By RantSports Staff on August 15, 2014
The Kentucky Wildcats had a roller coaster ride of a season in 2013-14 that ended with a loss in the national title game. John Calipari’s team has the talent and experience to get back to the national championship in 2014-15, but everyone will have to come together to achieve that feat.
With that, we look at the most important players on the Wildcats.
Opposing teams more than likely did not game plan around Marcus Lee last season. After all, he did only average 6.3 minutes per game. Lee would start for many teams, but he happens to play on the deepest team in the country. That doesn’t mean he can’t provide valuable minutes off the bench, though. He did have 10 points and eight boards on 5-of-7 shooting against Michigan in the dance.
Tyler Ulis isn’t the typical John Calipari coached point guard, but he has plenty of talent (ranked 25th in ESPN’s Top 100 for the class of 2014). The problem with Ulis isn’t his height (5-foot-9). It’s the fact that Andrew Harrison is the starter.
Dakari Johnson could move a couple of spots up on this list if he starts. Until he is the starter in Kentucky’s first game of the season, he will remain towards the beginning of this list. At 7-foot-0 and just as talented as any center in college hoops, Johnson would start for any other team in college basketball. He still might start, though.
Devin Booker could earn a bigger role on the team as the season progresses. That is especially true if Aaron Harrison disappears in games. As talented as Booker is, though, Harrison made clutch shot after clutch shot in the 2014 NCAA tourney, and has more experience. Him and his twin brother are also kind of a package deal.
I am still surprised Alex Poythress decided to come back for his sophomore season, let alone his junior season, but I applaud the kid regardless. Poythress’ role took a hit in 2013-14 as a result of an amazing recruiting class coming in, but he deserves a bigger role on this team. Hopefully Calipari grants that role to the former double-digit scorer (averaged 11.2 PPG in freshman season).
Karl Towns Jr. should come off the bench to start the season, but you never know. If he does come off the bench, he could be a huge spark for this Kentucky team. The kid has a high ceiling, but like almost all of the freshmen on this team, he will have to wait his turn, or prove he is worthy of a spot in the starting five.
Kentucky is bringing in one of the most talented recruiting classes, but Trey Lyles is the highest rated recruit on the team (ranked No. 6 in class of 2014 according to ESPN.com). He also doesn’t really take anyone's place in the starting five. As you can probably see by now, Kentucky is loaded with very capable forwards/centers.
Willie Cauley-Stein could end up being the MVP of this team, but the two players in front of him setup the entire offense. Cauley-Stein doesn’t score at will, but he is a blocking machine and a very effective rebounder.
Aaron Harrison knows a thing or two about coming up clutch. He made HUGE baskets when Kentucky needed them most in the 2014 NCAA tournament. He has the talent to lead this team in scoring and is actually the returning leading scorer (13.7 PPG last year).
Andrew Harrison is the point guard of the Kentucky Wildcats, who are probably many people’s favorite to win the title. He had a successful freshman season, but really came on towards the end up the year. So did his brother. If Andrew and Aaron can take a step further in the right direction in Year 2, Kentucky could realistically go undefeated.
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