by Libby Nelson
The University of Connecticut Huskies made a triumphant return to the NCAA tournament this year — winning the national championship Monday night — after the school was barred from competition in 2013 for poor academic performance.
But UConn's graduation rate for male basketball players is still the worst of any team in the 2014 tournament.
UConn graduates 8 percent of its players, according to the most recent NCAA statistics. To put it another way: of the 12 players who started as freshmen eight years ago, exactly one managed to finish a college degree or leave UConn in good academic standing.
The University of Florida, whom the Huskies beat to advance to the championship, has a graduation success rate of 60 percent; the University of Kentucky, playing UConn tonight, has a graduation rate of 82 percent.
Okay, but are you really, really sure that Kentucky graduates 82% of its male basketball players? Isn't Kentucky coach John Calipari's whole strategy to recruit one-and-done NBA prospects, who have to spend exactly one year in college before they are eligible for the pros?
"If you recruit guys who you know are going to be there for four years, you'll probably be in the NIT, and that's not a good thing at Kentucky," [Calipari] said. "You recruit the best players you can, and if someone is going to take them in the first round, I tell them to go."
Didn't Kentucky win the NCAA in 2012 and immediately have two freshmen get drafted #1 and #2 by the NBA? Didn't Calipari start five freshmen this year? Doesn't Calipari have one white senior who is still at Kentucky while all his other recruits are in pro ball or long gone? Yes, Jon Hood:
... [Hood] has many friends who are former teammates that have gone on to the NBA while he remained for a five-year career. By Hood’s count, he has 17 numbers in his phone for former Wildcats now in the pros, with whom he at least semi-regularly connects. A good deal of them are the one-and-doners and the early departers, who took leave of Lexington not long after they took a college class for the first time. Hood stayed, the only player on the current Final Four roster remaining from the 2009-10 season, John Calipari’s first in Lexington.
Coach Calipari makes $5.2 million per year. He doesn't get paid that for having a benchwarmer graduate, he gets paid that for recruiting superstars who have no intention of finishing their second semester at UK.
Eventually, the Vox article gets around to admitting that its statistics are from 2003-2006, back in the Tubby Smith Era of recruiting. Kentucky's starting five tonight were mostly under ten years old in 2003-2006. The past is a different country ...
This kind of dumb miscue is normal in the news biz where the goal is to churn out crud fast. But, Ezra Klein has spent three months explaining how he's going to revolutionize journalism by providing Deep Context.
Oh, well, that appears to have lasted about 24 hours ...
Part of what Dead Tree Newspapers provide is institutional memory -- old codgers in the newsroom who have been around long enough to remember things like that Kentucky is different than it was ten years ago, that in fact it's now the most extreme example of one-and-done.
Also, when making a bar chart, there's no need to make each bar a separate color.