BTI's Rants and Ramblings: Is This the Most Crucial Calipari-Era Offseason?

Bryan the Internover 6 years

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Aritcle written by:Bryan the InternBryan the Intern
[caption id="attachment_176891" align="alignnone" width="300"]Photo by Darron Cummings, AP Photo by Darron Cummings, AP[/caption] Here is how you know you are at an elite, crazy passionate program like UK.  The season that ended 2 nights ago is considered "last season" already.  Fans have already begun to shift their attention to next year and what kind of team (and coach) they might have.  I think this might be the most crucial offseason in Calipari history.  Not only for the possibility that Cal could get some job offers but because the roster is so uncertain.  And following a heartbreaking end to THIS season, I think fan morale is a little shakier than in year's past.  Below I breakdown the 3 stages of the program and the key factors that make this such a crucial offseason: 1. THE COACH: Will he return? -A lot of things will have to fall into place for Calipari to leave for the NBA.  The Cavs would probably not win (or make) the NBA Finals.  They would then have to fire a 1st year coach after that and then Lebron would have to choose Cal.  Or maybe some other team like Brooklyn or the Lakers would have to offer a ridiculous sum of money, which isn't really isn't the norm anymore in the NBA.  But either way, Cal has now finished 6 years in Lexington and that means we are really getting into that part of a tenure where a guy has to decide whether he is good here for the rest of his career or it's time for a new challenge.  We will have to see what kind of opportunities will present themselves come June and July, but if we see Calipari back on the UK sidelines next season, I start to feel confident we get him through retirement.  And let's keep in mind that losing on Saturday might actually HELP in keeping him at UK.  If he had gone 40-0, what more would the man have needed to accomplish?  Now, he still has something to prove. 2. THE PLAYERS: A Roster in Flux -The roster for the 2015-16 season could look so many different ways.  Best case scenario is Dakari, Booker, Lyles, Poythress, and Lee all come back.  With Ulis at point and the already committed recruits, that is a Top 5 roster.  You would have quality size, scoring, depth, the total package.  That is a national title contender.  Worst case scenario you lose Dakari, Booker, and Lyles.  If that happens, let's be honest: that's an uncertain roster.  You never know how the recruits will be and will only Lee, Poythress, and Ulis as regulars back, you might have some scoring issues.  Is that still a Top 25 team?  Of course.  But it might be Cal's worst team on paper that he's had in Lexington.  My guess is that Booker comes back.  His defense clearly needs significant work and we saw his shot fluctuate a little as the season went on.  He would be a 1st round draft pick this year but he could also be an All-American next year and a lottery pick in 2016.  Throw him in the mix and suddenly the team vaults back into the Top 10.  I think Booker is the key and Lyles would be the bonus.  Keep both, national title contender.  Keep one, Top 10.  Lose both, big questions.  We saw what a mass exodus of players in 2012 did to the 2013 season (along with the Noel injury).  If we see a complete roster overturn in 2016, fans will probably be nervous.  Speaking of the fans...... 3. THE FANS: Where is the morale..... -UK just completed a 38-1 season and made the Final Four for the 4th time in 6 years.  But for whatever reason, I think fan morale coming into the offseason is lower than any season besides 2013.  The roster is going to look vastly different next year and that always brings anxiety.  Calipari will probably at least be up for some other jobs, which brings anxiety.  And frankly, we just completed a season with the best roster in the Cal era and it didn't win the title.  There have been 4 Final Fours in 6 years but only 1 title.  And I think more importantly, UK has lost in all 3 Final Four losses as the favorite.  I think that is what is causing fans the most anxiety is the fact that UK is losing key games they are projected to win.  You could easily argue Cal should have 3 titles right now, if not 4.  Certainly the 2010 team was the best in the Tournament at the time it lost too.  Nonetheless, it will be an interesting offseason for the fans.  Compared to the days of Tubby and Gillispie, fans are still more passionate and excited about the program than then.  But I think the Calipari era, this might be as nervous as fans can be about the direction of the program.

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2021-09-26