Kentucky set a record by having five players taken in the first round of the NBA Draft. It's a nice selling point for the Kentucky program, but what does it mean?
First of all, if it wasn't for the NBA's inane age limit, the old record would still be safe. If high school players were still allowed to go straight to the pros, at the very least John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins would have been in last year's draft. I don't know if that qualifies for an asterisk or anything, but it certainly is worth noting. Plus if this wasn't the weakest draft in recent memory, there's no way Daniel Orton gets picked in the first round.
But beyond that, Kentucky setting the record only affirms two things. First, Kentucky's brand is powerful enough that it can attract great players to campus. Second, few coaches are as committed to pursuing or as good at landing obvious one-and-done guys as John Calipari is. I don't think fans anywhere needed last night to tell them those two things. We're far past the point of romanticizing college basketball anymore, but as long as the age limit exists and Calipari is in Lexington, last night's record is little more than a reminder that UK hoops is now in large part a revolving farm team for the NBA.
Sure I'm biased, but I think Florida's record of three top ten draft picks in 2007 is much more an impressive feat. It's not all about having that many guys in the top ten, but also about where they came from. Only Al Horford looked like a potential future lottery pick in their freshman season. UF's coaches in jest called Corey Brewer a "giraffe on roller skates" for his out of control play, and Joakim Noah barely ever saw the floor.
They worked hard to refine their games, and, in large part thanks to now-Alabama head coach Anthony Grant, all three were being talked about as lottery picks by the end of their sophomore seasons. Another year in college then solidified them as top ten selections.
Ultimately it doesn't matter too much, but give me the '04s over Kentucky's five any day. They even won a couple of NCAA championships to boot.