It’s looking more and more like this will have to be the title year for the Cats. If not, the Big Blue Nation might have to wait, who knows, maybe another two or three campaigns until Coach Cal can reload for another overpowering championship run.
Seems as if that other guard is starting to turn more than a few NBA heads. Here’s what Chad Ford, ESPN.com NBA draft guru has to say about Eric Bledsoe:
In a draft without any great point guard prospects past John Wall, could the second-best point guard actually be his teammate? A growing number of scouts are coming back from Kentucky scouting trips saying exactly that after watching Wall’s freshman backcourt buddy, Eric Bledsoe (especially those who see Oklahoma’s Willie Warren as a 2-guard).
Bledsoe is clearly talented and there’s no question that he’s been playing in Wall’s shadow all season. But dig deeper and you can understand why NBA scouts are intrigued. While Bledsoe doesn’t have Wall’s size or his PR machine, he’s incredibly quick and an explosive leaper, and he’s very, very tough — almost to a fault (against Louisville, John Calipari had to pull him from the floor early to keep him from going after Reginald Delk). Unlike Wall, Bledsoe has shown the ability to nail the open jumper and is shooting an impressive 47 percent from 3-point range.
In a recent game against Florida, Bledsoe — not Wall, Patrick Patterson or DeMarcus Cousins — was the best player on the floor. While Bledsoe could clearly use another year or two of seasoning at Kentucky — one in which he, not Wall, is the team’s alpha dog — more and more scouts are talking about the possibility that he will declare this year. If he does enter the draft, he could end up going somewhere in the mid-to-late first round. Or higher.
“If John Wall didn’t play for Kentucky, I think we’d all be calling Bledsoe a lottery pick,” one GM told Insider. “He’s playing in the same backcourt as the best player in college basketball. But if you look close, you’ll see it. He’s an NBA talent all the way.”
Which means the Cats conceivably could tip off the ’10-’11 season without Patrick Patterson, DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall or Bledsoe. All of whom might actually be lottery picks.
If it weren’t so late, and I was more computer savvy, I’d find a video of Ann Margaret singing “Bye Bye Birdie” and I’d switch the words around, and, well, you get the picture. Which is to say, if UK’s other guard believes he’ll be a high first round pick, he’ll be adios amigos, just like his three runnin’ partners.
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The good news for UK fans is that the rest of this year’s contendas are all flawed. Texas looked really wobbly against K-State. I haven’t been sold on Kansas since I saw them wilt against the Spartans in last year’s regional semi-finals. Brigham Young is a fluke. Duke doesn’t have enough eye of the tiger to win six in a row. Purdue is a nice Elite Eight club, nothing more. Etc, etc.
And the next echelon down is seriously flawed. Did you watch Clemson and Georgia Tech, two Top 20 teams, try to hand the W to the other in the last minute? I’ve participated in better played games on Tuesday nights at the Y.
If I had a bracket to fill out right now, I’d have the Cats playing Michigan State on the last Monday of the season. And, if that’s the case, you betta believe that IU coach Tom Crean would help his mentor Tom Izzo try to figure out a way to snuff out the Wildcats. It worked last year against the Cards.
– Seedy K