The names are not household names yet – but they will be soon. The names will be rolling across our television screens and showing up in box scores as the 2020-2021 basketball season unfolds.
Creighton transfer, Davion Mintz, Jacob Toppin, Oliver Sarr, Terrence Clarke, Devin Askew, Brandon Boston, Lance Ware, Isaiah Jackson, and Keion Brooks Jr. (That is a name you will remember from last year) - all are expected to be putting on the UK jersey this coming season. Big Blue Nation anxiously awaits their first chance to see this team in action. And as we wait … we wonder…
What do we know?
They have size.
According to Davion Mintz they are long. “This is a team where if you’re playing against us, no layups”
They are athletic.
Again we will use the description Mintz offered, “Elite.” We know this group of Kentucky Wildcats come in with the top ranked recruiting class and some hefty transfers. So it is a safe to say that they will be competitors from the opening tip.
And they have potential.
To say this group has potential is an understatement. So the challenge becomes for them not to set limits on their unlimited potential. We are eager to see how they embrace the grind.
Big, athletic, and loaded with potential … the perfect way to start the season. Now they have add to the mix a little bit of Wildcat Swagger. If they can add that essential ingredient they are going to be successful.
As Coach Calipari has said, “I want boldness and what I call swagger – a strong self-confidence that edges up to but does not cross the line into arrogance. Swagger means that you believe you can be dominant but know that you have to work to achieve that status.”*
In a season where there are so many unknowns: limited schedule, limited arena seating, unknown coronavirus complications, and an abrupt finish to the previous season, the expectations are high but that is what it means to play at Kentucky. So the real work has now begun. Over the next few months we will watch as they learn to trust each other, surrender the “me” and become the “we” that it takes to win. Let the Swagger begin.
*Success is the Only Option – John Calipari (Harper Collins Publishing 2016)