By LARRY VAUGHT
No writer covers college basketball better than Mike DeCourcy of The Sporing News and both coaches and players respect him, as do other media members.
Kentucky fans certainly should have liked the recent column he wrote about UK’s academic success — and how some still refuse to believe it.
Here’s part of his recent column:
“There are some lies in sports that are kept rather busy, but the one that seems to hang around college basketball most persistently is this: that Kentucky is employing a band of athletes who only need to pass a few fall credits and then don’t even have to go to class in the spring.
It’s been false since John Calipari’s first season on the job in 2009-10, and it remained false every year since. How do we know? UK basketball’s score under the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate measurement is a perfect 1,000 for the 2012-13 academic year and 989 on a multiyear basis.
Eight Division I basketball programs will be banned from postseason play in 2015 because of deficient APR scores: Alabama State, Appalachian State, Florida A&M, Houston Baptist, Lamar, Milwaukee, San Jose State and Central Arkansas. Milwaukee made the field last season as champion of the Horizon League.
Kentucky will have no such concerns, even though it lost five players to early NBA Draft entry in 2012 and two in 2013, including five “one-and-done” players. The Wildcats have managed to get it done academically with those prospects while they’ve been on campus.
It’d be nice if these numbers at least put to rest the notion that Kentucky players are taking shortcuts during the time they spend on campus, whether that time lasts one year (Anthony Davis), two (the Harrison twins), three (Willie Cauley-Stein) or four (Darius Miller).”
While not every UK player is on the Dean’s List, I do think the Kentucky basketball program values education more than most want to realize. I still remember James Young’s godfather, Sean Mahone, telling me before the Final Four that no matter what happened, Young would concentrate on finishing his academic work this year at UK because it was made clear to him when he was recruited that was expected — and he accepted that.