It's time for a reevaluation, fellow UK fans.
We have differing expectations, Cal and the BBN. Cal wants and expects to help the most talented young basketball players become great players and solid men, while the BBN expects UK to be the preeminent basketball program in the country. Those goals would seem, on their faces, to be mutually attainable and in a more perfect basketball world they would be. But the NBA's "One and Done" rule allows Cal to fulfill his expectations only with great difficulty -- it makes it almost impossible for him to fulfill the expectations of the BBN. This is because the talent goes too soon to repay the patience we normally would have as fans. We as UK fans like to see young talent develop into solid players, we have been doing that for decades. But O and D means that Cal must choose between meeting fan expectations and following his own calling.
I note that Glenn has finally uttered the Unutterable:
This is the first time in five years that I have actually thought to question Calipari's philosophy, because if he can't get the "want to" into this group by now, it's very likely not going to show up later on this season. It might, but right now, color me skeptical. Maybe his approach is flawed after all?
Whether or not Cal's philosophy is wrong depends upon whom you ask. Cal will say his philosophy, if stated in terms of developing talented players into the best they can be, is spot on. And he would be right. If you ask a member of the BBN however, you'll get a range of answers to an apparently straightforward yes or no question. That confusion is the the result of many things, but is primarily a symptom of denial. More and more though, the answer is coming back a qualified "yes".
How do we fix that? We can't. The reality is that the NBA will only change One and Done when and if they choose. That leaves us as fans to control the only thing we can control. We start settling for second place year in and year out knowing that most of the talent we see will leave before we get our payoff. We continue to laud the rapid development of the glut of talent that the Cal/UK Express drops off on the Lexington platform each year and take pride in Cal's lofty goals, but we also forever surrender the expectation that we will be a tier one team competing for a national championship.
Or, we make it clear that a compromise has to be struck with our beloved Coach Cal which entails retaining some scholarship slots for players who are not ready after one year of NCAA play. We make it clear that although talent is fun to watch, we are fans who understand the difference between teams that execute the game's offenses and defenses, that demonstrate quality decision making and thus find ways to win. It isn't fair to expect phenoms to accomplish all of this in one year. It also isn't fair to a fan base the likes of the BBN to simply give up a tradition going back over 50 years of winning teams. It's too much. I say that price is way out line, regardless of why we are asked to pay it.
Something's got to give. Hopefully we'll see signs that recruiting and numbers of incoming McDonald's All Americans each year does not permanently supplant actual program building.