When Kentucky signed the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation that included two top-ten prospects in Brandon Boston Jr. and Terrence Clarke, then added star transfer Olivier Sarr, the Wildcats quickly emerged as a title contender for the upcoming 2020-21 season.
After seeing his team come together in Lexington for the first time this offseason, UK head coach John Calipari added to the excitement, telling KSR that this group has the potential to be one of the few special groups in recent memory.
“We have to play this season,” Calipari said in an interview with KSR, “because I do have a good team. Whew, we gotta play. … This group is all bought into that, both feet. Their parents trust us with their child, and we’re really good. We got some really good players.
“So I’m sitting here saying, [having a special group] has happened three or four times, but let me tell you what those teams have done. The teams you’re talking about became unbelievable teams. Teams.”
Individually, Clarke and Sarr are (unsurprisingly) rumored to be two of the most impressive players during preseason workouts. For the former, though, he feels the entire team is “great” and has “a lot of surprises.”
“I feel like the whole team has a lot of surprises,” Clarke said in a television interview on BBN Tonight. “We’re all freshmen, but we all bring different things to the team. I feel like our whole team is great. To me, I feel like our team is exactly what I want it to be. We’re all dogs, we all want to play, we all have that spirit. Forget just me and Olivier, I think everybody is great.”
Part of what makes the team “great” from day one? This offseason, Clarke joined Boston and five-star guard Devin Askew out in California to train for several weeks leading up to move-in day at Kentucky.
With UK’s likely starting backcourt developing chemistry early, they feel they have a leg up on the competition heading into the season.
“For us, I think we all had a picture of how good we were as players, but us playing this summer and getting our chemistry right on the court, we have a better feel for each other,” Clark said. “Devin and BJ are great basketball players. It was great to just work out with them and see how they work compared to me being in Boston and training. I got to see their strengths and their struggles, see how I can help with them. Coming into the season, we’ll definitely need to know our strengths and weaknesses.”
The group as a whole is looking up to their Kentucky predecessors in the NBA Playoffs for motivation as they adjust to life in Lexington. If they take care of business at UK, they can be among the next group of former Wildcat stars to shine in the league.
“As a team, we definitely come to practice and talk about the games a lot,” Clarke said. “Me personally, I watch every game. I’m a Celtics fan, so watching what Tyler [Herro] and Bam [Adebayo] did to them, it was heartbreaking, but those are guys that have been here. You can see it. One of the main reasons I came here is because of the legacy. You can see it now today, these guys are build different. Tyler, Bam, Anthony [Davis], those guys play and they win.”