Saturday, August 6, 2011

Kentucky fans should hope the NBA lockout drags into winter

Leave it to Kentucky coach John Calipari to find a creative way to turn the NBA lockout into a positive for his program.

Calipari announced via Twitter on Thursday night that former Wildcats Rajon Rondo, John Wall and Eric Bledsoe will enroll in classes at Kentucky for the fall semester if the lockout lasts that long. That means three pro point guards would be on campus through at least December and likely be able to work out every day with freshman Marquis Teague and NC State transfer Ryan Harrow, the Wildcats' two point guards of the future.

If the ex-Kentucky guards truly are able to practice with the team as student assistant coaches as Kentucky Sports Radio suggests, that would be the latest shrewd move from Calipari in a summer in which he's had several.

First there was last month's much-publicized twitter invitation to ex-Wildcats in the NBA that they're welcome to use Kentucky's facility to train during the lockout, an offer aimed at future recruits as much as current pros. Then came this month's idea to stage an exhibition game in Lexington between a team of Kentucky legends and the Domininican national team Calipari will be coaching.

The result is a positive for Kentucky for numerous reasons.

It fosters a greater sense of family among ex-Kentucky stars than exists at many other schools. It furthers the perception in the minds of would-be Kentucky recruits that Calipari runs a "players-first program" and that they'll be able to hang with the pros should they become a Wildcat. And last but not least, it could really benefit next year's team assuming the lockout lasts long enough.

If Teague has to defend Wall or beat Rondo off the dribble during workouts or scrimmages, then the old cliche really will be true for him that the toughest competition he faces will be in practice.


Mark McGwire Mark Spitz Martina Navratilova Maurice Richard

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