Something is happening at the University of Kentucky that hasn’t happened in a long time. Most of the Kentucky Wildcats starting lineup isn’t going to the NBA, but staying to play college basketball for another year. After yesterday’s announcement that Willie Cauley-Stein and Kyle Wiltjer will be returning to Kentucky for the 2013-2014 season, freshman Forward Alex Poythress has also decided to stay according to John Calipari via Twitter.
Staying was a smart move for Poythress. He’s extremely talented and would have succeeded if he had declared, but he will have an opportunity to improve his skills for a more successful NBA career. Poythress didn’t get as much attention as superstar and potential first overall NBA draft pick Nerlens Noel, but after Noel’s injury he shined in Kentucky’s crucial wins over the Florida Gators and Missouri Tigers that saw the Wildcats obtain the first overall seed in the NIT.
Because so many of their star players are returning (maybe even Noel), the Wildcats should be a favorite for the SEC title and the NCAA tournament title next year. There isn’t a team that returns more talent in the entire country. Poythress and the rest of Calipari’s team know that they have unfinished business with the Wildcats, and Kentucky will be more determined than ever to win a national championship.
Ryan Harrow and Archie Goodwin are the Wildcats’ only major losses (to transferring and the NBA draft respectively) this season. Last time at least two starters returned, Kentucky won the national championship with a 38 -2 record. Don’t expect anything different next year; the Wildcats are going to wipe off a disappointing 2012-2013 season and be spectacular in 2013-2014.