BOZICH | Monday Muse: Lottery picks do not equal NCAA titles; Musburger high on UK football
Is putting three players in NBA Draft Lottery but not winning NCAA title a reason for John Calipari to beam or blush? Brent Musberger is bullish on UK football. Illinois offers a 10-year-old.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The NBA Draft is final. The College World Series has been reduced to a Southeastern Conference weekend series.
The college football countdown clock is running but we’re a long way from Game Week. Ice Cube did not bring his three-on-three basketball shindig to town.
What’s left for an early summer Monday Muse?
1. Lottery Talent ≠ Titles
On Thursday night in Brooklyn, the 2016-17 University of Kentucky basketball team joined an exclusive club – teams that had three players selected in the NBA Draft Lottery. Confetti toss.
Since 2003, only six college teams have produced at least three Lottery picks in the following NBA Draft. Here is the list:
North Carolina, 2005.
North Carolina, 2012.
Hold the confetti.
Two of those squads won the NCAA title, Florida (Al Horford, Joakim Noah, Corey Brewer) and North Carolina (Marvin Williams, Raymond Felton, Sean May, Rashad McCants; although sources say that 2005 title is under review by the NCAA).
Four did not.
Roy Williams whiffed with Harrison Barnes, Kendall Marshall and John Henson in 2012, exiting the NCAA Tournament in the Elite Eight with a 13-point loss to Kansas.
John Calipari has a smorgasbord of choices for the team that did not deliver in March or April the way it did when it really matters in June.
In fact, I’d put the 2017 team third on the list. The Wildcats made it to the Elite Eight before losing to the North Carolina squad that won two more games and the national title in Phoenix. De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk and Bam Adebayo had a nice season – and run.
The 2015 team, the one that featured Karl-Anthony Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein, Devin Booker and Trey Lyles, would place second on my list. They won 38 of 39 games and lost to a solid and superbly coached Wisconsin team.
I’d top the list with Calipari’s first Kentucky team, the one led by John Wall (pick No. 1), DeMarcus Cousins (No. 5), Patrick Patterson (No. 14), Eric Bledsoe (No. 18) and Daniel Orton (No. 29) but could not solve West Virginia’s 1-3-1 zone in the 2010 regional final at Syracuse.
The question is inevitable:
Is having three NBA lottery picks but no NCAA title a reason to beam or blush?
2. Musburger Bullish on (Football) Wildcats
Brent Musburger will be missing from the broadcast booth when college football returns to television next month. He signed off from Rupp Arena last January and Musburger won’t be sitting in front of a play-by-play microphone this season.
But that does not mean Musburger lacks opinions. He does not. In fact, one reason Musburger made the move is he settled in Las Vegas to appear two hours every weekday on a radio show with a focus on predictions and gambling, a Musburger passion.
He is ready with an early call on the 2017 college football season. He likes the job Mark Stoops is doing at Kentucky. He’s made the Wildcats his sleeper pick in the Southeastern Conference.
“They’re going to win some big games under Mark Stoops,” Musburger told Andrew Astleford of SECCountry.com in this link.
3. Lovie in Love With 10-Year-Old
Lovie Smith couldn’t win a Super Bowl with Brian Urlacher and Devin Hester in Chicago. Maybe he can win a Big Ten championship at Illinois by offering scholarships to 10-year-olds.
According to this story at CampusInsiders.com, Smith is trying.
At the risk of getting more programs involved in this tactic or getting somebody to wave a scholarship offer in front of a 9-year-old, I’ll share the news that an athletic trainer in Los Angeles said Illinois has offered a football scholarship to Bunchie Young.
Bunchie Young is 10.
The school, thankfully, cannot comment. But the story notes that Illinois offensive coordinator Garrick McGee, who spent the 2014 and 2015 seasons at Louisville, retweeted a tweet by the trainer about the offer.
I’m not sure what else to say, except it’s time for everybody to go clean their rooms and take a nap.
4. Why Magic Traded D’Angelo Russell
Nobody knows the challenges of playing point guard for Los Angeles Lakers better than Magic Johnson. After he was named team president last season, basketball insiders wondered what Johnson thought of the way former Central High star D’Angelo Russell ran Lakers.
Now we know.
Johnson was not impressed. He believes former UCLA guard Lonzo Ball can do it better. He questioned Russell’s ability to lead.
“What I needed was a leader,” Johnson told ESPN. “I needed somebody also that can make the other players better and also [somebody] that players want to play with."
