Malik Newman. An explosive combo guard from Jackson, Mississippi, committed to Mississippi State on April 24th. Newman chose Mississippi State over Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida State, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, LSU, Memphis, N.C. State, North Carolina, Ole Miss, Duke Georgetown, and Southern Miss. I wasn’t that caught off guard by Newman’s decision to stay in his home state, but what was surprising was the latest thing in college basketball: joining together to be dominate.
Everyone outside of Miami Heat fans were furious when the ‘Big 3’ of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh formed as many started to protest the league for allowing this to happen. Critics started to get more onto the Heat’s ‘Big 3′ after the NBA won’t let the Chris Paul to the Lakers trade go through. Everyone hated that these superstars joined together, so why wasn’t there a huge outrage about the same thing happening in college basketball?
The Kentucky Wildcats had nine All-Americans on their roster during the 2014-2015 NCAAB season. Nine. The team that made the National Title game versus the Duke Blue Devils, the Wisconsin Badgers had zero. The Wildcats pulled a Miami Heat, and used their advantage in recurring over every college basketball school in the nation, to form a team that could go 40-0. The team of nine All-Americans was only two wins away from completing the feat, but they already had the most wins out of any college basketball team in a single season ever.
The nine Kentucky Wildcats that were brought in as All-Americans to Kentucky were, Alex Poythress, Aaron Harrison, Andrew Harrison, Dakari Johnson, Marcus Lee, Devin Booker, Trey Lyles, Karl Anthony-Towns, and Tyler Ullis. Of course the Wildcats went down to eight after Alex Poythress’ knee injury, but the feat was beyond incredible. Kentucky having nine All-Americans was so many that no other team in the NBA had nine, as most NBA teams averaged 4.9 All-Americans on their rosters. The only team in NBA history to ever finish a season with nine All-Americans are the Charlotte Hornets.
Kentucky was almost one of two teams to have nine All-Americans this season, as Duke would have had Jabari Parker, Rodney Hood, Quinn Cook, Marshall Plumlee, Rasheed Suliamon Amile Jefferson, Matt Jones, Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones, Justise Winslow and Grayson Allen. This didn’t happen because both Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood declared for the NBA Draft. Kentucky joined the 1984 North Carolina Tar Heels to have nine All-Americans as that Tar Heels team was lead most famously by Michael Jordan.
What I just mentioned shows how much college basketball seems to be changing. You are telling me that both Kentucky and Duke would have had 18 All-Americans combined basically dominating the recruiting class? It’s not the first time for Wildcats head coach John Calipari to have a loaded roster as well. The 2009-2010 Kentucky Wildcats featured, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledose, and Patrick Patterson. All of those players are very well known in the NBA today. So you might be thinking to yourself, well of course top recruits are always going to go with the bigger schools due to the fact that they might be able to get more attention drawn to themselves. In my opinion, college basketball is becoming what we don’t want it to be.
We don’t want to see kids that join teams to win titles when some of them aren’t even 20-years old yet. We don’t want to see one team get favored to win the whole title from the start. We want to see players want to build themselves up to get to the NBA and not join other teams and get noticed while not doing much.
Seven Kentucky Wildcats players declared for the NBA Draft shortly after their Final Four loss to the Wisconsin Badgers. Karl Anthony-Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein, Devin Booker, Trey Lyles, Dakari Johnson, Aaron Harrison, and Andrew Harrison all declared for the Draft.
“We just wanted to chase our dreams,” Towns said at the news conference announcing multiple players declaring for the NBA Draft.
“It’s the start of something big for all of us, and it’s definitely a tough decision,” Cauley-Stein said.
“I’m not convincing anyone to stay, and I’m not pushing anyone out the door,” Kentucky head coach John Calipari said. “This is their choice, with their family.”
Due to Kentucky’s star power they had platoons. The white platoon and the blue platoon. That decreased Kentucky players minutes and made their numbers go down. Isn’t that kind of scary to think about? These guys are going to the NBA and didn’t get enough college basketball experience under their belt like others have. The NBA doesn’t allow you to go right out of high school, but it seems like it’s happening in college now when these players don’t get the amount of minutes they could have else where.
I get winning. Everyone loves to win. I applaud them for all coming together and going for one goal. However, shouldn’t you be thinking about your future in college? You left all your friends in high school. Now, what you are going to do is join up with new friends at a new college just because your all really good at a sport? We have seen college basketball over take the classroom way too many times in recent years as well, as the schools Syracuse and North Carolina come to mind when I write this. The recruiting seems way too un-fair at times, but Malik Newman showed that he wants a different path.
Dakari Johnson, a center coming out of Kentucky is projected to be a second round pick. Johnson averaged a mere 5.8 points per game and 4.3 rebounds per game. A point guard who averaged 16.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 4.1 assists is barley in any of the mock drafts out there right now. This is total crap. A player who worked this hard in Keifer Sykes shouldn’t have no talk about him just because of the college he went two. A guy who averages double figures less than him who went to Kentucky is getting more talk than Sykes. Sykes went to the university of Wisconsin-Green Bay. No one wanted Stephen Curry when it came to recruiting, and look at him now. I rather take a player who worked his butt off to get where he is now rather than a guy who gets 16.3 minutes per game and be considered better. Sykes played in an average of 35 minutes per game. I applaud this young man for working hard to get where he is, not just because the jersey he wears says Kentucky, Duke, Kansas or whatever.
Malik Newman deserves big ups for this one too. He’s showing that he’s not all about trying to win yet. While a college ring is cool, you are trying to make a name for yourself so you could be that number on pick or you could be that star in the NBA with the right experience in college that everyone deserves. Malik Newman is one smart young man.
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