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ESPN says UK is the team with the most to prove this season

2013 Alumni Game

ESPN’s College Basketball preview rolls on, with Eammon Brennan giving us his top ten teams with the most to prove this season. Considering all the hype and expectations surrounding UK’s freshman class, it shouldn’t be a surprise that they’re at the top:

1. Kentucky: There may be a lonely faction out there in the Internet hinterlands who would assume this argument is about John Calipari. Sorry, but no: Calipari has nothing to prove. Yeah, Robert Morris in the NIT, I know, I know, but come on: We’re not even two full years removed from Kentucky’s national title. Remember that? When Calipari got the top two picks in the NBA draft to happily settle for the fourth- and fifth-highest percentage of their team’s shots en route to a 38-2 championship season? You remember that, right? Clearly, Calipari can mesh a class of hyper-talented freshmen with a mix of almost-equally-talented talented returners and win a national title, which is the be-all goal of Kentucky’s 2013-14 campaign. That exact thing just happened!

No, this designation is about Kentucky’s players. Forget Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist; forget John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins; forget Derrick Rose. Calipari has had a lot of crazy recruiting classes in his career, but none of them have come close to this kind of hype. In March, less than 15 hours after the Wildcats’ embarrassing loss to Robert Morris, Julius Randle committed to Kentucky. A few hours later, recruiting guru Dave Telep wrote that Calipari’s class was the best ever — better even than Michigan’s Fab Five, “the standard bearer for recruiting classes.”

So, yeah, Randle and his classmates — No. 5 ranked Andrew Harrison, No. 7-ranked Dakari Johnson, No. 8-ranked James Young, No. 9-ranked Aaron Harrison, and No. 25-ranked Marcus Lee — have something to prove. That goes double for disappointing sophomore holdovers Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein. The ceiling here is unfathomable — like, undefeated-season-unfathomable — and it’s almost impossible to envision Calipari presiding over another disaster. Not with this talent. But it is incumbent upon a very confident, cocksure group to come together, to sublimate their individual desires for the good of the team – all of that boring, cliche stuff. The inverse of “best recruiting class ever” is “most disappointing recruiting class ever,” and that’s a legacy no one wants to leave behind.

From what I’ve seen from this group so far, I don’t think they’ll have any problem living up to the hype:

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

12 Comments for ESPN says UK is the team with the most to prove this season

  1. 8andcounting
    5:43 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    The term ‘cocksure’ isn’t used nearly enough.

  2. Duuuuuude
    6:03 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    “disappointing sophomore holdovers Willie Cauley-Stein”? He was never in the conversation a year ago. He was to be a non-factor. He was a project. Nobody thought he would be ready for serious minutes until this year. The fact that he considered entering the draft proves that he was much more than a disappointment. He well and away exceeded all expectations I ever read.

  3. cotton
    6:09 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    I LOVE the freshmen!!!!!!! If Poy and Willie don’t improve,…then they will sit. In fact, they need to improve drastically. Course I worry more about Poy than I do Willie. But Dakari will be great, will the twins, Young, Randle & Lee!!!!!!! I suspect Willis and Hawkins will be fine players too. Then Polson, Hood, et. al. Yeah,..gonna be a great team. Only problem for Cal’s Cats is,..there will be a lot of great teams in college bball this year. But no one has ever had more talent on a college basketball team than this year’s Big Blue!!!!!! It’s gonna be fun. Jmho.

  4. Dr. J
    6:29 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    Well it now appears that the sport’s pundits expect UK to contend for championships every year. Sure takes the monkey off BBN’s back and puts it where it means very little. It’s a great time to enjoy Big Blue Basketball. They may be young, but they are talented and hungry for a title. The hungry usually receive nourishment, especially when they have the skill set to hunt.

  5. BOSOX
    7:20 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    I read some of comments, they were like ” They were suppose to be best team last year. They lost in NIT to Robert Morris and F Kentucky they cheat and Louisville fans boasting how they are best team in state next year!!!” Say whatever that’s fine…. But the Louisville fans are making me hate them even more!!!!!! My goodness I hope UK BEATS the living crap out of them in Dec… I really hate Louisville

  6. Delk for 3
    7:24 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    These guys are going to be damn good. There is no doubting that. In all seriousness though, we must chill on the guaranteed national championship talk. It flat-out is not fair to these guys and it puts entirely too much unnecessary pressure on their shoulders. That team in 2012 had some extremely special players AND guys that were drilling three-pointers all around the perimeter throughout the tournament. Too many people overlook that aspect from that team — the abundance of outside shooting. This team will need some very good outside shooting as well and will need to be hitting come tournament time. They can be as talented as can be but in college basketball, three-point shooting is the greatest equalizer. Lack of outside shooting doomed John Wall’s team. Who knows? It could happen here. Regardless, if these guys do their best that is all I will ask for. If the shots don’t happen to drop on a given night in March, I do not want these guys to feel worse than they already will feel.

  7. Delk for 3
    7:26 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    2 — Great point. Willie has hardly been a disappointment in any way. Willie has a very good chance to be the greatest center in college basketball this season.

  8. Bunny
    7:59 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    Looking forward to a great season, Mrs TT! We’ll soon find out how great after we play at Mich St…

    Will you make me a sandwich?

  9. cotton
    8:02 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    The ONLY weak spot I can see for this team “might” be free throw shooting. I just hope this team is at least average. I think they’ll be fine with the trey,..with the twins and James Young,..not to mention a couple others. But to win the big games, you got to hit free throws. We’ll see. Go Big Blue!!!!!!!

  10. Stmcats
    8:36 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink


  11. Andre's in the house
    6:54 am September 18, 2013 Permalink


  12. bluristhurr
    11:48 am September 18, 2013 Permalink

    Is that Bradley in the pic?