McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Z_CNHI News Service

March 11, 2014

Kentucky's imperfect season shows one-and-dones have lots to learn

The pre-season college basketball guides proclaimed this as the year of the Kentucky Wildcats. No superlatives were spared.

Coach John Calipari put together the greatest collection of freshman recruits ever assembled. His team - a perennial Southeastern Conference power - was anointed No. 1 before five of the team’s eight McDonald’s All-Americans had even played a college game.

The ‘Cats appeared to be so dominant that there was casual talk of an undefeated season - a “pursuit of perfection” in the Bluegrass. Few dissenting opinions were offered. Maybe Kentucky would lose a game or two but a trip to the Final Four - and a ninth national championship - were just months away.

When the season began, the reviews weren’t as glowing. Something wasn’t clicking.

Four months later, and Kentucky is far removed from No. 1. In fact, the Wildcats didn't even make the latest Associated Press poll. This team has had its moments but no one predicted a 22-9 regular season, much less a 12-6 record in conference play.

Some analysts who talked about perfection during the pre-season are at a loss to explain what happened. Individually the players may well be blue-chippers. Collectively the harmony is missing.

Basketball always has been a team game, though this group has had a difficult time accepting that. It was built around a collection of high school stars whose reputations were built to earn lucrative NBA contracts, not necessarily NCAA championships.

Successful college teams have strong guard play. The backcourt players dominate – scoring from all points on the floor or dishing to other players who are breaking to the basket. Andrew and Aaron Harrison - two imposing 6-5 guards - have shown moments of star power, but  they haven’t dominated. Their shooting has been suspect.

Center Julius Randle has solidified himself as a one-and-done draft selection. But outside scorer James Young and upfront man Dakari Johnson have had ups and downs.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Z_CNHI News Service
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase
NDN Video
Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.