

    Fortune reverses itself.

  • Coach Calipari says he's not after one-and-dones, didn't forsee departures | courier-journal.com | The Courier-Journal

    "We recruit the best players. But you know what the team did? They were like scouts. They sacrificed for one another. Because they did it together, they've all benefited.

    " … If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."

    This is one of the most cogent defenses of Calipari's recruiting strategy I have seen.  Fittingly, it comes from Coach Cal himself.

  • Why John Calipari — AKA King Pyrrhus — Won’t Win Next Year - Kevin Mack - Bring Back Grossman - True/Slant

    So congrats, Kentucky. You’re riding the momentum of a fantastic recruiting streak, undoubtedly helped by the signees (who often persuade other high school stars to join them in their ivory towers).

    But let’s step back — does this actually guarantee victories? Coach Cal’s recruiting hauls from last year netted the SEC Crown (barely), but their collegiate careers never lasted past the Elite Eight. Should we suppose another freshman-heavy squad (which 2010-2011 certainly smells like) should go any further?

    Okay, let's step back. Does any recruiting strategy "actually guarantee victories?"  Better ask Roy Williams while you're at it.  He had as many highly ranked recruits as UK did.  How does 17 losses sit with you?  Kentucky?  3. 

    So maybe the answer is "yes" when we are talking about Coach Cal, who is far and away the winningest coach in college basketball over the last several years.

    There are no guarantees.  Calipari's system requires good players.  If the good players do well, they get noticed and wind up being on draft boards.  If the good players do not do well, most of them come back and try again.  But as soon as good players get noticed and start appearing on draft boards, they almost always start planning their exit.

    Get over it, pal.  You don't know the first thing about Calipari.  You are just against him.  Period.

  • Signing Day Open Thread - The UConn Blog

    Anyway, use this thread to debate how much money John Calipari can afford to pay potential recruits, and to cry tears of sadness that Knight Fever is (probably) over.

    Jealous, much?

  • John Clay: UK fans are willing to settle for ... every top recruit | KentuckySports.com

    Then Calipari came to town. Dominoes began falling. Expectations were lifted. Now Kentucky basketball fans don't want just one blue-chip recruit. They want all the blue-chip recruits.

    Let me ask you this question -- why should we not?

  • Inside Opinion - " A true student-athlete The News Tribune Blogs, Tacoma, WA

    Here's the kind of story you don't hear very often: The top-rated 2010 high school basketball player in the nation could just as easily get an academic scholarship as one for athletics.

    Bite your tongue.  He is a likely "one and done" at Kentucky.  We all know that's for the dumb kids, right?

    Sorry about the excess sarcasm, folks, this is a great, short article you should read.  I'm a little defensive this morning.

  • Is Reebok Hitching Its Future on John Wall? - Chris Littmann - First Cuts - Sporting News

    Shock No. 1: They're still giving out shoe deals worth this much? The last few years made it seem like shoe deals had really dried up. Shelling out that much for John Wall would be a big change of course. Judging from Darren Rovell's tweet, it would be risky.

    I wonder how much Chuck Taylor got for having his name on Converse All-Stars?

    Those were the days ...

  • BBL: Brandon Knight and Michael Gilchrist links roundup John Clay’s Sidelines
    John Clay's Big Blue Links.

  • John Calipari Monopolizing Recruits | Online Basketball Betting

    One way to battle a team loaded with freshmen is to build a team centered around chemistry and experience, much like Duke did this year. This article explains Coach K’s system and how he recruits. Maybe that is the way to go, but you won’t stop Calipari from taking players who plan on being around for less than a calendar year.

    Sure, Coach K won yet another title, but does that mean Calipari is destined to never win one? Obviously not, as he was a miracle three by Mario Chalmers away from being on top of the college basketball world.

    But that doesn't fit the narrative.

  • A Pro Scout's Take on Kentucky's Patrick Patterson
  • Kentucky Lands Brandon Knight - CBSSports.com Video
    Gary Parrish does a great job of breaking it all down here.

  • ZagsBlog.com – Brandon Knight to Kentucky (UPDATED)
    Good stuff as always by Adam Zagoria.

  • DraftExpress: Mock Draft
    For what it's worth. I'm skeptical.

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