With the Kentucky Wildcats falling to the Connecticut Huskies in the 2014 NCAA Tournament championship game, most people expected the news surrounding the Wildcats to turn to the 2014 NBA Draft and whether or not head coach John Calipari will be able to rebuild for next season. However, in a surprise move, a majority of Kentucky’s squad from last season has opted to return.
Today via Twitter, Aaron and Andrew Harrison announced that they would stay with the Wildcats. Throughout the past few weeks Marcus Lee, Dakari Johnson, Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein have announced that they would return as well. Add these returners to the already NBA-ready talent of incoming freshmen like Karl Towns Jr., Trey Lyles, Devin Booker and Tyler Ulis, and the Wildcats could probably hang with a few NBA teams for at least three quarters.
I know that it’s far too early to speculate on whether or not the Wildcats will be able to go undefeated next season, but they will have at least five players on their bench who could start in the NBA. I’ll even go as far as to say that Kentucky’s bench would be a top 15 team in college basketball if they played separately. This is the type of college basketball team that will go down in history as either one of the greatest of all time or the most disappointing of all time – there is no in between.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a Kentucky fan or not; this team is going to be ridiculously good next season. Calipari has taken a lot of flack for his one-and-done teams, but every season that he’s had at least two expected one-and-done players return, the Wildcats have at least gone to the National Championship game. With six returners, who knows what is possible.
Is it too early to say that Kentucky will run the table next year and win the 2015 NCAA Tournament? Yes, of course. However, this team, at least on paper, has the talent to be one of the most historic and remembered teams in all of college basketball. I don’t know about you, but I’ll be tuning in to every game.