Now we know why Johnson shipped Russell to Brooklyn, where he will play for the Nets (20-62) next season.
Could have been worse. Johnson could have sent Russell to the Knicks.
5. BIG3 A Good Fit For Louisville?
Allen Iverson returned to the basketball court Sunday. Ditto for Kenyon Martin, Jason Williams, Kwame Brown and a string of former NBA players.
The occasion was Ice Cube’s grand summer production – the 10-weekend BIG3 basketball tour, which started at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and will wind its way to Charlotte (next), Tulsa, Seattle, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and other stops.
One of those stops will be Lexington on Aug. 6.
Is three-on-three, half-court basketball something that will fill 24,000 seats on the first weekend in August in Lexington?
Is it something that could have filled one of those open dates the KFC Yum! Center needs to fill to make its financial obligations?
Or, is BIG3 basketball something America will forget by week three?
Just thought I’d ask.
6. With the First Pick in the 2018 NBA Draft …
Only 51 more shopping weeks until the 2018 NBA Draft, which means I’m late with this item.
Looks like another strong year across the Bluegrass with three more local players projected to taken in the first 14 picks known as the Draft Lottery.
Two are Calipari recruits – UK guard Hamidou Diallo and forward Kevin Knox. The other will play for Rick Stansbury at Western Kentucky – center Mitchell Robinson.
Sam Vecenie made his first round picks at The Sporting News at this link.
7. Never Heard of Seinfeld? No Soup For Bellinger
The next generation of baseball stars are taking control. I’m not talking about Mike Trout and Bryce Harper.
I’m talking about guys like Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The most remarkable thing Bellinger has done this season has been to rip 24 home runs in 57 games, putting him four ahead of the second-most prolific power hitter in the National League.
The Dodgers are four games from the mid-point of their season, which makes a full season projection for Bellinger tricky. I’ll go with 51.
Perhaps by September Bellinger will fix the biggest gap in his game. According to this story, he admitted he had never heard of the New York Mets’ Number One fan – Jerry Seinfeld – or his television show that is generally considered one of the top sitcoms ever.
Hey, Bellinger was born in 1995. Seinfeld’s farewell episodes were filmed in 1997, although they continue to air on local and national cable channels every night.
I’m not sure what Bellinger’s excuse is for that but yada, yada, yada your way to the link.
8. Mark Cuban Pitches High And Tight
If you watched the NBA Draft last week, you know how it works. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports! shared the first-round selections five-to-eight minutes before commissioner Adam Silver shared the news on the ESPN telecast.
With an occasional exception.
At least one NBA owner made a stand against the Scoop-A-Thon – Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. Who else?
According to this story, Cuban ordered his staff in the Dallas war room to turn off their cell phones or else. What was the or else? Cuban said if the news leaked and he learned the identity of the leaker that person would be fired.
Was he serious?
I can’t say. Nothing leaked about the Mavericks’ decision to take North Carolina State point guard Dennis Smith Jr.
9. What Would You Put In Your Obituary?
You obsess about sports. I obsess about sports. My guess is that anybody reading nine items deep into the Monday Muse spends enough time chasing recruiting news, box scores and coaching changes that you’d consider doing what Patrick Killebrew did.
Killebrew (relation to Harmon Killebrew unknown) pre-wrote his obituary for the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch, crediting his demise to yet another meltdown by the horrible, terrible, no good, very bad Washington Nationals bullpen.
He did a nice job. Read along:
KILLEBREW, Patrick, "Pat," age 68, passed away peacefully at home, June 20, 2017, after watching the Washington Nationals relief pitchers blow yet another lead. Beloved father and husband, longtime attorney, former U.S. Navy Navigator and avid baseball fan and player. Join in a celebration of his life July 2, 6 to 8 p.m., at the SCA Clubhouse, 9601 Redbridge Rd., 23236. In lieu of flowers, send "donations" to the "Nationals Bullpen Fund.
Can you top that? Take your best shot.
10. Poll Results
Which player in the 2017 NBA Draft class will be the first to play in an All-Star Game?
De’Aaron Fox, Kentucky 32.8 percent
Josh Jackson, Kansas 15.9 percent
Jayson Tatum, Duke 15. 4 percent
Markelle Fultz, Washington 15.1 percent
Other 13.6 percent
Lonzo Ball, UCLA 7.2 percent.
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