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Kentucky Basketball: Rick Stansbury, Bitter Clinger

Rick Stansbury wants everyone to understand that there is no comparison between Enes Kanter and Dee Bost.  None, you hear!

After John Calipari went out of his way at SEC Media Days to praise the NCAA for allowing Dee Bost to play after he became a de-facto professional by not withdrawing his name from the NBA draft, Rick Stansbury decided that he couldn't have Calipari looking good by backing up his player.  To wit:

"There's no comparison to Dee Bost," Stansbury said at the SEC Media Day on Thursday. "Let's get that straight."

The State coach noted that Bost had already played in college, had not worked out for any NBA teams and had fallen victim to a rule change that required players to withdraw more than a month earlier than the previous deadline.

"He's not a pro," Stansbury said. "... For any kind of comparison to be made, I don't think Dee is a good one to make it on."

I beg to differ, coach.

Far be it from me to be upset about how the NBA handled the Bost situation.  I advocate allowing anyone who enters the draft and goes undrafted to renter college.  If they get drafted, they are pros, but if the draft does not select them, I think they should be able to return to their scholarship and resume playing after paying back any money that they took during the draft process.

But the rules are the rules, and the NBA rule is that you have to withdraw by May 8th or be declared a professional. Bost failed to do so and then claimed that he didn't know the rule. I'm skeptical, and so was Andy Katz:

But the NCAA scrapped its former deadline in a pretty public manner, and the NBA did acknowledge it May 11 with a list of players who withdrew from the draft and others who remained in consideration. Somehow, Bost's teammate and classmate Ravern Johnson got the message and withdrew in time for the May 8 deadline.

The bottom line is, the rule is the rule and Bost wound up on the pro side of the rule.  He became a professional by reason of the rule.  If he forgot, that's too bad, it's his responsibility to declare for the draft and his responsibility to withdraw timely.  "I didn't know the law" is no excuse, and "I didn't know the rule" isn't either.  Just ask former UK defensive standout Jeremy Jarmon.

I'm glad the NCAA is allowing Bost's return and so is John Calipari.  One would think that Rick Stansbury would appreciate the support from his fellow coach, but Stansbury has displayed a bitterness toward Kentucky since Calipari came on board here that surprised me, and it continues to this day.  Stansbury was bitter about an alleged no-call in last year's SEC tournament final that allowed DeMarcus Cousins to tie the game that Kentucky would eventually win, despite inconclusive video evidence of his claim (inconclusive because both MSU and UK appeared to be in violation during the play).

That bitterness raised its head again, not just from his rejection of Calipari's support for his player, but by a suggestion that Kentucky may get special treatment from the NCAA in the Kanter matter.  Stansbury's argument essentially goes like this:  Dee Bost is a former college player who ran afoul of a stupid NCAA rule, and Kanter is a professional trying to get the NCAA to declare him an amateur, and Kentucky is using its prestige unfairly in this matter.  That's not what Stansbury said, but it is unquestionably what he meant.

My dear coach Stansbury, the Bost and Kanter situations are indeed directly analogous.  They both involve players who have committed acts of professionalism under the rules, Bost by declaring and not withdrawing timely from the NBA draft, and Kanter by playing for Fenerbahçe Ülker.  Bost had a duty to ensure that he abided by NCAA rules, and so did Kanter if he ever wanted to play in America.  Bost has no excuse -- he clearly did not follow the rule that would provide for his eligibility, and the NCAA gave him an obvious pass for a very questionable and frankly unbelievable claim of ignorance.

Kanter, on the other hand, has always established that he is within the NCAA rules as written, and his father claims to have kept meticulous records to that end.  The NCAA is attempting to determine if in fact that is so, despite deliberate and intentional interference by Fenerbahçe Ülker.  If anything, Kanter's situation is more deserving of sympathy by the NCAA than Bost's.  The details my be different, but the issue is exactly the same...the question of amateurism as defined by the NCAA Bylaws.

In sum, Stansbury is not only wrong, but he's bitterly clinging to his frustration with Kentucky and his unquestionably nonsensical belief that UK gets all the breaks.  I wish it were true, just so I could wallow in a little schadenfreude and ask coach Stansbury to pack sand.  Unfortunately, UK does not get all the breaks.  MSU got a big one with Bost, and arguably a bigger one with Sidney.

Stansbury should shut up and count his money.