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It’s very, very early, but everyone agrees: the Cats are next season’s #1 team

High School Basketball: McDonald's All American Games

I never thought I’d say it, but thank god basketball is over. This season has finally ended and we can fully focus on next year’s squad, which, according to ESPN’s “Very Early Top 25,” will be the best in the land:

1. Kentucky Wildcats: Could the Wildcats really go from first-round NIT losers to NCAA champions? Absolutely. Kentucky’s 2013 recruiting class is already being hailed as the best in college basketball history. The haul includes four players (Andrew and Aaron Harrison, Julius Randle and James Young) ranked among the nation’s top 10 prospects by ESPN.com. From a pure talent standpoint, this might be the best college basketball team ever assembled. But will it jell? Even though injuries and chemistry issues ruined his most recent team, John Calipari has proven to be excellent at coaching players who only plan to spend a year or two in college. He’s great at getting them to play defense and share the ball. It will help that some of Kentucky’s key players in 2012-13 (Alex Poythress, Willie Cauley-Stein and Kyle Wiltjer) will return to provide veteran leadership, which is something the program sorely lacked last season. Another huge difference will be the point guard position, which lacked stability last season. Andrew Harrison could become the next star under Calipari, who has coached Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans, John Wall and Brandon Knight.

CBS Sports agrees:

Screen shot 2013-04-09 at 10.12.27 AM

So does USA Today:

No. 1 Kentucky (This season: 21-12, lost in first round of NIT): Not even injuries can prevent John Calipari’s latest recruiting class from leading Kentucky back to the NCAA tournament after Nerlens Noel’s season-ending ACL tear derailed and eventually cost the Wildcats a shot at the NCAAs this season. Returnees Willie Cauley-Stein and sophomore Kyle Wiltjer will be meshed with one of the best freshmen classes ever. The Sensational Six – Marcus Lee, Dakari Johnson, Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, Julius Randle and James Young – give Calipari undoubtedly the country’s best talent. The team’s chemistry will be the crucial ingredient to a winning recipe. UK loses Julius Mays to graduation, Archie Goodwin to the NBA and likely Noel to the NBA.

And The Big Lead:

1. Kentucky Wildcats (21-12, Did not make NCAA Tournament)

Six McDonald’s All-Americans are coming, and three might start in the frontcourt — power forward Julius Randle, small forward James Young, and center Daraki Johnson. Two will start in the backcourt — Andrew Harrison (PG) and Aaron Harrison (SG). Toss in power forward Marcus Lee, and you’ve got a Fab 5-like haul. This already feels like the 2011-2012 team all over again, with Alex Poythress and Kyle Wiltjer as the holdovers. Oh, did I mention the best player in the Class of 2013, and possibly the best high school talent since LeBron, Andrew Wiggins, is considering UK?

That makes today a little less painful.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

55 Comments for It’s very, very early, but everyone agrees: the Cats are next season’s #1 team



  1. BBN
    11:51 am April 9, 2013 Permalink

    Kentucky cannot win the national championship without Wiggins. Even with Wiggins winning will not be certain. We have too many freshmen playing important roles and several teams will return most of their players: UL, Michigan, Duke, Arizona, UNC.



  2. 8xchamp
    11:52 am April 9, 2013 Permalink

    Buy these an shut the tard fans up 8greater3.com



  3. Mc
    11:52 am April 9, 2013 Permalink

    USA Today: Junior Kyle Wiltjer. Also no mention of AP in the explanation section?



  4. Tt
    11:52 am April 9, 2013 Permalink

    Jarrod is more of a leader than Alex, WCS, & Kyle.



  5. Mc
    11:54 am April 9, 2013 Permalink

    #2) I disagree that UK can’t win without Wiggins. Yes I’d like to have him of course. And obviously it would increase our odds. I’m not the only one that feels this way; many experts as well as odds makers and a majority of fans as well.

    So if you don’t think UK can win without Wiggins who do you think will? I’m going to match that team that you pick up with everyone coming to UK and see how it stacks up.



  6. SexnNursinHomes
    11:57 am April 9, 2013 Permalink

    6- 8 over 3. You’ve had that banner for a grand total of about 12 hours and already the Media is talking about us.



  7. The Real Pioneer
    11:59 am April 9, 2013 Permalink

    Rumor has it that Polson has not only sought the leadership and skillset techniques of Kentucky Legend Troy McKinely, but also has sought advice from him on how to be a true legend coming from an in state high school.



  8. SexnNursinHomes
    12:00 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    7- Again, you can keep chest bumping on that 3rd insignificant banner.

