“The Growth Of Kentucky”

All season long we were waiting for Kentucky to reach their potential. This was supposed to be the greatest recruiting class ever they said. We heard rumors of the Harrison twins and of the talent of Julius Randle. Now it has finally come to fruition, even though it took until the NCAA tournament for them to finally to mature and play together.

If you watched Kentucky during the beginning stages of the season it was the Julius Randle show. The offense was run through him, even though Kentucky had talent all over the court. Not to be misunderstood, Randle is a great player, but when you have a recruiting class of six McDonalds All Americans on your squad, there should be equal opportunity for everyone. Also, the return of the two talented sophomores Willy Cauley-Stein and Alex Poythress contributed to he success of the team. So Kentucky essentially is eight deep and all these players will be drafted at the next level. John Calipari coaching acumen was starting to be questioned because how can you have all this talent at your disposal and not be winning. Is he just a great recruiter? Can he get the best out of his players? These questions were not answered as the season went along until finally the SEC Championship Game. Kentucky until this point played Florida twice this season and was beaten by a combined total of 29 points. Florida is the total opposite of Kentucky with being more of an experienced ball club. They have four seniors who start. That game took place March 16th and as the game played out you started to see the talent flourish. Guys other than Randle started to gain confidence. There is a saying that,“there aren’t any moral victories in sports”, but it was seen on that day. They ended up losing the game by one point and had a chance to win it but couldn’t get a shot off.  So far, Florida and Kentucky have been the class of the tournament and it seems they are a collision course to meet for the fourth time in the National Championship Game.

Let’s not look ahead because there is a great team standing in their way Wisconsin. This will be a great matchup because both teams have size. Even without Willy Cully Stein, Kentucky has the beef to match up with Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky. Kentucky’s talent was showcased last week against a very good team in Michigan. Marcus Lee who hasn’t made an impact all season finally got a chance last weekend. Marcus Lee who was a part of that recruiting class was the 25th ranked player in 2013, according to ESPN. On any other team he probably would be a star. He came in the game and his impact was felt immediately by just showcasing his rare athleticism. Every point he scored was at the rim. He had four put back dunks. His ability to switch the pick and roll to guard Michigan’s smaller lineup is something you cannot teach. This guy was on the bench all season and on the biggest stage he dominated the game. Michigan’s frontline could not match up with Kentucky’s athleticism because even if you box out, there isnothing you can do if players are just catching the ball off the top of the backboard and dunking the ball. The Harrison twins put on a clinic from the three point line in the waning moments of that game including the dagger three which was well defended. That’s when you realize that this team is special and all the hype in the beginning of the season was warranted. These kids are 18 and 19 years old with special talents. No matter the experience and coaching you have, you still need talent to win the big games. This Kentucky team has proven that they have it. How far it takes them? Well that is another question because Wisconsin is a tough team.But this is not your ordinary team that Wisconsin is playing. If Kentucky plays their best game no matter whom the opponent is, they will be tough to beat.

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