Could an Anti-One-and-Done Culture Quietly Be Developing at UK?
I don't want to get my hopes up, so I'll proceed with caution here. I'll begin by saying I am not at all crazy about the one-and-done culture in college basketball.
But I'm not going to jump on a bandwagon so many have and say that it's exploited at the University of Kentucky.
But the way John Calipari has recruited at UK since he arrived in 2009--which, by the way, is revolutionary and is part of why he is in the Hall of Fame--has sort of created a mindset for young players that they can go to UK or Duke or Kansas or someplace and, in one year, they are ready for the bright lights and the big cities of the NBA.
Obviously, we know there are other-worldly talents who can do it. Anthony Davis and Zion Williamson are two that immediately leap to mind.
But some can't and shouldn't and think that because they were recruited by this school or that school, it's a lead-pipe cinch.
That brings me to Kahlil Whitney.
Whitney came to UK last fall as a five-star freshman and anticipation was high. But his on-court production wasn't what Calipari had hoped and Whitney began to see diminished minutes.
Last week, Whitney announced he would transfer from UK. According to ESPN, in his statement, Whitney said that his time at Kentucky had not gone as he'd hoped.
Well, his "time" at Kentucky lasted all of three months.
That's pretty noteworthy considering the irony sitting at the other end of the bench (that is, when he's ON the bench).
Junior Nick Richards had 25 points and 14 rebounds in the road win at Texas Tech Saturday. In the post-game press conference, he acknowledged that the general thinking for anyone regarding playing for UK is "one-and-done." But Richards sat there at the podium and told the media that sometimes it ISN'T one-and-done. Sometimes you need time to develop.
Richards' first two seasons at Kentucky weren't anything to write home about, but he stayed the course and is now an invaluable member of UK's rotation.
The 'Cats LOSE that Texas Tech game if Nick Richards isn't playing.
Same could be said for Immanuel Quickley, a role player as a freshman and not much of a contributor.
But his sophomore season has Quickley shooting at better than a 40% clip from beyond the three-point line, sinking 91% of his free thows, and putting up 14 points a game.
He stayed and he's improved and can STILL improve.
Could Calipari's current stable of upperclassmen unknowingly be sending a message about "one-and-done culture?" I've sure been reading a lot of analysis about what Nick Richards said about how he's grown.