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What’s coming back next season


With the announcement that Alex Poythress will return to the team next season for round two comes the increased certainty that Kentucky will be unbelievably loaded at all positions. Cats fans surely expected Kyle Wiltjer for another as he continues his quest of developing as a long-range NBA big-man specialist. Willie Cauley-Stein, on the other hand, was a question. But considering his potential once he matures further, the choice to continue in the college ranks was obvious. And for Alex Poythress, most anticipated a second season as well, in order for him to get stronger both physically and mentally. It is true none of these three players’ decisions were jaw-dropping surprising, but it doesn’t make the announcements any less exciting.

Think about this: Three key players returning to join a squad of incoming freshman poised to make a run to the title game… Where have we heard that story before? You don’t have to look any further than a season ago when Doron Lamb, Terrence Jones, and Darius Miller joined Anthony Davis and Co. in Lexington to assemble one of the most dominating college basketball teams ever. And because many recruiting experts and national media outlets are touting the incoming Kentucky class as the best of all-time, it’s hard not to imagine a similar outcome as last season.

For the 2011-12 Championship team, Kentucky returned Lamb, Jones, and Miller from a 2010-11 squad that made a trip to the Final Four. Those three played 45 percent of the team’s minutes and were responsible for over 50 percent of the offense. That is an astounding stat for a Calipari team which often have the reputation of nothing but one-and-done players, and a stat that surely helped ease the transition for the incoming freshmen in a much brighter spotlight; something that was not present on this year’s team.

While that exact same impact will not be present next season, there is a considerable percentage of production coming back. Take a look:


That is right around 40 percent of the offense coming back next season to join six McDonald’s All-Americans. And this does not even mention the intangibles that weren’t there this season without any vocal returning players. In theory, that should not be an issue any longer either. If Poythress, Cauley-Stein, and Wiltjer step up to be the leaders that Lamb, Jones, and Miller were for their team and have the same burning desire to win a title as those guys…

Crown ‘em.

Article written by Stuart Hammer

B.S. Broadcast Journalism from the University of Kentucky. @StuartHammerKSR

27 Comments for What’s coming back next season

  1. Marcus L. Owens
    4:35 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink


  2. 2
    4:41 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink


  3. 3
    4:42 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink


  4. Ahah
    4:43 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink


  5. TheDon
    4:44 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    Poythress has the same # of blocks as Wiltjer in more minutes and more starts? What a disaster. I hope these freshmen teach him some defensive pride.

    That said, Minnesota hires Richard Pitino after throwing out Tubby. Does Indiana have a rival for most ridiculous school in the Big 10?

  6. YOU BLEW IT!!!
    4:48 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    5) Way to go, dude!

  7. 7
    4:48 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink


  8. 8
    4:50 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    5) Totally agree. You get rid of Tubby for little Dick Pitino?! Oh well..

  9. 10
    4:52 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink


  10. Al's IndiCats
    4:59 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    Here’s to the Golden Gophers never winning anything in basketball CHBeers!

  11. BobKYCats
    5:03 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    Here’s to Richie Pitino throwing his career away in the subarctic cess pool that is Minnesota athletics.

  12. yeahright
    5:04 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    Understatement of the year, but… Kentucky is going to be HUGE next year, at every position.

  13. Austin
    5:07 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    The difference being we returned 50% production from a FINAL FOUR TEAM. This team returns 40% production of an NIT TEAM. That is a big difference. We do have more talent on the way in than Davis, MKG, Teague, and Wiljter provided a couple years ago, but it is by no means a lock that we win it next year. We are the favorite, but we have a long way to go.

  14. Typical Pseudonym
    5:09 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    Exactly what #13 said

  15. Sgt. Jimmy
    5:12 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    I believe with the players comming back and the players comming in the CATS should have a nice mix of new blood plus experience. Hope Cal does better job getting these guys to buy in than this last year.

  16. sunnycat
    5:20 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    Counting on leadership from Poythress is a joke.

  17. Austin
    5:22 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    I think Poythress made us a pretty big favorite, and Wiggins would give us a chance to be the best Kentucky team ever. A CHANCE. I don’t think we are nearly as good as 2012 or 1996 without Wiggins. We would be the youngest team to ever win it. The guys returning might not even play in crunch time. It is unprecedented. The Fab Five is the only thing close, but this is its own thing. I am looking forward to it either way.

  18. J in Orlando
    5:23 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    13 We are a much heavier favorite going into next season than we were going into the championship season…that year we were not even THE favorite

  19. Austin
    5:23 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    16. Leadership is going to be an issue. We are going to rely on the Freshmen for that. Polson might bring a little bit of that to the table. Maybe Wiljter can step up in that regard. We will see how that goes.

  20. Ambiguous
    5:25 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    Crown em my ass. I’ll wait and see after this horrendous debacle of a season with high hopes.

  21. J in Orlando
    5:27 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    Andrew Harrison will be a vocal leader on this team by the time it is all said and done, as with all of Cal’s recent contending teams.

  22. Austin
    5:28 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    18. I think it is hard to assess how big of a favorite we are just yet. We don’t know yet if there is going to be another team like UNC to challenge us. Indiana or Michigan have a chance to do that if some guys return. UNC could be a real threat if they land Wiggins. IF you look at the top 15 teams, a lot of them have the potential to be very good. Teams like Ohio State, Wichita STate, Gonzaga, and many others return a BIG chunk of their team. It is going to be a lot better season overall. Not saying that we won’t be the best team, just that you might have a really seasoned and tough opponent starting in the Sweet Sixteen, and anything can happen in the NCAA tournament.

  23. Austin
    5:30 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    Crown em^ I think part of what made our 2012 team successful is they didn’t have the mentality that they were crowned before the season started. I felt like this team this year had that mentality. There is a ton of hype surrounding this class, they will have to fight the feelings of entitlement and stay together. They should be confident, but don’t crown em. Let them play and earn it.

  24. Maxbps8
    5:40 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    What’s coming back is LEADERSHIP. If Polson comes back, too, I will be a happy, happy man. Wilt, WCS, and AP are good and will provide ‘enough’ leadership but we really do need Polson to get us back to the promised land. W/o Polson we have, at best, a 5% chance of going 40-0 and a 25% chance of winning #9. W/ Polson those #’s go to: 50% and 75%, respectively.

  25. WHAt?.
    5:52 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    #24 is that you Mr. Polson? Lol so Polson is a 45-50% difference in UK’s chances for an unbeaten season and NCAA Chmpionship? That is ridiculous.

  26. Al's IndiCats
    6:12 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    We’ll see tonight how the twins react to the pressures of highly touted gamers play. 40-0 is almost unthinkable considering the schedule we’ll play next year. But I’ll say if Wiggins plays for us next year, that % will almost triple…..Go CATS!!!!!!!!!

  27. Dogwaller
    6:55 pm April 3, 2013 Permalink

    I’m with #13 – we just don’t know how all of these pieces will fit together and we can only play 5 at a time last I checked. I’d much rather be UK than anyone else but annoiting them now is just plain stupid. If Vegas set the odds of us winning it all next year at 3 to 1 then how is that a sure thing? I’d be curious to know what the odds of going undefeated would be? I’d say at least 25 to 1.