No one should be overwhelmed by a feeling of shock and awe that the Kentucky Wildcats are average at the moment with a 4-3 record and they are out of the Top 25.
Just because you win a championship one year doesn’t mean you are guaranteed to ride that success to another one the following year.
Kentucky lost its stars from that national title team and its new wave of freshmen sensations have yet to grasp what it takes to compete at a high level.
Will they get there at some point? Most likely. After all, John Calipari does know how to coach basketball.
Will they win the national championship again? Probably not.
Still, don’t expect the Wildcats to remain average the entire year. Ruling out the Wildcats as a contender in the Southeastern Conference and NCAA tournament would be a mistake.
“I keep telling you, we have a long way to go,” Calipari said in an Associated Press article on Monday. “Individual players have to fall in love with that gym. They haven’t yet. So, do they have to keep falling until they realize that because you have Kentucky across your chest that it makes them play harder. It doesn’t give you any kind of edge.”
No it does not. The name on a jersey has never won a game for any team.
Players win games through hard work in practice and execution in games, and at some point, the players on this Kentucky team will grasp that concept.
It just may take a little more time for it all to come together.
“Eventually someone will step up,” Calipari said. “I’m still learning about the team and what it needs from me and what I need to instill in it.”
Calipari will figure it out and his players will respond. At some point, Kentucky will start playing like Kentucky again.
Brian Lester is a featured Big Ten columnist and college basketball writer for Rant Sports. He is a member of the United States Basketball Writers Association as well.
Follow him on Twitter @BLester1993 or send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.