UK fans are used to it by now. When you recruit the best talent in the country, you take a gamble of only having them for one year. We learned it last year with John Wall, Demarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe and Daniel Orton. Who will join those players as Calipari's next one-and-doners?
At the beginning of the season, smart money would've been on Terrence Jones being a certain to leave after his first year on campus. Nationally ranked top-10 coming out of high school, he had the numbers to back up an NBA-ready physique. However, as the season progressed, Jones became less and less the main focus of the offense and his statistical numbers got lower and lower. His importance to the team was no less, however the team's reliance on him was, which led him to star the year much stronger than he finished.
Brandon Knight is an example of having the perfect freshman year, rising to the peak at just the right time. While he was never considered "underachieving", he struggled at the NCAA level to start the year off. But, by mid-season he showed everyone why he was one of the top point guards in the country in the prep rankings. After an amazing SEC and NCAA tournament run, Knight has played his way right into a probable top 5-10 picks in this year's NBA draft. Yet, everyone knows how important education is to Knight. He came into UK academically as a sophomore and would graduate early if he were to stay.
Doron Lamb is well-known to be the one of the three who looks to get into the NBA as soon as possible. Most experts believe he'll be back for another year as it can only benefit him to gain the weight and get into size to play against the big boys.
DeAndre Liggins isn't a freshman, but he isn't a senior yet either. Having just had a baby earlier in the season, he now has a family to take care of and may have a different reason for leaving UK. He, too, had a great season and could be considered to land on a roster if he left this year.
Coach Calipari has met with his players to discuss their futures and Knight and Jones were to announce their decisions in the next few days. While it is widely expected that at least those two, along with Liggins will announce intentions for the draft, they more than likely will not hire an agent so they can keep their amatuer status in tact, should they return next year.
I selfishly hope all three stick around for what would be as dominating of a basketball as we've seen in 20+ years with the incoming class. But, there's a reason for each of them to stay and a reason for each to go!
Here's to hoping we're still cheering them all on again next year!