Breaking news, rankings, predictions and analysis all in one place.

College Basketball Preview 2013-14: 1. Kentucky Wildcats

1. Kentucky  Wildcats Lost in NIT

Last year's Kentucky squad had their usual load of McDonald's All-Americans but they could never get things together. Ryan Harrow wasn't an impact point guard, Kyle Wiltjer wasn't the difference-maker he was expected to be and the team never gelled. Not to mention Nerlens Noels' year-ending injury. This year, John Calipari brings in possibly the best recruiting class in college basketball history. Power forward Julius Randle should bring immediate scoring at the four spot, the Harrison twins should manage the backcourt and James Young is a quality swingman. Dakari Johnson has the talent to be an impact center from the beginning.

Backcourt: The big issue for Kentucky last year was point guard as Ryan Harrow struggled with inconsistency and turnovers. Archie Goodwin is gone and he never fit in at point guard either. Five-star point guard Andrew Harrison is ready to take over the important role. Harrison is a great ball handler and has proven he has the smarts and floor vision to be a great passer. His twin, Aaron, will likely spend time at shooting guard. Aaron is less of a playmaker than Andrew, but has a more proven shot and is a more dangerous scorer. Both play well together and are extremely competitive. Sure to get minutes behind the Harrison twins will be senior Jarrod Polson who gives the Wildcats experience, something they will definitely lack. Redshirt senior Jon Hood has had a career full of injuries in Lexington but should still be a contributor. He also brings experience and was on the Kentucky team that won a national championship. Junior guard Sam Malone is only going to be used if their are some injuries or if the Harrison twins struggle to adjust to the college game.

Frontcourt: The loss of shot-blocking center Nerlens Noel leaves a big vacancy at the center spot. 2012-2013 sixth man Willie Cauley-Stein should take over the spot. Cauley-Stein isn't as good as a shot-blocker as Noel nor Anthony Davis but is still a good defender. If he develops a mid range game and becomes a better rebounder he could have a magical sophomore year. The No. 1 overall rated power forward, Julius Randle, should make an impact immediately. Randle is a psychical forward who can help as a rebounder but is an extremely dangerous scorer. The lefty has good touch around the basket and can extend the floor.  Dakari Johnson also is coming in and could play the role Cauley-Stein did last role, as backup center. Johnson embraces contact a little more than Cauley-Stein and makes plays in it. He is a better rebounder, but is smaller and can be beat up by taller opponents. It isn't like he is small; he is 6-10 and can play above the rim. Sophomore Alex Poythress is also back after an average 2012-13. Poythress proved he was extremely athletic but he struggled to score at times and just wasn't the impact player Calipari expected him to be. He has the size (6-7) to be a quality starter at either small forward or power forward. Guard-forward James Young should see major minutes at the small forward spot. Young is a lethal shooter and uses his size to his advantage after smaller defenders. Another freshman, Marcus Lee, gives the Wildcats an athlete who can make plays right away. Lee is a great rebounder and has the athleticism to make some highlight plays. The Wildcats will lose Kyle Wiltjer, who will transfer to Gonzaga but he isn't a huge loss.

Recruiting Rundown (according to
No.3 Prospect, No.1 PF Julius Randle, PF from MicKinney Texas
No. 5 Prospect, No.1 PG Andrew Harrison, PG from Richmond, Texas
No. 7 Prospect, No. 2 C Dakari Johnson, C from Bronx, New York
No. 8 Prospect, No. 3 SF James Young, SF from Rochester, Michigan
No.9 Prospect, No. 1 SG Aaron Harrison, SG from Richmond, Texas
No. 25 Prospect, No.9 PF Marcus Lee, PF from Antioch, California

PG Andrew Harrison, Freshman
SG Aaron Harrison, Freshman
SF James Young, Freshman
PF Julius Randle, Freshman
C Willie Cauley-Stein, Sophomore
Sixth Alex Poythress, Sophomore

Once more, Kentucky has the talent to win a national championship. They have size, shooting and playmaking ability to dominate the college basketball landscape once again. Though, as usual, there is questions whether all of these fantastic freshman can gel together and play to their potential. Leadership and experience may be an issue and the SEC isn't an easy conference, Florida could give them issues. Kentucky is ready for a huge turnaround and might even be able to keep the national championship in the Bluegrass State.

No comments:

Theme images by LUGO. Powered by Blogger.