Kentucky basketball is “succeed and proceed,” not 1 and done


trey lyles kentucky basketball wildcats basketball

Although there are no former Kentucky basketball players currently on the Portland Trail Blazers roster, but Kentucky basketball is truly basketball trailblazing. “One-and-done” is not a risque, controversial, novel concept anymore. It’s establishment. Like John Calipari says it’s “succeed and proceed.”

Hopefully, last week brought us the last NBA Draft in which the phrase “one-and-done” is considered a narrative.

That storyline is long since played out; even though it came up a lot during pre-Draft media conference calls. It’s not just a Kentucky thing anymore, although Calipari perfected it first in Lexington. Duke is doing it now, although when Coach K does it, the media don’t portray it as “bad for the game” or “making a mockery of higher education.”

Of course not, in the media’s eyes, Mike Krzyzewski can never do wrong.

Hopefully, that narrative fades in time as well.


A record six Kentucky basketball players were selected at the 2015 NBA Draft, including the No. 1 overall pick in Karl-Anthony Towns. The six draft picks is the most in NBA history and ties its own record set in 2012.

Tying an NBA record, four Wildcats were selected in the NBA lottery (the opening 14 picks), which also tops a program record set by the 2010 Kentucky team for most picks in that range.

Aaron Harrison had been projected into the late second rounds of some mock drafts, and had he actually been picked, it would have made a new record breaking seven. So yes, “succeed and proceed” is a Coach Cal book marketing slogan. It’s a bumper sticker talking point, but it’s also the honest to God truth.

Like Stephen Colbert said when he had Cal on in April of 2014, for two years it would be “two and toodle-loo,” or “three and flee” for juniors. Like Colbert said, it has to rhyme, and if it rhymes it’s true.


“Six guys get drafted and tie a record, four lottery picks and another No. 1 pick – it’s been another unbelievable night,” Calipari said.

“I’m proud of the guys. Our job as coaches is to help these kids realize their dreams. I’m so happy that a lot of lives were changed tonight. I’m disappointed that Aaron (Harrison) didn’t get drafted, but he will be fine. I will tell you that he will be on a summer league team and fighting for a position on an NBA team. My guess is he will be on an opening-season roster even though he wasn’t drafted.”


There’s nothing wrong with a college hoops program becoming a de facto NBDL franchise. There’s nothing ethically or morally questionable about this at all.

So succeed and proceed Kentucky basketball, succeed and proceed

Paul M. Banks owns, operates and writes The Sports, which is partnered with Fox Sports Digital. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, currently contributes to the Chicago Tribune RedEye edition. He also appears regularly on numerous sports talk radio stations all across the country.

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