Kentucky Basketball: Wildcats' Final Four Trip Greatest Redemption Story In All Of Sports

By Ryan Wenzell
Kentucky Wildcats Final Four
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

What an incredible turnaround by the Kentucky Wildcats. They came into the 2013 campaign with more hype and expectations surrounding them than perhaps any team in college basketball history. They had the most loaded recruiting class in the history of the sport.

There were five-star recruits both in their starting lineup and on their bench. There was even talk of them running the table and going undefeated from start to finish.

Then the regular season happened.

The Wildcats struggled to get going. The freshman class had a steep learning curve and it showed. Many so called “experts” wrote this young team off by the middle of the season because of their struggles to mesh and play team basketball. Boy are they looking foolish now. The Wildcats punched their ticket to the Final Four after defeating the Michigan Wolverines in one of the more thrilling college basketball games in some time.

Freshman phenom Julius Randle led the way with another double-double, finishing with 16 points and 11 boards. He was simply a man among boys in this one.

The biggest moment of the game came at the end as the Wildcats and head coach John Calipari decided to ride the hot hand in Aaron Harrison. He rose over Caris LeVert‘s outstretched arms and drained a tightly contested three-pointer.

Who knew a freshman could have ice in his veins? Harrison certainly showed that he belongs in the big moment, and so did this Wildcat team. We have watched them grow up over the course of the season. These players are no longer freshmen. The tournament experience has matured them fast. I see flashes of the Fab 5 in this team. Unlike that squad, I believe this team can go all the way.

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