Duke beat Kentucky in their first meeting in 11 years on ESPN recently. While we all want to relive “the shot” and talk about the intensity of the Kentucky-Duke rivalry, this was our first real look at John Calapari’s latest freshmen haul.
The initial verdict is that these freshmen are different. They look like freshmen. There isn’t a Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Anthony Davis. To be fair, those are once-in-a-generation college hoops players that made up one of the greatest freshmen classes ever.
These guys aren’t John Wall and Demarcus Cousins either. Wall and Cousins, along with Eric Bledsoe made up a freshmen class that would rank with the aforementioned class, if just slightly below.
As I watched Nerlens Noel and Alex Poythess collaborate on the court, it was very clear that this wasn’t the last two freshmen classes. While this is the top class in college basketball, they are not the juggernaut that the last two classes have been.
Don’t shoot the messenger, once you unroll the parchment you’ll find this is just what the Big Blue Nation needs. A class with ultra-talented players that are raw and not ready to win yet.
Hear me out.
These guys aren’t the greased lighting that the previous teams were. Against Duke it was obvious that the instant polish wasn’t there. They weren’t able to overcome just by showing up.
This is what the University of Kentucky needs. Don’t take me as a Kentucky homer, without going into detail, I’m far from that.
The reason this class is good from Kentucky is because it is builds a foundation. It looks like only one of these guys (Poythess) will be ready to go pro after his freshman year, and that is only if his offensive game shows more than just rim-ripping ability.
A good Kentucky is good for college basketball. This class has great potential and has a lot of room to grow. This doesn’t mean that they won’t make a deep tournament run after a season worth of learning, but right now that just isn’t apparent.
Calapari is a great teacher, and this team will continue to grow as the season progresses. That being said, this isn’t the freshmen class that you are used to seeing.
might turn out to be the one that gets talked about more than any as they lay the foundation for the future of Kentucky hoops, transforming the program from a revolving-door AAU program back into the perennial powerhouse we have all known Kentucky hoops to be.