Imagine 1996 with Rodrick Rhodes. Undefeated anyone?
UK has had some amazing teams throughout its history, there is no question. But, UK has also had more than its share of defections, expulsions, and jumps to the pros. And with this sudden influx of one and done talent coming through Lexington, it got me thinking about the “what could have been” teams. Could you imagine if all of the freshmen from last year came back to school and teamed up with the freshmen of this year….AND JORTS! Anyway, thought I would give you a couple examples since 1990.
One quick note:
-If I added a guy to a team, I removed the WORST FRESHMAN from that team, not just the worst player. So, for instance, If I wanted to remove somebody from the 2010-11 team, it would be Stacey Poole, not Jon Hood. Because frankly, if certain guys would have stayed in school, it would have cost UK a scholarship, not a roster spot.
Added:Leron Ellis (Sr.), Chris Mills (Jr.)
Remaining:Hanson (Sr.), Feldhaus (Jr.), Pelphrey (Jr.), Woods (Jr.), Farmer (Jr.), Davis (Jr.), Brassow (So.), Braddy (So.), Mashburn (Fr.), Martinez (Fr.), Toomer (Fr.), Thomas (R-Fr.)
Lost:Todd Bearup, Jody Thompson
Thoughts:Adding 2 first round NBA draft picks to the Unforgettables breakout season, plus a freshman Mashburn, and you lose two guys who did nothing at UK, this would have been a stacked roster. Of course, they were not even eligible for the postseason, so it would not have mattered.
Added:Jamal Mashburn (Sr.)
Remaining:Dent (Sr.), Ford (Sr.), Brassow (Sr.), Martinez (Sr.), Riddick (Jr.), Harrison (Jr.), Delk (So.), Rhodes (So.), Prickett (So.), McCarty (So.), Sheppard (Fr.)
Thoughts:Losing Epps seems tough on the surface until you realize that Epps was literally the last guy off the bench that season with Chris Harrison. And the fact you add Mashburn back into the mix likely makes this a national title team.
Added: Rodrick Rhodes (Sr.)
Remaining:Delk (Sr.), McCarty (Sr.), Pope (Sr.), Anderson (Jr.), Epps (Jr.), Sheppard (Jr.), Walker (So.), Edwards (So.), Mills (So.), Mercer (Fr.), Turner (Fr.), Mohammed (Fr.), Simmons (Fr.)
Thoughts: Imagine that ’96 title team with ANOTHER 1st round draft pick in Rod Rhodes. WOW!
Added: Antoine Walker (Sr.), Ron Mercer (Jr.)
Remaining:Sheppard (Sr.), Edwards (Sr.), Mills (Sr.), Mohammed (Sr.), Padgett (Jr.), Turner (Jr.), Evans (Jr.), Magloire (So.), Masiello (So.), Smith (Fr.), Bradley (Fr.)
Lost: Myron Anthony, Ryan Hogan
Thoughts: Could this team have been better than the ’96 team? I think it’s very possible.
Added: Jason Parker (Jr.), Marvin Stone (Sr.)
Remaining:Bogans (Sr.), Estill (Sr.), Camara (Sr.), Fitch (Jr.), Daniels (Jr.), Hawkins (Jr.), Barbour (Jr.), Heissenbuttel (Jr.), Hayes (So.), Carrier (So.), Azubuike (Fr.), Moss (Fr.), Stockton (Fr.)
Lost: Bernard Cote, Preston Lemaster
Thoughts: This Elite 8 team would have been unstoppable in post with Parker, Stone, Estill, Camara, and crew. Absolutely unstoppable.
Added:Rajon Rondo (Sr.), Randolph Morris (Sr.)
Remaining:Crawford (Sr.), Bradley (Sr.), Carter (Jr.), Stevenson (So.), Porter (So.), Harris (So.), Jasper (So.), Coury (So.), Patterson (Fr.), Legion (Fr.)
Lost: AJ Stewart, Marokinyo Williams
Thoughts: If that heralded class of 2004 had stayed all the way though, I can guarantee that they would have been better than a 11-seed that this team ended up. A starting lineup of Crawford, Morris, Bradley, Rondo, and Patterson might have been the best in the country. The bench would have been less than stellar, but so what?
Added:Patrick Patterson (Sr.), John Wall (So.), Demarcus Cousins (So.), Eric Bledsoe (So.), Daniel Orton (So.)
Remaining: Harrelson (Sr.), Liggins (Jr.), Miller (Jr.), Dodson (Jr.), Hood (So.), Knight (Fr.), Kanter (Fr.)
Lost:Stacey Poole, Doron Lamb, Anybody else that Cal gets (i.e. Remi Debo)
Thoughts: Undefeated Season. End of story.