    But it must tear ya’ll up that the Media is more excited about us than you. Ouch bitch.



  9. Catsfan1965
    12:00 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    #1 you are an idiot or a troll. All of the teams you mention are losing most of their starters with the exception of UNC. Michigan is going to have Burke and Robinson go pro and maybe Hardaway and McGary. UL is going to lose Siva, Dieng, and according to his father Russ Smith. Duke will lose their 3 best players and will have low 4-star recruit Marshall Plumlee as their only player over 6’8″ (he’s so good he logged a total of 49 min. this season). Jabari Parker is good but UK has several players in his league. Arizona loses Lyons, Hill and Parrum. They have some talented younger players, but they lost their main scorers. Look at all of the teams they rank in the Top25 with the exception of Marquette and UNC, they will all be worse next year, most significantly worse. UK is not going to have to be world beaters to cut down the nets next season.



  10. Mike
    12:01 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    I wouldn’t put too much credence on any #1 ranking after the fiasco this year. I don’t think we can even be picked over UL at this time because they will still have good talent, excellent defense, great offensive rebounding, they can shoot from outside, they have good depth, experience, and a tough fighter’s mentality. What do we have other than talent?



  11. Doc
    12:01 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    With wiggins we are the Super 7



  12. Get Wiggins
    12:03 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    Get him



  13. Stevie
    12:05 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    I would like to slap these MFers who say that UK cannot win without Wiggins. Who the shell do these retards think they are.

    We already have the best class in the history of cbb, with #1 at every position except SF and we have #3 at that.



  14. haa
    12:06 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    College basketball and everyone in it sucked this year. Who cares if every single person on every single team comes back for next year.



  15. Catsfan1965
    12:06 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    #11 UofL will lose Siva, Smith, and Dieng this year. They will not be better than UK next year. UKs leading scorer and the only player who could beat someone off the dribble, Archie Goodwin, would have been ranked behind all 6 of our incoming freshman this year, so there is no comparison between the talent level last year and this year. UK went to the NIT because we didn’t have enough talent on the floor, not because of inexperience. A team that is forced to play Mays and Polson significant minutes is not going to get very far. The team next year is going to be completely different.



  16. The Real Pioneer
    12:07 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    Rumor has it that Polson has not only sought the leadership and skillset techniques of Kentucky Legend Troy McKinely, but also has sought advice from him on how to be a true legend coming from an in state high school. Do you Roger me on that? LOL!!!!



  17. Mc
    12:07 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    Mike, from my understanding the Harrison twins, and Randle are extremely competitive and ready to fight. From what I’ve watched of them they are physical and extremely skilled. Also, everyone is tall The front court is extremely deep and the rebounding and toughness that this year’s team lacked will be there. I do agree though. I don’t care who they put at #1. Let it play out. Let the players earn the ranking, which is going to happen.
    Saturday:
    Jordan Brand Classic. The twins and Randle on the same team as Wiggins. Will be fun to see if there’s chemistry, and hopefully Wiggins gets a taste of what to expect.



  18. BBN
    12:07 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    #10: I am an idiot or a troll because you don’t like what you read? You don’t agree with my opinion? You can suck it! The fact remains that the teams I mentioned will return most of their players and our team will rely heavily on freshmen once again. I hope we win the NC next season, but it is far from certain, especially without Wiggins.



  19. BBN
    12:08 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    Sorry, my comment was intended for #9.



  20. No One Cares
    12:10 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    Louisville just won National Title. We didn’t make the Tournament!! How did last years heralded recruits turnout??? Getting tired of what you guys value.



  21. Cheatapari's Daddy Rick Pitino
    12:11 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    Look at things on the bright side UKAY fans. At least you will get to play the NCAA Champions when I bring them to Lexington in December.

    Coach Pitino

    P.S. Has Cheatapari finished reading “Coaching for Dummies” yet?



  22. Trevor
    12:11 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    I find it funny that for the most part, every year except this one, Cal’s teams jelled and did significant work in the NCAA tournament. But according to some people, one down year and Cal is a loser and his philosophy doesn’t work. Way more often than not, his teams come together. Cal’s team are dependent on great point guard play. He did not have that this year. Then Nerlens goes down. Everyone has a down year or two. UNC has, Duke has, Kansas has, Louisville has, Michigan has, UCLA has had many!

    By a lot of teams standards this wasn’t even a down year…but we are UK and expect more. Don’t let that cloud your judgement.



  23. panama
    12:12 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    Add Andrew Wiggins to this class, and call it the Magnificent Seven.



