College basketball programs around the nation will be having their annual dog and pony shows tonight. In keeping with my theme from years past, I'm going to gush about Big Blue Madness in Lexington, Kentucky.
Wildcat fans are more excited than they've been in a long, long time. John Calipari has taken the reigns and is bringing the dribble drive motion offense to the nation's all time winningest program. Coach Cal has also enthused the fan base by going all over the state and speaking in excited terms about, well - his book and his team. Frankly, as a UK fan it's great to have a coach that's f.o.s. again. It's great to have a coach who embraces the spotlight, kisses babies, shakes hands, and that you wouldn't want trust to sell you a car.
Why else are we excited? The roster is starting to look like an elite roster again.
Freshman PG John Wall has been tabbed by a couple of pundits as pre-season national player of the year. He was both a McDonalds All-American and Jordan Brand All-American. Many felt that he would have been a top-5 draft pick in this year's NBA draft and most feel that he's a probable # 1 in next year's draft.
Freshman PF DeMarcus Cousins is big, powerful and has an attitude. The book on him as been the attitude and effort, but so far his time in Lexington has been incredible and he's been a fan favorite. He too was both a McDonalds and Jordan Brand All-American. Most fans expect him to be a lottery pick in next year's draft as well.
Freshman PG Eric Bledsoe is lightning fast, has great handles and was yet another 5-star recruit. He didn't have the hype to be All-American, but many feel he has the game. Likely a 3 year player at most.
Freshman PF/C Daniel Orton is big, powerful, intelligent and has a tremendous work ethic. He missed all but the last 3 games of his senior season due to knee surgery. He was a Jordan Brand AA. He spent the summer in San Francisco with "Hells Trainer" getting into shape for this season. He's a funny young man who is close to his family after the loss of his mother last year. Probably a 2 year player.
Freshman G/SF Jon Hood is Kentucky's reigning Mr. Basketball. Long, athletic and eager he will have opportunities, but won't be relied upon to contribute heavily this season. Best bet of the freshmen to be on campus for senior day.
Sophomore G/SF Darnell Dodson is another newcomer from Miami-Dade JC. He was Memphis bound and followed Cal to Lexington. He originally committed to Pitt, but issues with the NCAA clearinghouse sent him to Miami-Dade. He's supposed to be a pure shooter.
The holdovers -
I have yet to see an All-American Team that didn't have junior PF Patrick Patterson somewhere on the first or second team. He's on pace to graduate after this season and will likely go to the NBA as well. He wants to go out as a winner. He's a special guy with a great family and UK fans feel he deserves to go out on top.
Sophomore forward Darius Miller played for the USA's U-21 team that won gold this summer. He's also reportedly blossomed under Cal. He will continue to improve and will be a fan favorite throughout his 4 seasons at UK.
Sophomore De'Andre Liggins is reportedly a new man in Cal's system. He made UK fans furious by refusing to re-enter a game against Kansas State last season. Since that time word of Gillispie's antics and "relationship" with the team have surfaced so he's getting a clean slate.
Junior Josh Harrellson is lighter and loving Cal. Last year at Vanderbilt Gillispie forced him to sit in a bathroom stall at halftime of a game and then made him ride back to Lexington in an equipment truck. As an aside, I'm not surprised that Gillispie was recently arrested for DUI, just happy that he didn't hurt anyone.
Senior SF Ramon Harris will most likely lose his starting spot and most of his minutes this year. He's a "team" guy and has a great attitude, he'll be a leader and will not likely pout.
Senior PF/C Perry Stevenson is another guy who will likely lose his starting spot and many minutes this year. He has tremendous hops and a great attitude. Hopefully he'll make the most of the minutes he does get and be rewarded for his 4 years of work with a deep NCAA run.
Senior Mark Krebs was a walk-on that Coach Cal rewarded with a scholarship. He can shoot the rock and Cal may use him as an actual threat from time to time.
There is more than you want to know about the 2009-2010 University of Kentucky Wildcats. Big Blue Madness tonight at 6:00 pm CDT. The team is young, but talented. The pundits expect big things out of them, but know that they have a steep learning curve to climb.
So - as always - what does your team do to kick off the season and what are your prospects like this year?
Providence lost most of a team that knocked off Pitt when they were #1, and then found a way to make the NIT when they had a good shot at the NCAA Tourney. Thus, if things break well, they could get into 15th place in the Big East. As for Kentucky, it is not a question of If they'll make the Final Four with Coach Cal, but How long that Final Four will actually last in the official record book.
Originally posted by redsoxnationProvidence lost most of a team that knocked off Pitt when they were #1, and then found a way to make the NIT when they had a good shot at the NCAA Tourney. Thus, if things break well, they could get into 15th place in the Big East. As for Kentucky, it is not a question of If they'll make the Final Four with Coach Cal, but How long that Final Four will actually last in the official record book.
I hope your wrong.
I tell myself that he had no control over Camby and the agent.
Rose was cleared by the NCAA's clearninghouse.
I tell myself those things repeatedly.
Besides, it's easier to recruit to UK with a $40 million practice facility.
Well I'd have to say prospects look pretty good for Carolina, assuming that we get some quality play from our guards. I have no idea what we're going to look like on the floor this year, but there's no reason to complain about having six big bodies to transfer through the paint. If nothing else, we have a lot of fouls to give down low.
I'd be content with winning the ACC and the ACC tournament (and discontent with winning neither) and I'd be thrilled to go deep into the tournament but I don't feel you can really expect it with such a young team.
But man, it'd be great. Heels fans would never have to hear about 91-92 again.
Can't wait to see how we do against Michigan State, Kentucky, and Texas. It's gonna be a hell of a December.
As for my current home, I'll be attending Sun Devils games for the second year. I'm anxious to see what Herb Sendek can conjure up this year without Harden and Pendergraph. It's looking to be a down year for the Pac-10 so if ASU can surprise a few people they may be able to put together a good enough record to go dancing with.
Okafor... not that I'm a homer or anything (which I am), but Emeka has been asked to do a ton more than Gordon this year. He's been asked to be a #1 scoring option (which he isn't), their top interior presence defensively, and arguably a team leader.