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Kentucky Wildcats Morning Quickies: Winning Matters Edition

John Calipari knows that just showing up and starting at Kentucky will not get you a high draft pick. Winning matters

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2012 NBA Draft Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, and welcome to the Tuesday Morning Quickies.

Today, there are a couple of significant stories for the Big Blue, one in basketball and one in football. In homage to the idea of “dancing with who brung ya,” we’ll start with hoops

The Herald-Leader today has a story about why Kentucky’s 2018 draft stock is lower than usual in terms of player buzz and where the Wildcats’ highest players are likely to be drafted. John Calipari explains the situation in five words: “That’s why winning matters here.”

Calipari linked no UK player projected in the front end of the lottery to last season’s pedestrian 26-11 record. More victories translates into an elevated draft stock, he said. Although it could also be argued that players with an elevated draft stock would have led Kentucky to more victories.

I think this is mostly right. You can have top-five players and a pedestrian year, as you can easily see with Luka Doncic and Mohammed Bamba, both projected top-5 players on relatively poor teams. But when you’re crammed with talent like Kentucky or Duke, you need to have a much better season that 26-11 and a Sweet Sixteen loss.

I also think this is a critical message to send to the players — you’ can’t expect to show up, start for UK and go in the top five. You gotta win, baby win.

Also, this was interesting:

The risk of re-injury next season led Vanderbilt to remain in this year’s draft despite playing only 14 games last season. “That was our conversation,” Calipari said of the UK-or-NBA decision, “the whole conversation.”

I think that’s absolutely reasonable. You always have to consider the possibility of re-injury, and a top talent who basically has to skip his college freshman career due to injury has one strike against him. Propensity for injury definitely gets factored into any NBA draft decision. You can’t help a team you can’t play for.

The second story is tops on today’s front page: Mark Stoops gets a very significant commitment in the person of Tra Wilkins, a 2019 commitment for linebacker. If this doesn’t impress you, well, you must be a Georgia fan:

Wilkins, who hails from Stephenson High School in Georgia, is a highly-regarded linebacker with an offer sheet that includes the Alabama Crimson Tide, Louisville Cardinals, Ole Miss Rebels, Auburn Tigers, Arkansas Razorbacks, Georgia Bulldogs, Florida Gators, Michigan Wolverines, Michigan State Spartans and Ohio State Buckeyes among many others.

Congratulations. Now hold on to him for dear life…

Tweet of the Morning

Hey, it’s summer. Why not smack-talk a little.

Your Quickies:

Kentucky football
Kentucky basketball
  • Sports Illustrated now has UK ranked at #3, up from #5, for next season. It’s fun to do things like this, but we have no idea, really. UK is again very young (although thankfully not as young as last year) and how players mesh together is critical, and that’s something we won’t know for quite a while. But hey, you gotta do something in the long, hot summer… besides golf, that is.
  • Coach Cal, you listening…?
Other Kentucky sports
Links posts
College football
College basketball
Other sports news
Other news
  • Heh. Word.