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Pitino says three players will bolt for the NBA

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Well, I think we have the answer to the scholarship question.

Pitino said today at Big East Media Day that junior Terrence Williams and sophomores Derrick Caracter and Earl Clark likely will play only one more year in a U of L uniform before they turn pro.

"I have my opinion on those guys, being an ex-pro coach," Pitino said. "I do think they're ready for the NBA. Now, they have a lot of improvements to make, but I think they can handle it and they have my blessing. if I didn't feel that way, I think they would listen to me."

Pitino said he thought Williams and Caracter would definitely leave, and that Clark wants to turn pro if he can have a good year.

"We're very open about," Pitino said. "I told them, if you want to be a pro draft choice, win. Look at Florida."

I realize that this is probably more of a motivational tool on Pitino's part than anything else, but while they may certainly prove me wrong this season I remain unconvinced that any of these three are ready for the NBA. That said, I think Caracter's definitely gone regardless of how this season plays out, and I think Williams has convinced himself that he's going to leave despite saying he wanted to stay four years in the wake of last year's loss in the round of 32. Clark is a level-headed kid and I think he'll act appropriately based on how he performs during the season and what his options are afterwards, and I actually think that he probably has the best chance of being a first round draft choice in '08.

Pitino's right about the winning thing, if Joakim Noah had played at Auburn then there's no way he would have been a top ten draft pick. If Louisville were to win a national championship this season, then I think it's safe to assume that all three of these guys would have done enough to prove that they belong in the league, and I hope that's what happens.

Pitino said that he wants to sign six or seven kids in this recruiting class, and Tyreke Evans would be number six. Although my fear that he's going to be wearing Memphis blue this time next year continues to grow.