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Next Year’s Team is Ready for Battle

 

Mental toughness. The phrase that plagued the Cats throughout 2012-2013, the supposedly uncoachable factor, a trait potentially to blame for losses to Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and other teams the Cats faced this season. Fans could understandably be nervous about next year’s crop of incoming freshmen- after all, we learned firsthand that talent isn’t enough to win games, much less titles. Could the same malady bite Kentucky again next year?

 

Not if Julius Randle has anything to do with it. Last year, our Julius acted as an uncle to his younger teammates, steadying them in times of crisis. This year’s Julius will be quite the opposite- he’ll look to ignite his teammates through his play rather than calm them down.

 

Randle_Julius253

 

Don’t let that smile fool you. Throughout yesterday’s interviews, Randle was consistently mentioned as one of the most competitive individuals to take the court, a trait that has already spread among his future teammates. Marcus Lee spoke of the “refuse to lose” mentality that the team would take into every practice. Dakari Johnson straight up said, “I’m a competitor. I like to win.” Andrew Harrison warned his teammates, “If you don’t come to play, you’re going to get killed. I just want everyone to keep that in mind” (looking at you, Poythress). No one on this team next year is going into practice to goof around and play dodgeball (although really, who among us wouldn’t be excited to see that dodgeball game?). No, they’re all ready to enter the Craft Center as if they’re walking onto Rupp Arena’s court against Louisville. Sure, a cynic would say that it’s all still talk at this point. But look into Randle’s eyes as he throws down a dunk and tell me you don’t see a stone-cold killer in there.

 

The class of the future has heard and seen firsthand about last year’s shortcomings; they aren’t jaded about the expectations or what it takes to win a national championship, and they know that it won’t be handed to them on a silver platter, despite what fans would have them think. And that love of competition and readiness to go into battle every day in practice- that will be the x-factor when comparing Kentucky 2012 vs Kentucky 2013.

 

@KristenGeilKSR

Article written by Kristen Geil

23 Comments for Next Year’s Team is Ready for Battle



  1. j
    12:33 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    Any news on wiggins? we have heard this like 30 times already.. same story different picture.. Next article will be a picture of Marcus Lee, and it will be about how people will get killed in practice if they don’t bring it..



  2. El Pollo Loco
    12:36 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    Are they going to be wearing those ridiculous tshirt jerseys? I feel bad for them.

    1 – Yes, the news is Wiggins keeps saying the same thing…no idea of when he’s going to decide.



  3. Ksu
    12:36 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    I think we know who the problems were with this team. Mayes was a disease at wright ST. Just ask some of his former teammates. He wasn’t much better at uk. Harrow & Archie are gone, while others were welcomed back. Questioned answered. However unless poythress improves he’s gonna be 3rd string.



  4. Smart Person
    12:43 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    Waiting for Forde to write article that says Cal’s Dodgeball game was the same as the Coach of Rice Dodge ball game.



  5. I love Kristen
    12:45 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    Seriously. Could I take you out for ice cream sometime?



  6. chief_cat
    12:48 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    Can’t believe BBN is going to let Marquette beat UK/Tolly Ho in the “Final Four of Best College Eats”. We are down by 400 votes and polling closes in two hours (3pm EDT).

    Vote here: http://blog.cookingchanneltv.com/2013/04/01/final-four-best-college-eats/



  7. J A Brooks
    12:58 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    3) Are you actually suggesting Alex will be 3rd string? I mean are you capable of saying something dumber than that? Without Wiggins there’s a good shot Poythress starts next year. If not he’ll be the 6th or 7th man. With Wiggins he’s the 8th man at worse…

    3rd string? What a joke. Some of you people need to realize how dumb the things are that you’re saying.



  8. J A Brooks
    1:06 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    Kristin is there a reason that ever since Alex announced he was returning the KSR writers keep taking opportunities to throw digs at him?

    You point to him specifically as a guy who might not bring it every day and earlier Tyler Thompson went out of her way to talk about how bad of a work ethic he has. The kid is coming back to win a title how about a little praise or optimism instead of finding ways to make jokes at his expense.

    Finding your own chance to take a little shot at him does not make you clever, original, or funny. Would the article have been any worse if you left that little Alex Poythress comment out entirely? Were a UK site, show some class and stop making Alex the defacto punching bag for the 13-14 team.



  9. Ksu
    1:06 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    #7, oh really? If he DOESN’T improve, who’s he gonna start over? He can’t play the 3. If they get wiggins, get real. You must be the same pivot man who wanted to argue with me about harrow & Goodwin.



  10. Tolly Ho Non-virgin
    1:20 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    7– amen! While the incoming talent may be better, I think a year of experience will prove invaluable for Poythress. He’s got nothing to lose and a lot to gain. He’s a year ahead physically as well as under Cal’s system. I don’t think he’ll be as soft as people seem to think. He was my favorite player early on during the season but his progress did come to a screeching halt. I look for him to rebound with a vengeance. I won’t be surprised to see him starting, at least early in the season. I know I’ll catch shit over that but just call it a women’s intuition.
    And while I’m at it, calling Mays a disease?? I’d hate to think about our W/L record had he not been playing. This debacle of a season was NOT one person’s fault– coaches or players. It was a collective mess full of issues. Bad attitudes, selfishness, not being able/willing to change, acceptance of being mediocre, lack of competitive practices & SEC experienced starting players, stubbornness…… The list is endless.



