As Long as Kentucky Is an NBA Farm Team, Expect Results Like Baylor 67 UK 62 [VIDEO]
Yes, Kentucky does have the best recruiting class we've ever seen. But keep in mind what that means. John Calipari has managed to assemble a team featuring five of the country's top ten freshmen and six of the top 25 according to the ESPN 100. But, at this point, so what?
I like grapefruit, dill pickles, brussels sprouts, carrot cake, and country ham. But I'm not going to mash them together in a big mixing bowl and dig in.
Granted, that may not be the best analogy since those five ingredients will NEVER come together to form anything good, and maybe this Kentucky team will.
But here's the thing. Those five freshmen, with the exception of the Harrison twins, never played together in a game until a month ago. There is zero chemistry. Plus, it doesn't look like Willie Cauley-Stein and Alex Poythress are where they need to be either. They seem tentative, like they're not sure what to expect from their new teammates. And they probably don't.
I've heard Calipari say that his team isn't communicating out on the floor. That seemed evident in that near-miss against Cleveland State last month. And it appeared to rear its ugly head last night against Baylor.
The 'Cats also looked as if they laid eyes on Baylor's hustle and decided they couldn't match it, so they didn't. Cauley-Stein--impressive with those nine blocks in a win against Providence last Sunday--only blocked three shots Friday night. Nothing wrong with three blocks, but they all turned into Baylor offensive rebounds.
Andrew Harrison continues to disagree with every single call that goes against him and then lets those hard feelings linger.
Julius Randle--Kentucky's best player, in my opinion--isn't being utilized like he should by his team. Plus, as the highest-profile member of this freshman class, he's being scouted more meticulously by opponents. That's common, but Randle isn't experienced enough, yet, to grasp how to deal with the kind of attention opposing teams will pay him.
Nine months ago, the great majority of Kentucky Wildcats that see playing time were playing in high school. Now, night in and night out, they're facing opponents who have a wealth of experience on their teams. For crying out loud, there are teams in Division I with SENIOR point guards. That's obsolete at Kentucky.
Here's the deal: this is the new normal at the University of Kentucky. When the 'Cats won the title in 2012, they had three outstanding freshmen, two outstanding sophomores, and one outstanding senior--Darius Miller, ironically left over from the Billy Gillispie era.
That's the formula for success. These young Wildcats will probably, eventually figure it out. And maybe a rigorous December schedule will help.
Even if losses outnumber wins.