Coach Calipari's tenure at Kentucky has brought the Wildcats back to prominence in basketball, and thanks to that, Nike has provided the Cats with several new jersey combinations over the Coach Cal era. Some of them have been outstanding modern takes on classic looks, and others have been sort of like an attempt to re-invent the wheel in a situation where Nike ends up trying a little too hard. Let's take a look at the best and worst of Kentucky's unis under Coach Cal.
2012 Logo Hyper Elite Road Uni
These are easily my least favorite uniforms in the Coach Cal era. The big logo on the chest is something that Adidas has tried in the NBA, and Nike did it with other teams in college, but it never really looked good. Maybe I'm too much of a fan of traditional looks, but the name of the school should go across the front, not the logo. The only thing that could make these worse is having the name of the school put somewhere else, like on the back where the name of the player normally goes.
Yeah, so basically these were poorly done.
2012 Nike Hyper Elite Platinum
These looked great in the photos that Nike and Kentucky released (like the one above). The only problem is, once they were on the floor they just looked wrong. A lot of the die hard Kentucky fans hated the fact that nothing about them was traditional. The main color is grey, and the names are underneath the number.
On top of that, these uniforms became obsolete in the same season that they were debuted, as the Cats won their 8th title, and there were seven stars inscribed on the back of the jersey.
These were great in principle, but they ended up being a one-time wear that was over-done by Nike.
2015 Nike Hyper Elite Uniform
There are a few things that I actually like about these uniforms. They're simple, they don't have a logo on the chest, and all the parts are in the right place. However, this uniform release is where Nike really started making every team look the same. There is almost no difference between the jersey in the photo above and this one.
These are my least-hated of the ones I don't like, but I'm glad they were only worn for part of Calipari's first season. The stripes on the shoulders seemed boxy, there were unnecessary stripes down the back, and the swerving stripes down the side looked like something out of the '90s. Nike didn't overdo it with these as they did with some of the "elite" uniforms, but they needed to be updated. Thankfully they were.
These were much better than the former 2009 uniforms. They were simpler, the shorts were more modern yet still more attractive, and they had a neat inscription in the back of the jersey that featured title banners, a wildcat, and roses underneath the number. These are easily one of my favorite Kentucky uniforms ever. Plus, the Cats won a National Championship in them, so that always adds some appeal.
2012 Hyper Elite Uniform
Kentucky may not have played well the first season that they wore these, but they looked pretty good. It was essentially a simplified version of the previous jerseys, as they stripped away the blue stripes on the collar and the shoulders, but kept the same basic design, and still had the design underneath the numbers on the back. This is just slightly different than the jerseys they were that were almost identical to Duke uniforms, but they were a little more unique.
The Cats also wore a variation of this jersey in 2014, with an updated design on the shorts and a slightly different jersey, as well as a variation of them this past season with slightly different shorts.
2013 Chrome Lettering Hyper Elite Uniform
I somewhat expected the chrome lettering to look ridiculous, but Nike managed to not overdo it. The rest of the jersey was simplified, and looked like a normal, classic UK uniform. Some may have thought the lettering looked ridiculous, but I thought it was pretty cool for use in one game.
2014 Hyper Elite Dominance Uniform
These are by far my favorite uniforms worn in the Coach Cal era. Everything about them is classic; from the rounded "Kentucky" on the front, to the two straight blue stripes down the side. Nike gave it a touch of modern style with the different shades of white patches alongside the blue stripes on shorts. This is not only my favorite Kentucky uniform of the Coach Cal era, but also my favorite Nike uniform in general.
What is your favorite uniform of the Coach Cal era?