Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kevin Haskin: Bluebloods Play Their Young-and-Dones; When Will KU?

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kevin Haskin: Bluebloods Play Their Young-and-Dones; When Will KU?

Article excerpt

LAWRENCE -- The topic just seems to permeate whenever John Calipari is front and center, and he will be on stage Tuesday when Kentucky plays Kansas in the Champions Classic.

The unsavory issue of one-and-done recruits in college basketball can always be traced to Calipari and the success he enjoys corralling such talent and winning with it.

But this is not about Calipari ... nor the top-ranked Wildcats ... nor their nine McDonald's All-Americans off the high-dollar menu ... nor the two-platoon system Cal incorporates using his stud stockpile ... nor Larry Brown's prediction Kentucky could split its squads and be ranked No. 1 and No. 2 ... nor Brown's other prediction that UK could go 45-0 this season, if for some reason UK was allowed 45 games.

No, any attention placed on pros masquerading as college students for a semester (OK, maybe two, three or four at the most) cannot entirely be traced to Calipari and the Cats. Nor to Kentucky's celebrated title in 2012 at the Jayhawks' expense, in the national championship game.

"The landscape for college basketball has been changed forever, and not by that team in 2012," KU coach Bill Self said. "It's been changed because the best players are never going to make it to their junior or senior years.

"So obviously, the teams that recruit the best, and Kentucky has done that better than anybody else ... you'll always be talking about how young they are, but that's the nature of the business. You won't have any (veteran) teams like we had in '08."

Maybe we could bring up Wichita State and its Final Four run two years ago, but the Shockers lost to Kentucky in the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season, so I'll get to the point.

Which is ... How does Self cope this season with his new talent?

He is one year removed from having one of the more hyped one-and- dones in recent memory in Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins became the second No. 1 overall pick to come out of KU, joining Danny Manning. He was anointed for that draft spot before he ever committed to the Jayhawks.

When Wiggins got to Kansas, he had to play. Start, in fact. …

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