Thursday, April 8, 2010

Calipari, Kentucky See Mass Defections

The 2009-10 season was a magical one for the Kentucky Wildcats. After suffering through two seasons of the Billy Gillispie error (um..era), the Cats were back among the nation's elite this season.

However, news came on Wednesday that five Kentucky players, including four freshmen, would enter the NBA Draft. Freshmen John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe and Daniel Orton have all submitted their names, and junior Patrick Patterson is widely expected to do the same, although he may not have done it just yet.

All of the players are projected to go in the first round by

Add this to the loss of seniors Perry Stevenson, Mark Krebs and Ramon Harris, and Kentucky only has five players left from last year's team. And it's not a star-studded bunch. Darius Miller, DeAndre Liggins, Josh Harrelson, Jon Hood and Darnell Dodson are the projected returnees, although there is some question about whether Dodson will return.

So Calipari must now do another magical recruiting job, just as he did last season. Some of the nation's best players are still considering UK, and it's Calipari's task to bring in another crop of super recruits to keep the Big Blue momentum.

Among those still considering UK are the nation's top player, according to, point guard Brandon Knight from Florida, the No. 4 player in the country, guard Josh Selby from Maryland, the No. 13 player, forward Terrence Jones from Oregon, and the No. 14 player, forward C.J. Leslie, a high school teammate of Wall from North Carolina. The 21st-ranked player, guard Doron Lamb, is also considering the Cats, who already have committments from forward Stacey Poole (No. 27 overall) and Turkish big man Enes Kanter.

The next few weeks will determine Kentucky's fate for the 2010-11 season. Big Blue fans are hoping Calipari can work his recruiting magic one more time.

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