It’s mid-August and Kentucky Wildcats basketball, not football, is the main subject of conversation.
John Calipari has a loaded roster that has a good mix of talent, youth, and veteran leadership. Lucky for us we don’t have to wait until November to see them play. The team is in the Bahamas and are getting ready for four games in five days. The last time the Cats were there was in 2014, and they had one of the best college basketball teams to ever play the game.
How will this team stack up in the Bahamas and what should we expect?
To say that I would love to be in the Bahamas right now would be an understatement. Alas, I’ll be watching it on TV with the rest of you.
So, what should we expect from this current team during their stay at the Atlantis resort? While this squad is loaded, I don’t think it’s as close to as loaded as the 2014 team was.
That team played six games and went 5-1 in that run. They lost the last game due to fatigue. This year, the talent that the Cats will face is superior to what the team faced in 2014. Don’t be surprised if they lose a couple of games.
If that’s the case, don’t Panic. John Calipari has reiterated that the results of the games won’t matter as much as how the team looks. Is there cohesion? Which players are stepping up to be leaders? Who is Cal relying on in crunch time moments?
This will also give Kentucky fans an opportunity to see who is separating himself in terms of hustle and leadership. Reports out of practice are that Quade Green, Ashton Hagans, Keldon Johnson, and Reid Travis have been those guys.
It will also be interesting to see the maturation of Nick Richards, PJ Washington, and Quade Green. How have those three guys improved since that disappointing loss in the Sweet Sixteen to Kansas State?
This should be an awesome experience for players and fans alike. What’s not to like about Kentucky basketball in August?
While a championship won’t be won in the Bahamas, it’s a damn fine place to start a run.
Beware of the too smart for their own good media types
Jon Rothstein has built quite the reputation on Twitter. He is easy to mock with his corny cliche catch phrases and morning words of wisdom, and he’s not shy about dropping hot takes that are veiled as actual opinions.
The latter was on full display with his SEC rankings:
SEC Offseason Power Rankings:— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) August 6, 2018
4. Mississippi State
10. South Carolina
11. Ole Miss
14. Texas A&M
Of course, Jon took a beating on Twitter. While I think Tennessee may have an argument in the top spot, it’s hard to see Auburn being better than Kentucky, especially after they lose Mustapha Heron and Desean Murray this offseason. The Wildcats are loaded two deep at almost every position.
Can the Vols or the Tigers say the same?
The Penny Hardaway Threat
Memphis fans REALLY want Kentucky and Memphis to be rivals. While Hardaway may have made a splash on the recruiting trail early in his tenure at Memphis, we still don’t know if he can, you know, coach.
Before landing the job he currently occupies, his coaching experience was limited to AAU and high school players. Yes, that’s it. He’s never been on a college or professional bench in a coaching capacity.
Hot take alert: Penny is a flash in the pan. Yeah, he’ll have some success as a recruiter for the first couple of years at Memphis. Then when he actually has to coach he’s going to flame out, badly.
The AAC is not a slouch conference. It includes Cincinnati, Wichita State, Houston, and UConn. And while Memphis fans will cut Penny some slack in his first season, they won’t settle for middle to back of the pack AAC success.
This entire Cal vs. Penny thing is fun for now. But when actual basketball coaching comes into play and recruits see that Penny has no idea what he’s doing, it’ll be over.