NEW ORLEANS - One season is ending and another season - the recruiting season - is heating up. Kentucky is again among the leaders in the chase for the consensus No. 1 prospect, Nerlens Noel, a 6-foot-10-inch center from Everett, Mass., and Shabazz Muhammad, a 6-6 wingman from Las Vegas. The pair, regarded as the top two prospects in the country, both have Kentucky on their list.
Noel is also looking at Syracuse and Georgetown and said he will make up his mind. Muhammad has Duke and Kansas on his list, and also will make a decision April 11.
With numerous undergrad Kentucky players expected to declare for the NBA draft, Wildcats coach John Calipari, fresh off winning his first national championship Monday night, will have to restock his roster, and he would get blue-chip prospects in Noel and Muhammad.
The larger issue is college players leaving school after one year to enter the pros. Kansas coach Bill Self has heard various proposals, including several from Calipari.
“I saw an interview with Cal when he was talking about reward the kids if they make certain grades. I don’t know how you can do all that. But that could be a possibility.
“But I do like the concept a little bit that if a player was projected to go at a certain spot, could maybe take out enough money, loan type deal or whatnot, that would give his family an opportunity to travel or do whatever the immediate needs or necessities would be.
“I think college players should be compensated in some way, shape, or form. I’ve never been a big believer to think that student-athletes should be paid, but there’s got to be some way to compensate them.
“I wish the NBA would say, ‘They just have to stay two years. I think it would make their league better. Kids right now that are talented are good enough to go get a check, but so many of them aren’t prepared to play. There’s a lot of kids out there making bad decisions and they’re not ready to have a career.’’
Miles has longevity
Much has been made about the youth of Kentucky with its collection of future NBA lottery pick freshmen. But one member of the Wildcats is a graybeard.
Monday night’s 67-59 title game win over Kansas was the 152d game of Darius Miller’s career. No Wildcat player has played more games.
“His legacy is going to be that he’s going to be in the top 30 in scoring, rebounding, and assists at Kentucky,’’ said Calipari after Miller capped his career with a 5-point, six-rebound effort.
Davis sets freshman mark
Kentucky’s Anthony Davis broke the NCAA freshman record for blocks with three first-half rejections (for his 183d) in the first 12 minutes against Kansas. He finished with six . . . Kendall Marshall of North Carolina won the Bob Cousy Award as the nation’s top point guard. Marshall was still wearing a brace on his right wrist, which he fractured during a drive to the basket in the third round of the NCAA Tournament against Creighton. He had surgery the following day but was unable to play in the loss to Kansas . . . Central Michigan will hold a news conference Tuesday to announce the hiring of Keno Davis as its coach. Davis was the AP’s national coach of the year in 2008 at Drake and coached for three seasons at Providence before being fired last March . . . Jim Baron, fired after 11 seasons at Rhode Island, signed a five-year contract to take over at Canisius . . . Ohio is expected to introduce former Texas Christian and Kent State coach Jim Christian as its next coach Tuesday . . . Texas guard J’Covan Brown, the Big 12 scoring leader this season, said he will skip his senior season and enter the NBA draft.