Found February 17, 2013 on
Kentucky head coach John Calipari has had a tremendous career, one that is sure to see more greatness before it is finally over. To win the national title last season, lose his entire starting five, a come back with another competitive group this year goes to show the quality of his coaching and his recruiting.
Especially his recruiting.
Recruits paid off last year in the form of the best player in the nation, Nerlens Noel, the 6-foot 10-inch center from the Tilton School in New Hampshire. A sure fire NBA lottery pick if high school players could still be drafted, Noel was a metaphorical Christmas present for Calipari. With him he was assured that his team would be competitive before he knew who the rest of his starting five would be.
But now he has lost him. Darn those knees for needing functioning ACLs!
And now his team is in utter turmoil.
In the team's first game without Noel they had a soft opponent in Tennessee; they should still have been able to win with the players they had. Instead they were embarrassed losing to the Volunteers 88-58.
The game was a mess from the start and never got any better for the Wildcats. Assistant coach John Robic was ejected after roughly nine minutes. Calipari felt the need to bench Ryan Harrow to get him started. The move failed; Harrow fouled out after 18 minutes with no real contribution on the court in that time.
Willie Caulie-Stein may be a 7-footer, but he might as well have been nonexistent doing little and fouling out with more than nine minutes to play. He lasted longer than Alex Poythress though who fouled out before him.
For those that suffered through the game the Wildcats looked nothing like the kind of team that UK fans had grown accustomed to. The team had not been playing up to par this season anyway with seven losses already, but after this blowout loss the future of the defending champions is not too bright.
One thing has to be remembered--this is Kentucky. The Wildcats do not recruit schmucks or so-so players. They may be human like everyone else and sit back while a fantastic talent like Nerlens Noel does his thing, but they are still Kentucky-caliber players.
They just need what John Calipari said a couple guys were not capable of receiving--coaching. Should they get it there is still hope for this group to do something special. They may not be the same caliber team that won it last year, but two seasons ago they finished the regular season 29-9 (10-6 in conference) and still made it to the Final Four.
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ROUGH ROAD AHEAD
John Calipari ripped some of his players after Kentucky suffered an embarrassing 88-58 loss to Tennessee on Saturday.
Witnessing All-Everything Kentucky freshman, Nerlens Noel, lying on the court, writhing in pain, was devastating for the Wildcats and college basketball fans around the country. In UK’s loss to #7 Florida on Tuesday, the 6’10” big man was injured on the ultimate hustle play, and went down in a heap after running into the basket support. [...]
The last thingand perhaps one of the toughest thingsto watch in sports is a young man suffer a gruesome injury.
Granted, any injury comes with its share of recognized loss and hardship, but in the case of Kentucky's Nerlens Noel, who suffered a torn ACL versus Florida last week, the season-ending knee injury comes with its own set of problems.
Projected as one of the top picks...
After calling his players "uncoachable", Kentucky's John Calipari backtracked on that statement in an open letter on Sunday.
Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings addressed the SEC media on Monday. Stallings said the Wildcats are still very, very talented despite the loss of star Nerlens Noel. Both Vandy and Kentucky have fallen quite a bit since strong showings in the 2011-12 season.
Kentucky begins its "new season" without injured center Nerlens Noel today with a visit to Knoxville, Tenn., to face the Volunteers. Join us on KyScout as we discuss the action on our open basketball forum.
During Monday's SEC Coaches Teleconference, UK's John Calipari said the Wildcats must adapt moving forward to salvage their season in the wake of Nerlens Noel's injury and a 30-point loss at Tennessee.
Florida won the battle against visiting Kentucky for first place in the Southeastern Conference, remaining firmly atop the SEC Power Rankings as it has been all season long.
But Kentucky suffered two defeats in the game. Freshman center Nerlens Noel, the leading shot-blocker in the country, injured his left knee and was lost for the season.
The shock to the system of Noels loss...
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Five Kentucky recruits are among the 24 boys’ high school basketball players selected Thursday to this year’s McDonald’s All American Game. The 36th annual McDonald’s boys’ game will be played April 3 in Chicago and televised live at 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. Chicago native Jabari Parker, the No. 2 overall prospect in the ESPN 100, will represent the host city in the game for...