College basketball in America, April was a rear-view-mirror month. In college sports here, dismal, forgettable.
Former Kentucky star Derek Anderson supplied the epilogue, sharing his opinions on coaching at Kentucky and one-and-doneism on ESPN radio.
“If Coach Cal wanted to keep these kids and develop them, he should tell them that,” Anderson told host Drew Deener. “He’s just running them in and out. It’s not him, it’s not just him, it’s the parents.”
Straight out, no frills, what he believes. Bully for Derek Anderson!
Oops. Hold on. Here came the apology. Apparently fans were inflamed, Anderson beat a hasty retreat, tried to un-ring the bell.
“I was speaking my opinion about why I thought we lost the last two seasons,” Anderson explained. “And it came out harsh (and) I apologize for that.
“But for people to attack my character is not something I take lightly as I am human and make mistakes. This message is to those that love UK like me. I was wrong and I’m moving on by supporting BBN as always. But if you have a problem with me, then don’t expect me to be kind to you in return.”
Welcome back to Real World.
Clearly, Anderson’s radio remarks were genuine, credible and food for thought. An apology dumped all that into “I-didn’tmean what-I-said” bin. A surrender to political correctness in a twitter world.
More reasons to dismiss April. v For five months Kentucky was undefeated 38-0, then it wasn’t, and those who made it so, left. v Louisville exited the NCAA’s Elite Eight rudely, a missed foul shot. Then its two premier players were invited to leave. v Big Dance Big Empty: Murray State, Western Kentucky, Indiana. v Recruiting. In a newly competitive one-and-done market, Kentucky was zero-for-April on six prime prospects still available. With scholarships still open, UK signed a JUCO. Louisville’s reload includes graduate transfer shooters from Cornell and Drexel. v Murray State’s best, sophomore Cameron Payne, announced for the NBA draft.
Then, it got worse.
College hoops took a pair of Floyd Mayweather-like body blows.
• Billy Donovan, the SEC’s best, jumped a contract at Florida with four years and millions of dollars on it, for an NBA job. His reasons included being tired of losing recruiting competitions to Kentucky.
• Calling it “adjusting to the times,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski embraced (sold out?) oneand done in the wake of losing three freshmen to the NBA this spring. The same ball coach who told Christian Laettner his jersey would not hang in Cameron Indoor Stadium’s rafters until he graduated, adopts the seven-monthsand gone plan born at Kentucky.
Then, it got better.
Hello to all new (old) people come to play, coach and run up the flag for next season. v Darrin Horn, Lexington native, television analyst with head coach stints at Western Kentucky and South Carolina on his résumé, resurfaced as assistant coach to Shaka Smart at Texas. Solid launch pad to reinvention … another head job. v John Pelphrey, Paintsville native, with nine years at Florida, was back on the coach carousel last week. At 46 his prospects are fluid, but his name was in the mix, if low, on AD Gerald Foley’s list that reportedly includes Dayton’s Archie Miller, Minnesota’s Richard Pitino and Gregg Marshall at Wichita State. v How good is this: Bud Dupree, four years at University of Kentucky, is going to be a multimillionaire linebacker playing in Steeler-crazy Pittsburgh. DeVante Parker leaves Louisville to be a big money wide receiver in sunny Miami. v And, in next wave of one-and-dones headed to Kentucky, fans could be in for a Season Delight. Sevenfoot Skal Labissiere has Anthony Davis-like qualities, but 6-3 Isaiah Briscoe is special. Can be the next People’s Choice at Rupp Arena. A dynamic passer and ball handler, Briscoe’s major skill could be making teammates better and will fit well with Tyler Ulis.
Bob Petrino’s program got itself an incalculable recruiting boost from the NFL Draft last week. Led by Devante Parker (12th to Miami), nine Cardinals were drafted and headed to NFL summer camps.
When UofL recruiters sit down in living rooms their pitch will be rich with winning seasons, bowl invites, Petrino coach stylings and NFL draftees.
Worth Repeating Dept.
From Maryland a season ago, this e-mail excerpt applies all the more to those well down the priority list at Kentucky. Fans.
“Fans like to have players they can recognize and support over their college career. I understand these young men can go pro and make millions of dollars, but they should also be working their way to an education for a career after basketball. We need more Unforgettables that fans can appreciate. I took my UK flag down today.”
And so it goes.
You can reach me at bob. Watkins24@aol.com