“#2 KENTUCKY WILDCATS”


Article written by Rob Giannotti at www.inthegymrange.com

Last Season Record: (38-1), Lost to Wisconsin 71-64 in Final Four National Semifinal

Head Coach: John Calipari: Entering 7th season as Head Coach (pictured below)

Key Departures:John-Calipari

  1. Karl-Anthony Towns (#1 pick in 2015 NBA Draft, Minnesota Timberwolves)
  2. Willey Cauley-Stein( #6 pick in 2015 NBA Draft, Sacramento Kings)
  3. Trey Lyles (#12 pick in 2015 NBA Draft, Utah Jazz)
  4. Devin Booker (#13 pick in 2015 NBA Draft, Phoenix Suns)
  5. Aaron Harrsion (Undrafted in 2015 NBA Draft, now on Charlotte Hornets roster)
  6. Andrew Harrison (#44 pick in 2015 NBA Draft, Phoenix Suns)
  7. Dakari Johnson ( #48 pick in 2015 NBA Draft, Oklahoma City Thunder)

Key Newcomers: rivals.com #2 ranked recruiting class in the country

  1. Skal Labissiere (Forward) rivals.com #1 ranked player in the country
  2. Isaiah Briscoe (Guard) rivals.com #10 ranked player in the country
  3. Jamal Murray (Guard) rivals.com #9 ranked player in the country
  4. Charles Matthews (Guard) rivals.com #48 ranked player in the country
  5. Isaac Humphries ( Forward) not ranked among rivals.com top 250 players, 4 star recruit
  6. Mychal Mulder (Guard) not ranked among rivals.com top 150 players, 4 star recruit

Key Returning Players:

  1. Tyler Ulis (Point Guard) Sophomore: Avg. 3.6 apg
  2. Alex Poythress (Power Forward) Senior: Avg. 5.5ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.5 bpg ( started first 8 games then tore ACL in early December, out for remainder of 2014-15 season)
  3. Marcus Lee (Power Forward) Junior: Avg. 2.6ppg, 2.7rpg, 27 blocked shots on season
  4. Dominique Hawkins (Guard) Junior: Avg. 1.3ppg, appeared in 23 games

 

TEAM OVERVIEW

80 minutes away from perfection, the Kentucky Wildcats let a 2nd half lead slip away and saw their 2015 dreams shatter on the floor at Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the NFL Indianapolis Colts. While a 38-1 record would be the envy of 99% of coaches, John Calipari isn’t like many coaches. The state of Kentucky does not care about appearing in Final Four’s. There is only one goal. Winning the National Championship.

So after being so close to perfection and losing an unseen 6 players to the NBA, what does coach Calipari have in store for the 2015-16 season? Start with the number 2 ranked recruiting class (according to rivals.com) in the land. C/F Skal Labissiere heads to Lexington with expectations to fill Karl-Anthony Towns shoes and he has the talent to accomplish that. A projected top 3 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft Labissiere has NBA scouts drooling with his overall game. Once he adds weight the sky is the limit. Freshmen guards Isaisah Briscoe and Jamal Murray will look to take over for the Harrison twins and both have more potential then both Andrew and Aaron did.

Sophomore Tyler Ulis will be the starting point guard and look for a big year from the 5’8″ jitterbug. Don’t let his size fool you. Ulis has the talent to be an all-american this year. Junior Forward Marcus Lee returns and will play a much bigger role then last year when court minutes were scarce when a combination of Towns, Johnson, and Cauley-Stein were on the floor the majority of the 40 minutes.

Skal-Labissiere-2

Skal Labissiere

 

FINAL FOUR IF:

 If the incoming freshmen play like the future NBA players they are projected to be Calipari will be ecstatic. A  combination of Ulis, Murray, and Briscoe might just be the most talented backcourt in the land. Labissiere has the talent to have a Karl-Anthony Towns like impact. Perhaps no player on the Wildcat’s roster this season will be as important to the teams success then Senior F Alex Poythress. As he was seemingly on his way to a major breakout 2014-15 season, Poythress abruptly tore his ACL in early December and was lost for the season. A healthy and productive year from him will only help Labissiere and the rest of the frontline and along with the ultra-talented backcourt it might just be enough to be playing on college basketball’s final weekend of the year.

Alex-Poythress

Alex Poythress

 

 

2 thoughts on ““#2 KENTUCKY WILDCATS””

  1. Rob, you have a great website for those basketball fanatics, like myself.
    Living now in Kentucky, I’m a UK fan addict. For a team that lost 1/2 their star players to the NBA, there doing pretty good at 7-0 and just beating Louisville their arch rivals. I’m not too sure how they will fair if they make it to the finals with the pressure. Kind of melted down last year.
    I enjoyed your team and player analysis and predictions.
    Your article on the college players that are now playing for the NBA and for which teams was interesting.
    I was wondering where the Harrison twins ended up.
    I will be stopping by to get the latest updates on basketball.
    Keep up the great work.
    Bob

    1. Thank you. I appreciate it. Kentucky is good now but will be a lot better by the end of the season. John Calipari gets the most out of his players and gets them to sacrifice personal glory for the good of the team.

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