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Who will be this year’s “star”?


In Calipari’s five years at Kentucky, his teams have been known for their vast collections of talent. However, each season has also featured one notable “star” – the obvious best player that the team could lean on when the going got tough. John Wall, Brandon Knight, Anthony Davis, Nerlens Noel, and Julius Randle can all be thought of as the “stars” of their respective squads. However, with a less-heralded recruiting class and a slew of returning talent, it is unclear who will fulfill this role in the upcoming season. A case can be made for several of this year’s players:

Karl Anthony Towns

Towns is the highest-rated signee in this year’s class (#5 prospect according to Scout) and recently won Gatorade’s Male Athlete of the Year award. Karl has a great head on his shoulders and a competitive spirit – traits that, when combined with his talent, could make him a leader on next year’s team. Of course, he will have to win a starting position in Kentucky’s loaded front-court first – which isn’t necessarily a given.

Aaron Harrison

We already know he’s clutch. If Aaron can become a bit more consistent next season, look out. He’s likely to be the team’s leading scorer; will that be enough to make him the “star”?

Willie Cauley-Stein

Willie has been a projected lottery pick for the past two seasons. He’s now got two years of experience under his belt and will be hungry following his early exit from the NCAA tournament. When he’s on, Willie’s shot-blocking presence is comparable to Noel’s or Davis’s. Could he up the ante and become the team’s key player next season?

Dakari Johnson

He took the starting job from Cauley-Stein in the latter part of last season, and at times Dakari has looked unstoppable in the paint. Apparently he’s become a bit leaner, which should help with his quickness. If Johnson can reclaim a starting spot, he could be a force to be reckoned with next year.

Alex Poythress

Alex has shown beastly potential since his freshman season. He will be a veteran on next year’s squad and could start at the 3 spot. Can he break out of his shell and become the team’s “star”? It would be awesome to watch.

Andrew Harrison

Last season’s “tweak” that precipitated the incredible postseason run revolved around him. Andrew will be Calipari’s first returning point guard at UK. Considering Cal’s history with point guards, the prospects are pretty darn good.

So, there we have it. Six players who could potentially be the “star” of next year’s team, and we didn’t even consider top 10 recruit Trey Lyles or projected first-rounder Marcus Lee. Of course, with all of the talent in Lexington next season, the upcoming team could buck the trend and have a sort of “star-by-committee”. It doesn’t happen often (the 2004 Detroit Pistons would probably be the best example) but neither does the depth of talent that Kentucky will have next season.

What do you think? Who will be next year’s star? Will the team even have one?

Article written by Caleb Epley

Vanderbilt student, Kentucky fan. Skilled at using big words and telling bad jokes. Twitter: @CalebEpleyKSR

22 Comments for Who will be this year’s “star”?

  1. 2mites
    4:17 pm July 27, 2014 Permalink

    WHY do we need a star. Can not this team be a star by committee? The problem last year was that Randle was the focus of the offense and that hurt the team. When they became more team oriented in the tournament we all seen what could happen. I say don’t put the load on any one guy, with the players we got anyone on the floor can be trouble for the other team. TEAM!!!!

    • Bob
      9:41 pm July 27, 2014 Permalink

      2mites you hit the nail on the head . This is an team sport and it’s good to have players whom can step up when called on ( Lee ) it still revoles arround team play . I think too much pressure on put on Randle’s shoulders and it effected his play. This year the press is trying to use Towns as it’s headline. However this is an team this year not an bunch of hifh school kids . Towns will benetifit from this team and knowledge. I am an big Johnson fan and i think he’ll be great this year. However whom will shine will change from game to game. i am more excited about this years team than i was about last years . Maybe it’s an old man thing but i want to see them crush UCLA .I just think coach Cal has the players to select 5 that can match up with any team UK will meet this year and any style game thrown at UK .

  2. shooter
    4:19 pm July 27, 2014 Permalink

    I would be surprised if anyone averages 15 a game.

