During last night’s NBA Draft-powered run on Kentucky basketball players, head coach John Calipari offered this assessment of the “historical” evening: “This is biggest night in the history of Kentucky basketball.” I have seven reasons to disagree with Coach Calipari, but more than that, I wish he’d just ease up with the unending hyperbole assault that erupts from him at will. Yes, it’s true he has every reason to be proud of his first recruiting class for Kentucky, but are over-the-top comparisons really necessary?
5:04: John Calipari tries to claim with a straight face that, since Kentucky might have five first-round picks, it’s the biggest day in the history of Kentucky basketball. Yeah, I’m sure it beats winning the title in 1996 or 1998. Go away.
While the “go away” is a probably more drastic than I’m thinking, Simmons and I agree on this: Stop the hyperbole, Cal. So far, you’ve proven to be exactly what the realistic Kentucky fans expect: a fantastic recruiter who knows how to capitalize on popularity, but a suspect bench coach. That’s always been the give-and-take with Calipari, and failing to at least advance to a Final Four with the roster he put in the draft last night emphasizes this quite well. Clearly, he gets his fair share of top talent; however, he doesn’t go all the way when he’s got such teams.
Granted, winning a National Championship is never easy — Kentucky has seven in over 100 years of basketball history — but please, save the “greatest day” stuff for an actual banner-raising; one that’s safe from being taken away by the NCAA, preferably.
While John Wall’s endorsement contract with Reebok may come as a surprise, seeing how Kentucky was a Nike school, the shoe company already has their first commercial for their John Wall model, powered-by-ZigTech basketball shoe ready to go. Undoubtedly, the advertisement will debut during tonight’s NBA Draft, but thanks to the power of the Internet, the video’s already available.
Reebok’s approach is two-fold: First, they capitalize on the popularity of the John Wall Dance, then they feature an outline of their previous NBA superstar, Allen Iverson, passing the ball, and, metaphorically, the responsibility of being the face of the company, to Wall.
While reaction to the shoe has been mixed, you can bet a ton of Kentucky fans will be lining up to buy their first pair of Reeboks, perhaps ever, all to continue supporting their one-year wonder guard.
And here, I thought Jrue Holiday was a young basketball player for the Philadelphia 76ers. Apparently, he’s got mask-making skills, much like Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible. Oh, and I’m not the only one who was surprised by Holiday’s ability to camouflage himself.
In other news, perhaps ESPN needs to practice their accuracy with name graphics during live television.
Is this what Sade was talking about in her classic slow jam? James Harden rocking a pimp-ass bow tie at the NBA Draft? Because if it wasn’t, it damn well should be. In other Oklahoma City Thunder draft news, one would think Russell “You Trippin’” Westbrook is all kinds of happy knowing he won’t have Ricky Rubio — Entitled, much? — peering over his shoulder. I, for one, see Westbrook’s point. I, too, would rather have the proven Harden as a running mate instead of the flavor of the month Rubio, who, while having all kinds of passing potential, looks like he could be a liability because of his shooting prowess.
…And for the next 48-72 hours, we are simply going to be living in it. In about 24-plus hours, Griffin will be made the overall number one pick in tomorrow night’s NBA Draft. Not only that, he’ll be asked to perform an almost-impossible task — make the Clippers a relevant NBA team. Of course, if you follow myth, it took God a few days to create the universe and he/she is an omnipotent being. Blake Griffin, on the other hand, is merely a very good basketball player with the potential to be one of the greats. With that in mind, let’s keep the miracle requests (be to the Clip joint what LeBron is to Cleveland, for one) at an achievable level for now.
A hypothetical phone call to Blake Griffin following last night’s lottery:
Blake Griffin, you were the best player in college basketball last year, an exciting player with pogo sticks for legs and a body made out of Kevlar. Your reward for being all things to a rebuilding team? Getting to play the first leg of your professional basketball career in the land of Hollywood! Still excited? How could you not be, considering what Southern California has to offer in the way of attractions. One last thing: You’ll (probably) be playing for the Los Angeles Clippers!!!!
The NBA Lottery selection is tonight, and you know what that means: time to break out all those NBA Draft conspiracy theories in case we have to figure out why the Oklahoma Thunder are picking first. I mean, there’s absolutely no way their ball would just happen to be the selection unless it was a league-wide (and beyond, considering the mechanics in selecting their first pick) conspiracy, headed by David Stern, right?
Oklahoma has an 11 percent chance to win the Blake Griffin Sweepstakes NBA Lottery, while the team with the worst record, Sacramento, has 25 percent. In case you forgot, Chicago had less than 2 percent chance when they won the Derrick Rose Sweepstakes last season.
I’m guessing it was fixed then to, seeing how Rose is a native Chicagoan.
Jonny Flynn, the best Syracuse point guard since Sherman Douglas, is foregoing his remaining college eligibility and entering the NBA Draft. Flynn has also signed with an agent, meaning there’s no going back to school for the high-flier. Flynn joins backcourt mate Eric Devendorf and forward Paul Harris, all of whom elected to test the NBA waters. Of the three, Harris was the only Orange not to sign with an agent.
The departure of Flynn and Devendorf leaves Syracuse’s guard cupboard pretty bare. Unfortunately for Jim Boeheim, there’s not much coming in, recruiting-wise, to replace players of Flynn and Devendorf’s caliber. Additionally, what once looked like a promising 2009-10 season for the Orange now looks like a rebuilding effort.
For the record, Flynn signed with Leon Rose of Creative Artists Agency Sports, otherwise known as the representation service of LeBron James. Apparently, Flynn signed with Rose at the behest of James, which leads me to this question: Is it ethical for current NBA stars to recruit amateur athletes on behalf of the agency that represents them? I wonder what Boeheim thinks about LeBron’s advice?