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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: UK Trying to Buck Trend About Inexperience


The least experienced NCAA Champion in history.  Kentucky trying to beat that record this season.  Can it be done?

This is nothing new, but Kentucky is attempting to try and win a national title with a formula that has not ever really worked in the NCAA Tournament, and that is significant playing time for inexperienced players.  Whether or not Enes Kanter becomes eligible or not, Kentucky is likely to start 3 freshman and 2 juniors this season, giving the starting lineup 4 years of total experience coming into the year.  5 out of the last 6 NCAA champions have had AT LEAST 11 years of experience out of their championship starting lineup.  Even the Syracuse team that people point to as an example had just 2 freshman starters and 5 years returning experience. 

2010-11 Kentucky (assuming Kanter is qualified)
Enes Kanter: Freshman
Terrence Jones: Freshman
Darius Miller: Junior
Deandre Liggins: Junior
Brandon Knight: Freshman
Total: 4 years experience

2009-10 Duke
Brian Zoubek: Senior
Lance Thomas: Senior
Kyle Singler: Junior
Jon Scheyer: Senior
Nolan Smith: Junior
Total: 13 years experience

2008-09 North Carolina
Tyler Hansbrough: Senior
Deon Thompson: Junior
Wayne Ellington: Junior
Danny Green: Senior
Ty Lawson: Junior
Total: 12 years experience

2007-08 Kansas
Sasha Kaun: Senior
Darrell Arthur: Sophomore
Brandon Rush: Junior
Mario Chalmers: Junior
Russell Robinson: Senior
Total: 11 years experience

2006-07 Florida
Joakim Noah: Junior
Al Horford: Junior
Corey Brewer: Junior
Lee Humphrey: Senior
Taurean Green: Junior
Total: 11 years experience

2005-06 Florida
Joakim Noah: Sophomore
Al Horford: Sophomore
Corey Brewer: Sophomore
Lee Humphrey: Junior
Taurean Green: Sophomore
Total: 6 years experience

2004-05 North Carolina
Sean May: Junior
Jawad Williams: Senior
Jackie Manuel: Senior
Rashad McCants: Junior
Raymond Felton: Junior
Total: 12 years experience

2003-04 UCONN
Emeka Okafor: Junior
Josh Boone: Freshman
Rashaad Anderson: Sophomore
Ben Gordon: Junior
Taliek Brown: Senior
Total: 8 years experience

2002-03 Syracuse
Craig Forth: Sophomore
Hakim Warrick: Sophomore
Carmelo Anthony: Freshman
Keith Duany: Senior
Gerry McNamara: Freshman
Total: 5 years experience

2001-02 Maryland: 12 years experience
2000-01 Duke: 8 years experience
1999-00 Michigan State: 13 years experience

In the last 11 years of NCAA champions, only 3 freshman have started the title game out of 55 total players.  Kentucky is starting 3 freshman alone this season.  Whether or not this team can win the national title is still up for grabs?  Maybe, maybe not.  But the worry has to be with the recruiting strategy of Coach Cal, will this UK team continue to have little experience year after year, a strategy that has NEVER worked.  Can Cal buck that trend? 

For more perspective, Kentucky came into last season with 3 freshman starters and 3 total years of experience.  And we know how that ended up. 

Article written by Bryan the Intern