  3. Jordan
    4:29 pm July 27, 2014 Permalink

    I’ve already made my projected stats for each of the guys…

    Poythress – 6.2pts 5.5rebs 0.9ast 0.6stl 0.9blk
    Aa Harrison – 10.9pts 3.0rebs 1.9ast 0.8stl 0.2blk
    Cauley-Stein – 7.0pts 7.6rebs 0.5ast 0.5stl 1.4blk
    An Harrison – 9.8pts 2.5rebs 4.3ast 0.9stl 0.1blk
    Johnson – 6.7pts 5.6rebs 0.1ast 0.1stl 1.0blk
    Marcus Lee – 3.8pts 2.7rebs 0.3stl 1.1blk
    Devin Booker – 8.1pts 1.5rebs 1.3ast 0.4stl
    Trey Lyles – 8.7pts 5.9rebs 0.7ast 0.5stl 0.6blk
    Karl Towns – 12.6pts 8.9rebs 2.0ast 0.8stl 1.1blk
    Tyler Ulis – 6.4pts 1.1rebs 4.8ast 1.1stl

    So in short I think Karl Towns will be the star player.

    • Michael
      6:01 pm July 27, 2014 Permalink

      Interesting. The only glaring problem I see is Cauley-Stein averaging 1.4 blocks.

    • RandyB
      6:10 pm July 27, 2014 Permalink

      Jordan, your projected stats (wild speculation and waste of time I admire) would suggest that the starting line-up would be:
      Towns at center.
      Andrew and Aaron at guard.
      Booker at small forward.
      And Lyles at power forward
      This would be an interesting, good-shooting crew, but is that what you suspect happens?

    • lol
      6:55 pm July 27, 2014 Permalink

      Area you 12 years old? Sweet “projections”

  4. UKgrad'13
    5:25 pm July 27, 2014 Permalink

    I’m going with Towns

  5. Bullitt County UK fan
    5:26 pm July 27, 2014 Permalink

    Towns if anyone. We can go 12 deep, but really no big star player.

  6. bluetooth
    5:29 pm July 27, 2014 Permalink

    willie should be odds on favorite to be a game dominator , poythress if he decides to be the beast we know hes capable of being is right there with willie

  7. SoCal Will
    5:53 pm July 27, 2014 Permalink

    I think if we define star as the guy you want with the ball in his hands and the game on the line then Aaron is the guy. If we define star as the kid who can dominate then Karl might evolve into that guy. Cal may run the offense through the 4 spot if Alex and Marcus are the threes and neither can shoot as well as Karl or Trey. Karl is 7’1″ and has a pure stroke. The kid will be hard to stop if he has confidence.

  8. Wildcat_Scott
    6:55 pm July 27, 2014 Permalink

    1998 didn’t have a “star”. Rather, they had an amazing coach and a bunch of great guys who figured out how to play together. Sound familiar? The strength of this year’s team will be that they DON’T have that one guy. Anyone, on any given night, could be the game changer. And, that would terrify me if I was an opposing coach trying to get my team ready to play the Cats.

    • 2mites
      7:58 pm July 27, 2014 Permalink

      I said that already in post #1

  9. Willy
    7:16 pm July 27, 2014 Permalink

    Witn this talent, the TEAM should be the star, that will benefit everyone!!

    • 2mites
      7:59 pm July 27, 2014 Permalink

      I said that in post #1

    • CorntuckyJoe
      8:19 pm July 27, 2014 Permalink

      Good point Willy (yes, 2mites we know you said it first, how old r u ? 7-8 ?

  10. Casper
    7:28 pm July 27, 2014 Permalink

    Karl will be the star.

  11. BNClay
    9:41 pm July 27, 2014 Permalink

    I fully expect Dakari to wind up the leading scorer on the team at 14-16 a game.

  12. Chris from Paducah
    10:50 pm July 27, 2014 Permalink

    Taking a speech from Cal.. The 2012 team stars were Davis and Gilchrist and yet they took less shots than some of the other players. So who will take the most shots? One of the Harrison’s? Towns? Who knows at this point but at the end of the day we all the talent to possibly be one of the best UK teams ever.

    Also, watching a video from the ’96 game vs LSU where we put up 86 points in the first half, I would love to see Cal utilize our size and speed for a full court press. We have the depth to sub in and out so why not at least try it out.

  13. Willy
    12:57 am July 28, 2014 Permalink

    Like I said, this TEAM needs the TEAM to be the STAR,anything else & we’ll be flirting with real disappointment & I don’t want to see that, this can be really, really special, I love this school & this program, so please let’s concentrate on TEAM, not on STAR!!!

    • Jake
      7:05 pm July 28, 2014 Permalink

      Exactly. People are gonna be disappointed in Towns he’s got a lot of good skills but his agility is far from being able to dominate a game. Only way a player stands out is if the team plays well as group