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Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Handicapping Kentucky's early decisions

By Eamonn Brennan

On Monday, the announcement came: All five starters for the 2012 national champion Kentucky Wildcats would announce their NBA draft intentions, or lack thereof, at a Tuesday afternoon news conference. With all the decisions up in the air, I thought it would be instructive to take a look at each player's individual likelihood of entering his name in the NBA draft, based on the very scientific system you'll see below:

Center Anthony Davis: Um, obviously.

Small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist: Double obviously.

Forward Terrence Jones: Almost as obvious as Davis and MKG (almost).

Guard Doron Lamb: He got 22 in the national title game. He's going.

Guard Marquis Teague: Are UK fans still holding out hope? They're not, right?

At the risk of beating a dumb joke into the ground, well, you get the idea. A couple of weeks ago, there may have been some vague question as to whether Teague or Lamb would return and attempt to take on a starring role in 2012-13. But even that question came after Kentucky coach John Calipari said he hoped he'd have six players drafted in the first round of the 2012 NBA draft (with senior Darius Miller being the sixth) just minutes after winning the national title. By this point, the Associated Press is leading its UK announcement story with quotes like this one ...
But with the possibility that all of his starters could leave college early, coach John Calipari said: "My guess is we'll need a new batch."

... and it's rather clear Tuesday's announcements are going to be anticlimactic. All five players are going pro.* This isn't the least bit surprising, of course, not with Davis and MKG as the possible No. 1 and No. 2 overall, with Jones as a likely lottery pick, and with Lamb and Teague as potential first-rounders, and certainly not with the "players-first" ethos Calipari so vocally espouses. But if there was any doubt at all out there, I'd say "my guess is we'll need a new batch" should go ahead and quell that. As if it needed quelling in the first place.

*Now watch me write this and watch Teague stay. If there is anything powerful enough to change this outcome, it's the world's ability to make even my surest predictions look worthless.

In which case ... you're welcome, Big Blue Nation.