John Calipari did it again. He said those magical words that has everyone in Big Blue Nation more excited than normal for the start of the college basketball season.
He dropped the line ‘I hate to say it, but it could get crazy again,” during a teleconference yesterday.
With the addition of highly touted guard Jamal Murray to an already top-three ranked recruiting class, and a team returning a trio of McDonald’s All-Americans, it’s easy to understand why Coach Cal is so excited for the upcoming season to begin.
The one thing a lot of people are guilty of doing is comparing each team Caliapri has coached. Well, let’s look at it one more time with before the 2015-16 season gets underway. Who of the previous six Kentucky teams does this version most resemble?
To me, it’s a no-brainer, where this team will be a lot like the 2010-11 team featuring Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb, Darius Miller, DeAndre Liggins and Josh Harrellson. This was a team who had almost no bench but was scrappy and Knight turned into the leader and go-to guy, much like Jamal Murray can do this year.
There are quite a bit of question marks for this year’s Kentucky team, especially in the front court – much like the 2010-11 team that had just Harrellson and Jones. Sure, Marcus Lee has been there for the last two years but the former McDonald’s All-American hasn’t seen much playing time due to the NBA talent ahead of him.
Incoming center Skal Labissiere is projected to be the No. 1 overall pick in the next NBA Draft, but how much do we really know about him? His high school career was clouded with eligibility questions thanks to a guardian.
Then there’s Alex Poythress, the guy who was expected to be a one-and-done and is now returning for his senior year. He’s coming off a torn ACL which Calipari said, “He’s only five months out. He needs another three months, or at least two months, and we’ll see from there. He was so physically strong, the doctors are amazed that around his leg – the one thing he has to do is he’s working so hard on that leg that was repaired – the knee – that the other leg has to catch up now, the strong leg, the healthy leg.”
The signing of Jamal Murray obviously meant a lot for the Wildcats. Right away they jumped from the third favorite according to Vegas to 5/1 favorites per Bovada. It’s also caused Calipari to bring up the excitement around the Commonwealth.
At least it’s a rational fanbase who won’t get undefeated shirts made or go nuts because Calipari told them to.