With nine McDonald’s All-Americans (and a Willie Cauley-Stein) on their roster there are many arguments as to what the strengths of this year’s team will be. The team has talent, speed, brains and several other aspects that will help them on the court. However, there is one thing that will bring them their biggest advantage. Size.
Former LSU coach, Trent Johnson, said it best in a 2010 interview about 7-foot 2 Andrew Del Piero — A LSU basketball player who walked on to the team after being ‘discovered’ at band practice playing the sousaphone — “You can’t teach height.” Even the most talented of players have been held back by their height. Fortunately Kentucky will not have to worry about that this year, both in the paint and in the backcourt. With three players along towering over 7 feet tall, Kentucky already has the upper hand in size alone.
Last year, Kentucky’s big weakness was defense and they finished ranking in 41st in the country in the Ken Pomeroy defensive rankings. Another year with defense like that would lessen the Cats’ chances at a title. However, Kentucky’s defense should improve with the height advantage they have this year. Length and height will pose defensive advantages when it comes to rebounds, blocks and turnovers.
Not only do you have three players towering at 7’0” tall, you also have Alex Poythress at 6’8”, Marcus Lee at 6’0”, and Trey Lyles at 6’10. You also have the Harrison twins in the backcourt towering at 6’6”. There are several different arguments for who the starting line-up should include. However, there is a guarantee of whoever Cal puts on the court to start, it will be scary.