What to watch for this offseason

Stuart Hammerover 9 years

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Aritcle written by:Stuart HammerStuart Hammer

StuartHammerKSR

The incredible euphoria of winning a championship is alive and well, and the joy of witnessing your team win 38 games in a season is a memory that will last forever. But if you’re anything like me, you don’t want this season to be over. We’ve literally fallen in love with this team — their chemistry was tangible and we felt, in some sense, a part of their awesome run. While some of the names may change, the passion and love for Wildcats basketball will not. Here’s some of what to watch for as we head into the long basketball offseason. -- “Kentucky, Kentucky, Kentucky” Prepare for the good, the bad, and the ugly. We’ll see plenty of talk about Kentucky and their rise back atop the college basketball world. No doubt we’ll see the haters come out in full force against Coach Calipari and his system, and don’t be shocked to see a member of that infamous triumvirate take a stab at bringing national attention to the program in the wrong way. Not to say Kentucky has done anything off the mark, but we’ve seen it over and over in the past. With the King of basketball back upon its throne, all the talk will be on the Cats and their breaking, once and for all, the stereotype of talent over experience. So many times we heard the argument, “you can’t win with so much youth.” Well, guess what? Yes you can. The only thing left to do now, as Calipari always seems to do, is reload. -- Future Cats Which brings us to the next point: Who’s next? Shabazz Muhammad and Nerlens Noel — the overall No. 1 and No. 2 players in this year’s class — are the two priorities for Coach Calipari, and Anthony Bennett not far behind. With most predicting six Cats to exit the team, that leaves more than enough room for the incoming class, headlined by Alex Poythress and Archie Goodwin, plus some. I have to say, and nothing against UCLA or Georgetown, both are fine institutions and have rich tradition as well as plenty to offer for athletes; if Coach Calipari can’t get these two to commit to Kentucky, it was never meant to be. Coming off a national title run and literally a clean slate to build new, Muhammad and Noel would be front and center at the heart of college basketball. If they don’t commit on those terms, nothing would have made that change. Coach Calipari has made it perfectly clear; coming to Kentucky is about the name on the front of your jersey, not the back. At the risk of sounding condescending: If you want to be a part of something special, the choice is really easy. -- Rumor mill Another reoccurring theme seems to be the NBA coaching rumors. Already “sources” were confirming that Calipari was working out a deal with the New York Knicks, just two days after winning the title. It’s baloney. Coach Calipari isn’t leaving Kentucky — not yet. He confirmed that on his blog, telling the masses, “I’m not going anywhere.” This is a time we should celebrate and show our Wildcat pride to the world, not cower in fear, biting our nails at the potential Calipari exits Lexington. Calipari said, “We’ve waited 14 years for this, so let’s anyone ruin this for us. Don’t let them steal your joy.” -- Rival roundup Plenty of way-too-early-preseason rankings have already been released, and most have Kentucky listed in the top-five (even without a complete signing class), along with rivals Louisville and Indiana. Both the Cardinals and Hoosiers are returning a ton of players — the Hoosiers will be especially dangerous and are certainly poised to make a run at the title. How fun will that be? Kentucky, Louisville and Indiana could quite possibly be the top-three teams in the nation to start the college basketball season in 2012. Much of this hinges on who does decide to return for both Louisville and Indiana, but as it currently stands, it seems both teams will return all key players other than those graduating.

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2021-09-20

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