  24. Ben
    12:17 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    So our non-conference schedule could be the toughest next year having to face Michigan State, Louisville, North Carolina and Baylor. Wouldn’t be surprised if we lost one of those games. I say we lose three games next year, one against those four teams, one against Florida and one surprise loss.



  25. SexnNursinHomes
    12:19 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    hahah all the ul trolls over here trying to get validation.

    Look ya’ll still aren’t a Blue Blueblood, and ya’ll are still 5 championships away from us. and Cal has done more for UK in 4 years than Shitino has done for ul in 10 years. Ouch.



  26. Catsfan1965
    12:19 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    I just pointed out to you that Michigan will lose 2-4 starters (and Burke alone is devastating), UofL will lose 3, Duke will lose 3 (and their most important starters by far), Arizona loses 3 starters (their 3 most important) and your response is that I “can suck it” followed by a ignorant non-sequiter. You probably don’t realize this but teams that lose 3 of 5 starters do not return “most” of their starting lineups. The only team that will their team is UNC who was an 8 seed this year. Wiggins will be nice, but not necessary. If Wiggins went to UNC, he tunrs them into a contender, but if he goes to FL ST or KU, UK will win it all regardless.



  27. Will You Be There?
    12:20 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    #21-Can we count on you to show your face in Rupp at that game? Looking forward to meeting you.



  28. Polson
    12:23 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    #16, he’s ALOT better than Elisha justice & that Hawkins kid.



  29. Cheatapari's Daddy Rick Pitino
    12:29 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    The NCAA may just as well have thrown the trophy in the dumpster; the trash it’d be surrounded by in there bears no difference to the trash that’ll surround it in Louisville.



  30. Catsfan1965
    12:35 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    #24 – No team has gone undefeated since IU in 1976, so it is unlikely that UK goes 40-0, but 1) it is within the realm of possibility and 2) this UK team will be the most overwhelming preseason #1 since UNC in 2008-9.

    For those ignorant people who keep “duh, look what happened with last yea’s heralded freshmen” you need to realize 2 things:
    1) We lost the #1 recuit in the country during the serason and would have made the tourney had he been healthy
    2) We did not have a capable PG
    3) Polson and Mays had to play major minutes and they were not “heralded”
    4) Goodwin and Poythress were #15 and #13 last year in a weaker HS class and would have been ranked behind all six of our incoming McD AA we have coming in this year.

    There is no comparison between the level of talent that we had on last years team and that which we will have on this years team.



  31. Dookie
    12:46 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    Cause last years early #1 overall ranking turned out real well for you guys. LOL!

    http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/story/18274517/ridiculously-early-top-25-and-one-calipari-kentucky-reload-are-no-1



  32. karen sypher
    12:47 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    It’s so funny Louisville fans wanna call calipari a cheater… 15 seconds and an abortion later.. hello?



  33. Billy
    12:52 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    Do they give out trophies for the #1 recruiting class and a #1 pre-season ranking?



  34. Big Blue B-Rad
    12:52 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    Trevor) I could not agree more with your statement. 3 years of playing heralded freshmen produces an Elite 8, A Final Four, and a National Title. Then they have 1 bad year and all of a sudden it’s “well you can’t expect to win with just 1 and dones” I do agree that we also need veterans to mesh with the freshmen to really get to where we want to be, which we will certainly have next year. So to the rest of the nation:

    Get your jokes in while you can. Enjoy your shot to win the title. Because next year, there will be blood!! Go Big Blue!!



  35. Catsfan1965
    12:54 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    #31 – UK was never ranked #1 last year. The AP had UK ranked #3 in their preseason poll. All of the polls had UofL and IU as the #1 and #2.



  36. Dookie
    12:57 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    #35, Did you click the link hotshot? UK ranked #1 in the same CBS “way too early” poll that you guys are happy about right now.



  37. Catsfan1965
    1:01 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    #34 – Agreed. I don’t want to bash the kid, but it was the failure at PG and later the loss of Noel that led to the NIT. For all of their deficiencies, Goodwin and Poythress were UK leading scorers last year and Poythress was the teams most efficient offensive player and his rebounding stats were decent given his PT. Neither Goodwin or Poythress have the talent of Randle, the Harrison’s, or Young, but after Noel went down they had a burden to carry the team for which they weren’t ready. The incoming players are better and none of them individually, with the exception of the PG, will have the pressure on them that Goodwin and Poythress had this year. Anyone who compares last year to next year doesn’t know what they are talking about.



  38. Catsfan1965
    1:04 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    #36 – The point, dumbass, is that UK will be the preseason #1 this year, they were not last year. They will get every AP vote. There is no comparison between this year and last year.



