It’s no surprise that Kentucky shattered the mold of “experience wins titles” a season ago, when a star-studded lineup of freshman plowed their way through the NCAA tournament en route to a championship. But Calipari seems to have affirmed the notion that one-and-done’s can win.
Yahoo! Sports put together a pre-season All-Freshman team for next season, and Kentucky landed two players on the roster. One thing to note: This isn’t the 12 best freshmen in the class, rather a team that is built and could compete well together. Take a look at the full article, and read the buzz for each player.
PG Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell (Indiana)
SG Ricardo Ledo (Providence)
SF Shabazz Muhammad (UCLA)
PF Mitch McGary (Michigan)
C Nerlens Noel (Kentucky)
The NCAA is investigating Noel’s background, specifically his ties with two men from the Boston area, where he grew up. Regardless of the inquiry, Noel is a defensive difference-maker. While he lacks bulk, he is athletic and already has advanced shot-blocking techniques. His offense remains somewhat raw, but his defense and rebounding make up for that. Noel reclassified as a senior during the school year.
PG Marcus Paige (North Carolina)
SG Rodney Purvis (NC State)
SG Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State)
G/F Kyle Anderson (UCLA)
SF Winston Shepard (San Diego State)
PF Alex Poythress (Kentucky)
UK famously lost its top six players from its national title team, meaning Pothyress should slide right into the starting power forward role left vacant by Terrence Jones. He is athletic and runs the floor extremely well for a big man. He handles the ball well, and possesses a solid all-around offensive game; he can hit the 15-footer and also can put the ball on the floor and slash to the rim. He puts his athleticism to good use on the defensive end as well.
C Przemek Karnowski (Gonzaga)
Do you think that starting five could compete with any team in America? As much as it hurts to admit, Yogi Ferrell is the real deal and will be a stud for the Hoosiers. With him distributing to Noel in the paint, and Muhammad on the wing, there’s a ton of athleticism that most teams simply couldn’t stop.
One player that’s not a real dramatic pick is Mitch McGary, the former Kentucky recruit. His ranking stock plummeted with a mediocre season for Brewster Academy, most notably by his lack of ability to score. However, with so many players on this team already that can score, having a big body like McGary’s might not be a bad thing.