For the college basketball world this year is Coach K’s farewell tour. For UK fans, this year is Coach Cal’s “revenge” tour. We all know everything is much different this year than it was last year and that’s why I don’t like to compare much back to last season. But, it is hard to forget because it was the worst season in the Cal era.
Like I said things are different this year; revamped roster, revamped staff, and a revamped mindset for Cal. For one, he’s willing to play a four guard system if that doesn’t tell you all you need to know. Also, he brings back Coach Antigua (assistant to Cal from 09-14) who has a very good relationship with Cal and is a great recruiter. Next, he went to the transfer portal to get veteran talent and shooting at all positions. Not only do veteran players add experience in game situations but they also know what the CBB season is like. They understand how to take care of their body and they bring it in practice every day. Lastly, he has a full offseason to gel the team together which was crucial in the player development last season and a key reason, in my opinion, why it was a bad season.
This team has the blueprint that the past NCAA champions have had. Legitimate shooting, veteran experience, and depth. Until the season starts it’s hard to tell who on UK could be that go-to guy when we need a bucket, but as a collective whole I have confidence in multiple players that can be that guy.
With the CBB season so close yet feels so far away there isn’t much else to do besides overreact to teams and players or make early projections of how the season will go. The projections for this season are my opinion and solely based off how I believe the season will go.
Projected Starting Line-Up:
Sahvir Wheeler (Preseason 1st Team All-SEC)
Davion Mintz (UK leading scorer from last season)
Kellan Grady (Preseason 2nd Team All-SEC and Jerry West Award watchlist)
Keion Brooks (Preseason 2nd Team All-SEC and third season at UK)
Oscar Tshiebwe (Preseason 2nd Team All-SEC)
Projected Season Record:
Once the season begins everything will be more clear and teams will begin to separate themselves. This UK team has the potential to win a National Championship but as we seen last season these are just early projections. Seeing the potential on paper is what creates hype, proving it on the court is what creates champions. This team has that feel of another great UK team that fans can expect a Final Four run out of.
As always, we rock Kentucky blue!
(All images from UKAthletics.com)