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Jeff Goodman thinks this is Calipari’s Toughest Rebuild, Forgets 2013

We’ve nearly reached the doldrums of the summer sports season.  For college basketball writers, they call this season, “Write a story about Kentucky to generate traffic” season.  First at-bat is ESPN’s Jeff Goodman.

Goodman got the ball rolling with a piece titled, “Is this the biggest challenge John Calipari has faced at Kentucky?”  A legitimate question that I believe has already been asked before, the novel approach is a stat we hear after every season: “Calipari has to replace (fill in the blank with a large number) percent of his scoring.”

However, before Mr. Goodman shared the “staggering” number of points Calipari will have to replace, he mentioned many of Calipari’s former Kentucky teams.  One that was conveniently left off Goodman’s list was the 2012-13 team.

In 2013, Calipari lost seven of his top eight scorers from a National Championship team.  The incoming recruiting class featured Nerlens Noel, Archie Goodwin, Alex Poythress, Willie Cauley-Stein and Julius Mays.  That’s it.

Still, a team that relied on Kyle Wiltjer, Goodwin and Mays to produce points would’ve been a five-seven NCAA Tournament seed if not for a torn ACL in Noel’s left knee.

This year’s Kentucky team will have five incoming McDonald’s All-Americans, two returning Top 25 2016 forwards, a shooter, a slasher and the biggest story from the NBA Combine, a two-guard with a 6-11 wingspan and the second-highest vertical leap ever recorded.  Ten players will compete for playing time.

John Calipari will face challenges.  As Goodman noted, perimeter shooting and an improved SEC will undoubtedly be obstacles.  Figuring out a suitable rotation might be the most difficult challenge to navigate, but it’s nothing he hasn’t done before.

Is this Calipari’s youngest team?  Yes.  Is this his most difficult rebuild?  No.  If you’re looking for that, just turn back the clock five years.


Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

7 Comments for Jeff Goodman thinks this is Calipari’s Toughest Rebuild, Forgets 2013

  1. Shagaris Sock Puppet
    12:47 pm June 2, 2017 Permalink

    IDC what anybody says, ill say it now that this team is not anything like that 2013 team. Vanderbilt, Knox, Washington and Wenyen can all put it on the deck, shoot it from deep respectively and play position-less basketball. When you add a guy like Jamarl Baker, who will most likely be one of the last guys coming off the bench, this kid is soooo much better than what people think. This team is young, but this team is going to be scary good! Cal finally to me has the team hes wanted for a few years now. This is a team he can use to look back and say idc who you are if you want to come here and win an get drafted playing with great players who make each other better, come here and it doesnt matter what position you are, we will make it work using position-less players. If he can do that this year and successfully get players drafted out of the same position, it will reap benefits for the future of getting a ton of talent to all come together and play together without the thought of having playing time available.

  2. runningunnin.454
    1:04 pm June 2, 2017 Permalink

    The first part of this story is wrong….”Jeff Goodman thinks…”
    No he doesn’t.

  3. TBW3011
    3:58 pm June 2, 2017 Permalink

    The Noel ACL or we make the tourney myth pops up again. We sucked BEFORE nerlens got hurt. And obviously were even worse after. That team was in no way a lock to make the tourney WITH Nerlens.

    • Eazy
      6:08 pm June 2, 2017 Permalink

      They would have made it as an 8-9. We barely missed it even without Nerlens. We weren’t good that year but definitely a tournament team. The Missouri and Florida wins has us on the right side of the bubble going into the SEC tournament.

  4. wootdawg
    6:10 pm June 2, 2017 Permalink

    We would have definitely made the tournament. Nerlens was blocking 5-10 shots per game during a long stretch right before he was injured. We would’ve made the tourney no doubt. Definitely not a final 4, but your insane if you don’t realize we were a tournament team

  5. Mr. McBeevee
    8:58 am June 3, 2017 Permalink

    Most Kentucky fans quit reading Goodman a long time ago

  6. t_f_licker
    11:06 am June 3, 2017 Permalink

    Cal only has nine 5 stars on this year’s team, so yeah, Id say this will be his toughest by far…..