  39. Nope
    1:08 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    Did you look at #31’s link? That ranking was predicated on the assumption that Shabazz and Bennett were likely being added to the class. If that came to fruition it would have been a very different year.



  40. Dookie
    1:09 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    Look at the top of the page. You and this story are excited about this poll: http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/story/22036310

    of which this poll: http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/story/18274517/ridiculously-early-top-25-and-one-calipari-kentucky-reload-are-no-1 was last years edition. Who’s #1 in both polls? UK. How’d that #1 ranking in CBS’ way too early poll work out for you? Not well is the answer.

    What’s hard to grasp big guy? I’m not talking about AP #1’s, I’m commenting on this story, idiot.



  41. MadTex
    1:11 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    Let’s face it – you all stink!!! UK rots, Calipari is a fool and your mamma was so ugly that your daddy had to tie a steak around her to get the dogs to play with her…..



  42. Billy
    1:13 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    Some seem to forget that this year’s UK team did not play hard. You can get more out of kids that play hard but they didn’t and I have to point that finger at the coach. They also could not guard on the perimeter yet the coach refused to utilize a zone defense other than a few short times this season. Yes, not having a true PG and losing Noel hurt but that still doesn’t give players an excuse not to play hard.



  43. Catsfan1965
    1:16 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    #33 – What is your point? That you don’t want to be ranked as the best team presewason because you don’t get a trophy for that? Since 2005-06 only two teams have been loweer than #4 preseaon and won it all, Duke (09-10) and UConn (10-11). In that time two preseason #1s have won UNC (08-09) and FLA (05-06) and 2 #2s UofL (12-13) and UK (11-12). UK won a National Championship a year ago and will be the odds-on favorite to do it again next year and people are complaining?



  44. Catsfan1965
    1:20 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    #40 – Are you too cognitively impaired to realize that if UK was not ranked #1 last year preseason and they will be this year then the point you are trying to feebly make is moot. Or do you need me to break the concept down into monosyllabic words so you can understand.



  45. Catsfan1965
    1:35 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    #39 – you are correct, but I am afraid that Dookie is unable to grasp complex thought. His thinking is along the lines of “Duh, CBS Way Too Early 2012-13 Poll UK #1 and CBS Way Too Early Poll 2012-13 UK #1…Dey da same…slobber…). Then he returns to picking the scabs off his scalp and eating them.



  46. UKBlue1!
    1:38 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    I think it would be a good idea to Tapper the expectations for next season. We are going to be very good. I can remember a 1984,1986, 1997,2003 and 2010 team that had very high expectations. I know we are going to have a great year but expecting a “title” is idiotic.



  47. Eric Camden
    1:40 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    If Wiggins comes to Kentucky, it will be 7th Heaven![ cue theme song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxZrmQFmF-4 ]



  48. Billy
    2:02 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    Thank you! Seems like everybody thinks all UK needs to do is show up next year.



  49. Billy
    2:03 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    Last comment was meant for #46



  50. Players
    2:11 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    It is over. No one will play us to within 20 points. Seats
    in Rupp will sell for unreal prices. NBA scouts will number into the dozens each game. We will beat UL by 50 , point blank period. Just roll the ball out. 41-0 (we will play 41games next season).Cal will actually sit during games.



  51. whowas#2?
    3:09 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    Who was #2? Don’t you fools learn anything from this year. lol



  52. Mc
    3:21 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    The twins, Wiggins, and Randle on the same team for the Jordan Brand Classic Saturday night with Wiggins’ high school coach leading the team. Should be interesting to see what sort of chemistry they have together, and whether this impacts Wiggins and Fulford’s thoughts in any way.



  53. Bobby Knight's Shrink
    3:53 pm April 9, 2013 Permalink

    #50- Dude, put down the bong !



  54. Collegebbfan
    12:04 am April 10, 2013 Permalink

    2013 National Champion Louisville Cardinals!!! Go pull the black and white tape of your 4 National championships and watch the most boring and unathletic era in college basketball history



  55. Billy Bob
    10:09 am April 10, 2013 Permalink

    I’ve noticed Kentucky fans are the ONLY fans who actually look forward to these pre-season rankings. Just because you snagged a great recruiting class means nothing if you don’t have someone who can coach them. Yes COACH them. Cal is NOT a coach, but a recruiter, big difference. Go ahead and claim the 2014 title and when it doesn’t happen I’ll be right there pointing and laughing at the mostly ignorant and annoying BBN. Have a nice day 🙂