The summer season rolls on and while Kentucky fans never shift the focus from basketball, other areas in the country do for some reason. Nevertheless, with nothing to talk about in regards to the NBA and NFL, season previews are going up everywhere – yes, even before the season schedules have been filled out.
Continuing a trend that started the moment Terrence Jones decided to come back, the LA Times picks Kentucky as the number two to North Carolina’s number one. Here was their take on the two.
1. North Carolina: Some thought Zeller needed more time in the weight room. Others offered Henson had work to do facing the basketball. No one had anything for Barnes to work on, which makes the trio’s complete return a surprise to the nation and a salivating prospect for Tar Heel nation. By year’s end, Barnes was one of the nation’s top players and a surefire top-3 NBA pick, but his return speaks to the head on his shoulders and his desire for team greatness.
Overshadowed is the man in charge of distributing the wealth, Kendall Marshall, who took over the point guard duties from Larry Drew last season and ran with the opportunity. A loaded roster added even more depth with freshmen James McAdoo and P.J. Hairston, leaving Williams in prime position to win his third championship since 2005, which would tie him with last season’s winner, UConn’s Jim Calhoun, and behind just Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski on the active title list.
2. Kentucky: The loss of Brandon Knight was to be expected, and the departed DeAndre Liggins was the team’s glue and father figure on the court, but Terrence Jones returns with a year of seasoning and Darius Miller can fill Liggins’ void. Add in a typical John Calipari recruiting class (Anthony Davis, Michael Gilchrist, Marquis Teague) and the Wildcats should be Final Four- worthy again.
Despite the generics, I’d agree with the writer. The season will be great no matter what, but the parts that Miller and Jones can contribute will be the difference between a spectacular season and just another trip to the final four.
Ultimately though, I think it’s best for the young Kentucky team to go into the season a notch below UNC. The match up with North Carolina should provide early motivation to get everything together and take that overall 1 ranking. What do you think?