Lots of Talk, But Seemingly Little Truth Around Kentucky Rumors

It's been a strange week for those around the Kentucky basketball program with rumors about committed players and their head coach. For the purposes of this post we'll do our debunking in reverse chronological order. ↵

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↵Bogus Rumor No. 1: Brandon Knight (left) is going to Italy. This one came up while I was asleep and was dead by the time I woke up. ↵

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↵Even though Knight, a consensus top 10 player in next season's incoming class, has pledged to attend Kentucky next season, he hasn't signed a Letter of Intent, leaving many to speculate that he might not actually make it to UK's campus next season. ↵

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↵How this rumor even really started is beyond me, but in scouring Google News, the first hit I can find comes from this oh-so-reputable looking Blogspot blog. So I'm sorry ... how did this thing ever get steam? Stand down, Kentucky fans. This thing isn't happening. Here's your double-barreled denial. First, Draft Express' Jonathan Givony: ↵

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↵⇥There's a report floating around that Brandon Knight signed w/a team in Italy called Biella. Its funny, because I actually work for them... No one ever asked me about him, but I checked regardless. Got a few laughs, one "no way" and that's about it. Team is fighting for survival. ↵
↵Second, we get a comment from Efrem Knight, Brandon's father, via ZagsBlog: ↵
↵⇥“That’s not true,” Efrem Knight, Brandon’s father, said Thursday morning by phone. “All that is is people trying to mess up Kentucky’s recruiting.” ↵⇥

↵⇥[...] ↵⇥

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↵⇥“It doesn’t take a rocket scientists to see through that. I assure you, he’s not going to Europe.” ↵⇥

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↵Bogus Rumor No. 2: John Calipari is leaving to coach the Bulls. This one got an equally swift denial on Tuesday. ↵

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↵Adrian Wojnarowski posted a tweet with his report at 3:45 p.m. on Tuesday. Roughly 15 minutes later, Calipari had already taken to Twitter to debunk the report (in two tweets: ↵

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↵⇥Throughout my career I've been mentioned for other jobs. Now that I'm here u won't hear about other colleges because I've got the best job. Every year you will hear my named mentioned for NBA jobs because I coached in the league before. I'm very happy at Kentucky. ↵
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↵Now we have word UK is working on a deal to keep Cal until he retires Whether or not he stays that long is up in the air, but he'll certainly get a fat raise out of this latest rumor. Hopefully Calipari sends Woj a fruit basket or something. (UPDATE: Evidently he doesn't even want a raise.) ↵

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↵At least the Calipari rumor -- unlike the Knight one -- had some degree of logic and a reputable name alongside it. Purely from a viewer's perspective, why wouldn't Calipari be intrigued by Chicago? Derrick Rose, a reasonably talented cast and the potential to land a 2010 free agent. That's significantly better than walking into the situation he inherited in New Jersey. ↵

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↵Strongly Denied Rumor No. 3: Calipari is still recruiting Washington verbal commitment Terrence Jones (right, at the top of the post). ↵

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↵While the first two rumors are dead in the water, the Terrence Jones recruiting saga rolls along. Jones was part of a big ceremony last Friday, pledging his loyalty to the Washington Huskies, but left everyone wondering what he'd do when he didn't sign his letter of intent. He reportedly spoke on the phone with Calipari and broke the news he wouldn't be attending UK, but afterward he declined to sign his LOI, leaving many to speculating that it was still "Game on!" in his recruitment. For his part, Calipari is saying he won't recruit kids who have committed: ↵

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↵⇥“If he's made a verbal commitment, for me, we just lay off … until the kid publicly says, ‘I've decommitted,' which has happened before,'” Calipari said. “If they decommit, then (I would recruit a player), but I would not if he's committed to a school.” ↵
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↵The Oregonian caught up with Jones, who still isn't ready to put pen to paper just yet. ↵

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↵⇥"I'm still committed to Washington," Jones said on Wednesday, "but I'm not willing to sign anything at this point." ↵
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↵Maybe Jones really is agonizing over a decision between Kentucky and Washington. Or maybe he's just trying to retain what little power he has in the process. As we've already discussed a few times in this space, signing an LOI provides no real benefit to the athlete, particularly a blue-chipper like Jones who obviously has a spot at UW regardless. In the end, the fanaticism about this story could turn out to be everyone desperately clinging to the last storyline of recruiting season and giving it way more attention than it ever deserved. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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