Wednesday, June 29, 2005

NBA Draft - University of Kentucky perspective

Being a hardcore UK Wildcats fan, I knew watching the NBA Draft last night was a waste of my time. Sure, I hoped the kids that once played for the program would have their names called, but I knew there was little chance of that happening.

I was pulling for Chuck Hayes more than Kelenna Azubuike and Randolph Morris. Chuck gave his heart and soul to the program for four years and was a winner in every sense of the word. Unfortunately, he just didn't have a wealth of NBA talent. I predict he will sign a free agent contract and will make a team.

The other two players, KAZ and Randolph, won't be as fortunate. They have given up college careers for a life without basketball, NBA basketball at least.

Reading the Wildcat Faithfulmessage boards is downright depressing as fans spew their venom on these two players and their decisions. Don't hate the players for doing what they did. You can dislike their decisions because of the impact it will have on the team, but they are kids that made bad decisions. No more, no less.

I don't have any ill will towards KAZ. His situation is different than most underclassmen. Not his fault his father is a criminal and cost his family hundreds of thousands of dollars. KAZ was trying to step up and take care of his family. I admire that. Just unfortunate that one more year probably would have put his name on a draft board somewhere.

Randolph, on the other hand, handled his situation with poor class. Faxing your declaration for the NBA draft to your college head coach and avoiding any contact was a piss poor decision. He had terrible advisers along the way that fed him incredibly bad information regarding his draft status. One or two more years at UK could have done two things for him: possibly be a national champion and potential lottery pick. Instead, he will be working out for teams in the NBADL and making a couple hundred bucks a game.

I hope each player can realize their dreams. I just wish they would have made better choices and stayed at UK. They are forever linked to UK and I appreciate the time they gave to a great program.

Finally, I have grown up reading Pat Forde, now with ESPN, in the Louisville Courier-Journal. I honestly think he is one of the best sports columnists out there. Great piece about the players I have mentioned here on ESPN today.

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