Trey Lyles isn't the first basketball prospect to choose between Kentucky and Louisville. He's merely the latest.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The prediction here has not moved a millimeter from the moment Trey Lyles de-committed from Indiana. Lyles will play college basketball at the University of Kentucky.
Lyles is a senior at Indianapolis Tech, a full-sized forward with guard skills. His supporting cast expects him to be in the NBA after one college season. That is the profile of a guy who plays for John Calipari, not Rick Pitino.
Once, Lyles was at the top of this recruiting class. Now, after a summer of limited participation, he has slipped several spots on some national boards.
Lyles won't slip any more – not after his Instagram-fueled announcement Monday that his final two choices are Louisville and Kentucky. Trey Lyles will be the talk of basketball beyond the Bluegrass until he makes his call.
Twitter might try to convince you Lyles is the first player to make such a fractious call. He isn't. He is only the latest.
Here is a partial list. Some made the right call. Others made choices that we'll always be debating.
1. Wes Unseld (Louisville) – The story has it that people convinced Adolph Rupp that Unseld was the perfect player to integrate the Kentucky basketball program in 1964. Unseld had other unshakable plans – and will forever stand as a Cardinal icon.
2. Melvin Turpin (Kentucky) – Turpin was a Lexington kid so it was always going to be tricky getting him to Freedom Hall. U of L tried. Turpin scored more than 1,500 points for the Wildcats,a remarkable total considering he was often in Sam Bowie's shadow.
Operating in the high post of a Denny Crum offense, Turpin could have been the piece that upgraded the Cardinals' 1982 and 1983 Final Fours to national titles.
3. Billy Thompson (Louisville) – Nobody was ranked higher than Thompson in the Class of 1982. His recruiting was so crazy that Digger Phelps lost his mind talking about it. Thompson rarely performed like the best player in that class – until it counted in March of 1986. The Cards' national title made Thompson's first three uneven seasons worthwhile.
4. Winston Bennett (Kentucky) – Joe B. Hall was determined to tear down the recruiting wall that Crum and Wade Houston constructed around Louisville. Bennett made the right call blasting through the opening and into the SEC. His broad-shouldered style was a better fit in Hall's power-sweep offense.
5. Kenny Payne (Louisville) – Payne had a nice junior year and played his way into the first round of the 1989 NBA Draft as a senior. But he settled for scraps of playing time as a freshman and sophomore. There's no question Payne could have gotten more time at UK. Payne took his do-over. He's been one of Calipari's assistants at UK since 2009.
6. Rex Chapman (Kentucky) – This is a no-brainer. I can't imagine a guard who fit Crum's system better than Chapman. He could jump. He could post. He could guard multiple positions. He scored over 1,000 points in two seasons – even while playing in Eddie Sutton's straight-jacket. Chapman, Pervis Ellison, Herbert Crook, Felton Spencer, Tony Kimbro, LaBradford Smith … imagine the possibilities. I have.
7. John Pelphrey (Kentucky) – Credit Louisville for Pelphrey's success in Lexington. The Wildcats weren't really gaga about Pelphrey until it was apparent Pelphrey was serious about leaving Paintsville to take Crum's scholarship offer. Sutton softened – and was later asked to leave town. What a blessing for Pelphrey. Rick Pitino made Pelphrey's UK career unforgettable. He made the right call.
8. Dwayne Morton (Louisville) – Pitino wanted to build the pipeline that Hall started with Bennett. Morton wasn't comfortable making that move. He stayed home, scored more than 1,400 points but never made a dent in the NBA. Sometimes I wonder … don't you?
9. Jason Osborne (Louisville) – Pitino wanted Osborne more than he wanted Morton. Osborne and Crum never clicked. Osborne and Pitino would have certainly clashed, but I believe Osborne would have emerged as a better player.
10. Rodney Dent (Kentucky) – The big man did good things for the Wildcats until he blew out his knee in 1994. This one ended with an incomplete. Whatever happened to Rodney Dent?
11. Derek Anderson (Ohio State, then Kentucky) – Not many guys say, "No," to both schools. Anderson didn't feel enough love from either place and headed to Big Ten country from Doss High School. Not many guys get a second chance. Anderson did. He won one national championship in 1996 and was racing toward another when he tore a knee ligament in 1997. He's not a Kentucky icon, but he's close enough.
12. Marquis Teague (Kentucky) – The entire recruiting buzz on Teague was Louisville, Louisville, Louisville because Pitino had coached Teague's father. Then Kentucky hired Calipari. The Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans, John Wall legacy changed everything – and Teague made it to the NBA in one season with a national championship ring.
13. Chane Behanan (Louisville) – Behanan had his opportunity to follow the one-and-done flight path. He passed. He should have passed. He was never a one-and-done player. Now Behanan has a signature performance from a national championship game on his resume – and a better chance of getting to the NBA and staying in the NBA by playing three college seasons for Pitino.