  11. BlueFins
    1:26 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    Those are awful uniforms, feel sorry for our guys having to wear them. Even UL’s uniform sponsor is little brother.



  12. J A Brooks
    1:36 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    #9

    3rd string? get your head out of your ass. He’s not going to the be the 11th best player. He’ll be either the starting or backup SF.

    I guess you’re right, if he is the 1% of freshman basketball players that DONT IMPROVE AT ALL between their freshman and sophmore years then perhaps he doesn’t start with or without Wiggins… but This is the real world though, and guys improve. He CAN play the 3, he did in AAU and the All Star games last year. He played a lot of 4 this year because Noel went down and we needed someone to get rebounds because Kyle really struggled. First game of the year though, he was the starting SF and while he needs to work on his handle a little bit, he projects as a 3 in the NBA.

    As a freshman he shot over 40% from 3FG and averaged 11 ppg and 6 rpg. When did our fans get so dumb to think that was an awful freshman season. He averaged more and shot better than Wayne Blackshear who is the starting SF for the favorites to win the title right now. Louisville fans are pretty excited to get blackshear back next year, but our fans just talk shit on our returning guy unless they were all americans.

    Poythress also had comparable first year numbers to Jamal Mashburn and a better freshman season statistically than Nazr Mohammed, Jamal Magloire, Scott Padgett, Jeff Sheppard, Darius Miller, Deandre Liggins, Chuck Hayes, Randolph Morris, Erik Daniels, Tayshaun Prince, Gerald Fitch, Joe Crawford, Ramel Bradley, and Kyle Wiltjer. Those are all guys who improved drastically after their first years and some became beloved wildcats. Yet so many of our idiot fans act like Poythress is this massive disappointment that will never improve and can’t possibly play a big role on next years team.

    I guess your one of the guys that wanted guys like Darius and Deandre gone after their freshman seasons, called DeAndre a headache who would never develop and called Darius Disappear-ius huh?



  13. I love it!!
    1:38 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    Yeldom, thanks for sharing that video!!! I love how he goes to the basket with so much intensity!! He’s not a “soft” ball handler– looks tough and like he has one purpose– to get the ball though the basket, be damned who’s in the way!! 🙂



  14. f smith
    1:39 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    that kid has a great smile may be a great sign for next year go cats



  15. Feesh
    1:44 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    This is so strange. I would have expected them all to talk about how lazy, entitled, and selfish they were. I mean seriously, you guys will circle jerk over anything these days. I remember, specifically, all the talk of how much of a beast Alex Poythress was. All the practice reports about how he was going to make BBN forget about T Jones right away. I remember all the reports about the wizard that Ryan Harrow was with the ball and that he would seamlessly take over for Marquis Teague – after all, he had an extra year in the system under his belt. Nerlens was a dominating defensive force (which he was) and would take over for Davis at the D end. And all the talk from Matt Jones and many others that said that Cauley-Stein was simply amazing and was even better than Noel in practice. Guys, you would think that you’d have learned a little bit of humility from the faceplant that this team had and wait until they at least play their first college game, against college age, maturity, and skilled competition. Im not saying UK isnt going to win it all next year. Just saying that Im not going to proclaim greatness until I see it against grown up competition.



  16. Tolly Ho Non-Virgin
    1:46 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    #13/Brooks– WELL SAID!!!



  17. WilcatRhino
    1:47 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    BBN, we need your votes for TollyHo in the Final 4. Do your Civil Wildcat duty and VOTE! This is, after all, how this wonderful Nation has come to be! http://blog.cookingchanneltv.com/2013/04/01/final-four-best-college-eats/



  18. J A Brooks
    1:50 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    16) this has been covered about 1000 times and smart people get it.

    We were right about John Wall’s class being great, about Brandon Knight’s class being really good (though we knew not as good as walls class) and we were right about Davis and MKG leading us to a title last year.

    A lot of us knew how overrated we were going into this season but yeah we didn’t think it would be that bad… however we also lost 6 guys to the draft, returned zero starters or even someone who started once (only team in America to do that) and lost our best player about mid season.

    3/4 years the recruiting classes have lived up to the hype and this year we struggled. However next years class isn’t even remotely the same as this years and we bring back 3 guys who were 4/5 star players and all three have starters experience. It aint the same friend. It shouldn’t take someone of even average intelligence to see the difference.



  19. Tolly Ho Non-Virgin
    1:54 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    Feesh, this is a blog focusing on UK athletics. Of COURSE they are going to be sunshine pumpers and work to get the fanbase excited about the season. I don’t know many people who seek out blogs with negativity and blah reality. Just not practical for keeping traffic flowing to the blog. Generally speaking, life has enough of the “real world” so an escape to a blog that brings some great anticipation is great by me!



  20. Realists
    1:59 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    SUCK! Far too practical to enjoy life and probably try to insert the real world into everything they do while finding no time to laugh, be impractically over-hyped and excited about stopping to smell the roses. ENJOY life!



  21. J
    3:48 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink


  22. J
    3:51 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    On* excuse the grammatical error very excite in my best borat voice