As is the case every preseason, the AP released a list of players who comprised their All-Americans and now that we are about a week and change away from Selection Sunday, how did their choices hold up? Would the choices still be the same now that the bulk of the season has been played? First off, the preseason list:
Luke Harangody – Senior Forward, Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Cole Aldrich – Junior Center, Kansas Jayhawks
Sherron Collins – Senior Guard, Kansas Jayhawks
Patrick Patterson – Junior Forward, Kentucky Wildcats
Kyle Singler, Junior Forward, Duke Blue Devils
That’s a pretty stout list, regardless of what team you root for. All of these players have had good-to-great seasons, knee injuries notwithstanding. But would this group still be apart of the first-team All American roster if it was assembled today? How about some players that may have been left off?
Eric Bledsoe, John Wall and Patrick Patterson pulled out the always-coveted double alley oop play against the Austin Peay Governors on Saturday. And they made it look easy. Of course, when you have two of the most explosive freshmen guards in the nation leading the break with All-American Patrick Patterson trailing the play, pulling off such stunts is a little easier. While this particular double oop wasn’t quite the set play others have raved about, it did fill the bill for anyone needing a double alley oop fix.
Considering the way such a play inspires basketball writers to reevaluate the way the game is played, I’d say double oops are always a welcome in the roundball community.
Forgive the music in the above highlight reel — I guess people love to show off their ability to manipulate video-production software with mundane hip hop tracks — and focus on the plays instead. What we have is oft-hyped Kentucky Wildcats guard John Wall and his virtuoso performance against Rider this past Saturday. While living up to his considerable hype to the tune of 21 points, 11 assists, six rebounds and two steals, Wall also snared ESPN’s Player of the Week honors, leading the Wildcats to a 3-0 start.
What these stats don’t show is how Wall collected them. Relying a great deal on a water bug-like open court game that showed off cross-overs, 360 degree layups and the type of speed most only dream about, Kentucky’s vaunted freshman continues to turn heads and impress.
Wall’s transition to college, save the two-game suspension, has been fairly seamless. He’s quickly positioned himself as an extension of John Calipari on the floor and is a big reason Kentucky finds itself in the top five nationally. Wall’s presence, as well as the other newcomers like Daniel Orton and DeMarcus Cousins, has also freed up preseason All American Patrick Patterson to post some incredibly productive numbers as well.
For instance, against Rider, Patterson had 19 points and 19 rebounds, all while sitting the last five minutes of the game. For the season, Patterson is averaging 19 points and 12 rebounds, showing he clearly welcomes his new teammates and will take advantage of the opportunities their presence allows him. An easier way to say it is now that Patterson has teammates of a similar skill-set, his beast-like tendencies have blossomed into full-on beast mode.
Of course, having a guard as dynamic as Wall initiating the plays — again, he had 11 assists against Rider — goes a long way in relation to improved teammate performances.
During his press conference today, uber-talent John Wall indicated he might be in Lexington longer than some people think. Or not:
His plan is to go to UK for 2-3 years but if Cal says after a year it’s his time to go to the NBA, then he’s going to go.
I get the impression Wall is measuring years the same way his coach does. As I referred to yesterday, John Calipari said he’d need around four years to get the program back to where it once was. In the meantime, Kentucky has grabbed the top-rated recruiting class, headlined by Wall; had Patrick Patterson pull his name from NBA Draft consideration and been anointed as the 2009/10 National Champions without even playing a game.
So much for four years — much like the idea of having a player of Wall’s caliber on campus longer than one season.
As Kentucky suffers through its worst season since Rick Pitino took over for the disgraced Eddie Sutton, it’s been hard on the fans. Loads of “Billy versus Tubby” talk going on. And then this ESPN piece didn’t paint UK’s now-beleaguered coach in the best light. All-in-all, it’s been a season to forget with — save a Jodie Meeks 54-point outing — very little to cheer about.
In the above video, Kentucky fans might have found a salve to help them recover and prepare for next season: Patrick Patterson told reporter Alan Cutler he would in fact be returning to the Wildcats next season. The sigh of relief you hear can be attributed to the state that’s bordered by Tennessee, Ohio, West Virginia and Illinois. Now if they can get the same from Jodie Meeks, there might actually be some positive feelings about next season.
UKAthletics.com has a nice little celebration image for Jodie Meeks and his record-breaking performance last night. Bonus: It came against the Vols. There’s nothing like going off in a basketball game, or so I’m told. I can’t imagine how good it feels to do it against a rival that can’t seem to keep their mouths shut–even when you are lighting their asses up.
And the hits just keep on coming for Billy Gillispie’s first season at the University of Kentucky. Word has just came down from Kentucky.com (via Kentucky Sports Radio) that Patrick Patterson has been diagnosed with a stress fracture in his left ankle.
Patterson is in a cast and will miss the rest of the season. His injury is expected to keep him on the shelf for eight weeks, which is great news… and just in time for Sunday’s trip to Knoxville when the Cats visit the Tennessee Volunteers.
This has the makings of being a typical ending for this Wildcats’ season, a season that has seen three of its best players, Jodie Meeks, Derrick Jasper, and now Patterson, fighting serious injuries.