Wednesday, April 7, 2010

taking the luster off a great finish

As reported at, five University of Kentucky basketball players with remaining eligibility will declare for the NBA draft. Folks are saying that all five -- freshmen John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe and Daniel Orton and junior Patrick Patterson -- are likely first-round picks and will probably stay in the draft.

Kentucky made it to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament before being bounced by West Virginia, 73-66.

Draft prospects must declare their intentions to enter the draft by April 25, and can retain their eligibility if they do not hire an agent and remove their name from the draft by May 8.

Junior Evan Turner of Ohio State has also declared for the draft.

This season featured a great run in the NCAA tournament by Butler, which made it to the championship before falling in one of the best championship games in memory to Duke, 61-59. The tournament was one of the most enjoyable for me. It was filled with upsets; only two #1 seeds (Duke and Kentucky) made it to the Elite Eight, and Duke was the only #1 seed to make it to the Final Four. To me, that's what the tournament should be all about.

But the possibility (some say probability) that the tournament will expand to 96 teams put a damper on things. The annual exodus of college basketball's top players to the NBA draft, especially this mass exodus from Kentucky, doesn't help.

Something's wrong with this picture.

I wish the guys well, but it's becoming less and less enjoyable seeing so many young guys jump to the NBA so early. It doesn't seem to be making the NBA any better. It's definitely not making college basketball any better.

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