The top five teams in college basketball are very strong. The teams have more strengths than weaknesses, says Myron Medcalf of ESPN. But college basketball is a funny game, and crazy things happen. The game is unpredictable, and a season’s worth of hope can flash before a rabid fan in the blink of an eye.
One too many out-of-conference losses, a freak injury, or the meat grinder of March could all set a team back from achieving the ultimate goal. To the surprise of no one, the youth argument is again being applied to this season’s Kentucky team.
What could go wrong with Kentucky? The freshmen play like freshmen.
Last season’s Kentucky team was special. Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist were the subjects of national headlines because of their youth and talent. But UK was bigger than the two freshman stars. Terrence Jones was mature enough — down the stretch — to take on a complementary role. Marquis Teague, Doron Lamb and Darius Miller solidified the nucleus … Throughout the history of college basketball; there are more examples of freshmen fumbling through a season than succeeding, especially when offered key roles with elite teams. Although Calipari has mastered the formula for the one-and-done generation better than any other coach in the country, there’s always the possibility the freshmen on his roster will make the mistakes most freshmen make. Calipari’s current group is young and strong. That’s the norm in Lexington. Youthful errors that lead to limited success, however, are the norm everywhere else.
Talent over experience, right Coach Calipari? The best players in the country will always be the best players, regardless of their class. I wonder how many coaches would turn down Andrew Wiggins from a starting spot on their team this season. Considering many NBA scouts would already have him drafted and playing in the league if he were able to, my guess is zero. The opinion of freshmen playing like freshmen already seems misplaced.
What leads writers like Myron Medcalf to believe Kentucky will fumble through this season with its freshmen? The norm in Lexington is to survive and thrive with diaper dandies. John Calipari has proven that you can win games and win championships with his absurd 102-14 record at Kentucky. And this year will be the first time he’s started a non-freshman point guard. John Calipari doesn’t recruit “freshmen” he recruits “the best players.” There seems to be a drastic leap between the two.
The only question now is when will this debate finally be put to rest? Is it going to take another banner? That likely won’t be a problem.
Not to disrespect this 2012 team by already looking ahead another season — but if Calipari is able to land Wiggins for 2013, you’re not only looking at a possible all-freshman starting five… Not only an all-freshmen National Championship starting five… But an all-freshmen undefeated National Championship starting five.
Think that would stop all the talking?