Meeks Leaves KentuckyPosted by nvr1983 on June 15th, 2009
In one of the more secretly important deadline decisions of the day, Kentucky junior Jodie Meeks has decided to stay in the NBA Draft and forgo his senior year in Lexington. Although many draft pundits would question the decision because Meeks is only projected as a late first to early second round pick (Insider access required), Fran Fraschilla brings up the point that this year’s class is extremely weak and Meeks might not rise any higher even if he comes back for another year. Normally I would agree with the dogma that an underclassman shouldn’t leave without a first round guarantee (I’m assuming Meeks hasn’t received one), but I have to agree with Fraschilla on this one. For all of Meeks’ talent and scoring prowess, NBA scouts just don’t seem that interested in him. He’s unlikely to jump more than a few spots, but could drop as well depending on which players declare next year.
However, since this is a college basketball site we’re more concerned with the effect it will have on next season and John Calipari‘s Kentucky Wildcats. When asked about Meeks’ decision Calipari simply said, “We’ll be fine.” Not to go Bill Clinton on Calipari, but I’m curious what he means when he says the Wildcats will be “fine”. The Wildcats will certainly exceed last year’s poor performance, but after the summer they had the folks in Lexington were probably already booking hotel rooms in Indianapolis to watch their beloved Wildcats cut down the nets. While the current iteration of the Wildcats (featuring Patrick Patterson, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Daniel Orton, and Eric Bledsoe) certainly has the potential to do so, but if Calipari had been able to lure Meeks back the Wildcats would have been the prohibitive favorites to cut down the nets. With Meeks leaving the Wildcats are still a top 5-10 team, but the lack of a proven perimeter scorer puts them a level below Kansas. The Wildcats will still have the ability to beat any team in the nation, but the lack of a proven perimeter threat will make them a much easier out in the tournament unless Wall, Bledsoe, or Jon Hood can develop into that threat by next March.