Remember Jaylen Brown?
It's easy to have forgotten about him after a decent year in the Pac-12 playing for a decent Cal team. Kentucky sure could have used him last season, at least that's what appeared to be the case at the time.
But Brown ultimately spurned UK and Michigan when he shocked the world and committed to Cal in one of the wilder recruitments of the 2015 cycle.
Thankfully, it all worked out for UK as losing out on Brown helped the Cats land Jamal Murray, and the rest is history. That's especially true now of Brown's college career after he declared for the NBA draft on Thursday.
The consensus top-five recruit coming out of Wheeler High School in Marietta, Ga., averaged 14.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game this past season while leading the Golden Bears to a 23-11 record and tie for third place in the Pac-12. Their season ended in a first-round loss to 13-seeded Hawaii.
Don't get me wrong. Brown was a sensational player who showed a lot of promise and could develop into a quality NBA player. He was a big reason why the Bears made the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013.
But he wasn't what UK needed. Brown was an athletic wing that would have been a slightly better version of what Alex Poythress was offensively while not being close to the kind of defender Alex can be.
And again, by missing on Brow, UK then amped up their pressure on Murray in hopes of landing him later in the summer, which they ultimately did. Had Brown come to UK, we probably don't see Murray here just because that would have been too many mouths to feed.
Instead of another guy who did a lot of the same things as Alex, UK instead got a one-of-a-kind talent in Murray, who went on to have one of the greatest scoring and three-point shooting seasons in the history of Kentucky basketball.
Murray also gave UK a much-needed perimeter threat to help take the pressure of Tyler Ulis as he became the best point guard in college hoops. While the season may not have ended how we'd hoped, there's no question the duo of Murray and Ulis made this a season UK fans should always remember.
That simply does not happen with Brown. While he would have had a good season and helped UK get to the tournament, the Cats probably don't sweep the SEC, earn a top-four seed and beat teams like Duke, Texas A&M and Louisville in the process. I really think UK struggles more than they already were and probably finish with 3-5 more losses and get bounced in Round 1 in a season UK fans are rather relieved to see mercifully end.
Murray became such an amazing shooter that just having him in the game greatly impacted opposing defenses and opened up the floor more for other Cats. Brown wouldn't have done that as a 29.4% three-point shooter (Alex actually shot 30.4%).
And just looking at the mock drafts, Murray is likely going somewhere between the No. 3-7 overall picks in the draft, whereas Brown is slated to go somewhere between 4-12. I don't think there's any question Murray's NBA prospects are much higher in terms of being able to last in the NBA, which always needs shooters. Athletic wings like Brown are nice, but far from a necessity.
So for the whatever-th time we've been able to say this, UK and John Calipari missing on a big-time prospect turned out to be a blessing in disguise down the road.