Not too bad if you ask me. Putting the Cats at three is a safe pick by Katz and the ESPN crew. Everyone knows they will be good, but as usual, there is still uncertainty with all the new pieces and how they will mesh. Player for player they stack up with anyone in the country and are most likely better. Four straight #1 recruiting classes and four straight years of not being picked #1 in the preseason. That’s fine. My favorite part though, the two teams picked ahead of the Cats… Louisville at #2 and Indiana at #1. The Cats get both next year (as usual) and get to prove to everyone (again) that they can beat anyone (hopefully).
Here’s what Katz had to say about the Cats (makes me laugh everytime) in the article:
The Wildcats will almost certainly lose Anthony Davis, Terrence Jones, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to the NBA, and likely Doron Lamb and Marquis Teague as well. Senior Darius Miller also is gone, and he was one of the best glue guys in the country. So how is Big Blue still No. 3? All about the newcomers. John Calipari has hauled in the nation’s No. 1 class for the fourth straight year at UK, led by the nation’s No. 1 player, shot-blocking extraordinaire Nerlens Noel. The additions of NC State transfer Ryan Harrow and freshmen Archie Goodwin, Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley — along with a former top recruit like Kyle Wiltjer who will get his chance to shine — will keep Kentucky near the top again.
I think he’s spot on. It’s all about how this team molds together. The one thing he chose not to mention is the possible addition of Alex Oriakhi. He mentions Miller as “The Glue Guy”, this could be Oriakhi’s role. A senior that comes in and holds the team together during tough road games and battles against Duke, UNC, U of L and Indiana. Here’s what Oriakhi had to say about his meeting with Coach Cal:
“He would like for me to come in and lead right away and I definitely feel he was honest. He did present Kentucky very well. He talked about how the basketball players have a high GPA so he values education with his players. I think it really went well. … He just told me he has two players returning. . . . He has nobody.”
Oriakhi and Noel down low, not to mention Wiltjer… pretty tough. This could be the one piece that solidifies the Cats as National Championship front runners.
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