What passes for a good day in Kentucky basketball? The standards are high. They include competing for and winning national championships, recruiting the best players in the country, annually sending many of them to the NBA, all while maintaining the most startlingly (and, in its way, charmingly) obsessed fan base in the country.
And even by those lofty standards, it's safe to say Kentucky had a pretty awesome Wednesday. Let's review:
Center Nerlens Noel, the No. 1 prospect in the class of 2012 and an early favorite to be drafted No. 1 overall in the NBA draft next summer, was officially cleared by the NCAA to play in the upcoming season. His coach, John Calipari, had maintained this would be the case, but it wasn't a sure thing. Now we can be sure: The full measure of yet another stellar Calipari recruiting class will come to bear in 2012-13.
Kentucky added yet another highly touted recruit to its 2013 class, which already included three of the top five players, as ranked by ESPN recruiting. The latest addition is Marcus Lee, a power forward ranked No. 28 overall. That decision gives Calipari four top-30 commitments for the class of 2013 -- No. 2 Andrew Harrison, No. 4 Aaron Harrison, No. 5 James Young and now Lee -- in the past two weeks alone. And with Julius Randle, the No. 3-ranked player, also a Kentucky target, he may not even be done. Insane.
Calipari was on ESPN's Bristol campus participating in what is colloquially known as the "car wash," in which a player or coach makes an appearance on just about every show or platform possible in the matter of a few hours. Calipari seemed in a celebratory mood, connecting with old TV mates and traveling with his crew in relative style.
The new-look Wildcats, rebuilt from the ground up with Noel and a batch of other NBA-ready talents, were profiled in this excellent all-access feature by our own Jason King. Read it; it's really good.
Oh, and at 7 p.m ET, UK will be featured in All Access: Kentucky, which is going to be entertaining and hopefully revealing, but at the very least will be good for Kentucky, affording the opportunity to show off -- if anyone was still unaware -- exactly what allows the program to maintain this level of success.
So, yeah. I'd say my Wednesday was pretty solid. Kentucky's wasn't solid. It wasn't good, or even great. It was downright triumphal.