Everyone has rehashed last season’s inadequacies until they are blue in the face, but it isn’t hard to figure out what the key factor was for Kentucky Basketball ending up in the NIT.
No veteran leadership.
The upcoming season will have a lot more depth next season with returning players for the new recruits to lean on and to push them in practice.
The USA Today spoke with Jay Bilas about Kentucky and what the expectations will be for this talented group.
Despite losing Nerlens Noel to the NBA draft after an injury-shortened freshman campaign, Kentucky’s highly regarded recruiting class, led by twins Andrew and Aaron Harrison, is easily rated as the best in the nation. As for coach John Calipari’s veterans, Willie Cauley-Stein and Alex Poythress return, while Archie Goodwin declared for the NBA draft and Ryan Harrow transferred to Georgia State.
“I think Kentucky will be the No. 1 team in the country next season,” said Bilas, who also figures Duke and Florida to be among the top five in the preseason USA TODAY Sports Coaches Poll. “(The Wildcats) have talented players coming in, but they also have guys with a chip on their shoulder coming back that can be leaders. That’s the key ingredient.”