Apr 13, 2012, 10:45 AM EDT
Kentucky is one of those programs that reloads as opposed to rebuilding, with the 2011-12 group hanging the program’s eighth national title banner.
And the incoming class isn’t backing away from the expectations that come with putting on the Kentucky jersey.
If anything, based on what their three representatives at the Jordan Brand Classic had to say to the Sporting News the freshmen will embrace the challenge.
Three of John Calipari’s incoming freshmen are five-star recruits: Archie Goodwin, Nerlens Noel and Alex Poythress, with 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein completing the group (right now).
“You’re following in the footsteps,” Poythress said. “They’re setting the standard high, so you’ve got big shoes to fill. And I feel that we can fill them.”
Noel noted that one of the biggest factors in his decision to choose Kentucky was the success that this past season’s young team experienced, providing a clear signal to other blue-chip prospects that a quick stop in college can also include a national title.
“Just the success they had with younger players going out there and winning a national championship, that’s not easy with five or six freshmen,” Noel said. “Just seeing what they did with that, and what coach Calipari does is real successful, and I think I can go there with Archie and Alex and Willie and be successful the same way there were.”
But the one key aspect of the national championship team that this incoming group will need to replicate is their team chemistry.
It’s been believed that having so many players who seem focused on getting to the NBA quickly can lead to individual agendas usurping the team goal, but that never happened with Calipari’s 38-2 squad.
“We’re going to be able to work together,” Goodwin said. “I know we are because (Noel is) a team player and I’m a team player and Alex is a team player and Willie’s a team player. There are going to be a lot of amazing things that happen.”
There’s still room for more talent in Lexington, and with that in mind both Goodwin and Poythress began to work on uncommitted forward Anthony Bennett following Noel’s decision.
Land Bennett and Kentucky will have more than enough talent to make a run at a ninth national title. But as their eighth national champion displayed, chemistry is just as important as skill.
Photo credit: Mark L. Baer/US Presswire
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May 6, 2015, 11:43 AM EDT
McNeil faces two felony charges for domestic violence.
May 6, 2015, 10:56 AM EDT
Stainbrook is a national treasure. Can we get this kid another year of eligibility?
May 6, 2015, 10:25 AM EDT
Kennedy has led the Rebels to the NCAA tournament two of the last three seasons.
May 6, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT
Duquesne picked up an impact guard for three more seasons.
May 5, 2015, 11:15 PM EDT
Nevada landed a Southern Illinois transfer at forward.
May 5, 2015, 10:15 PM EDT
Oklahoma State has added a big man who could help in the rotation if he’s eligible.
May 5, 2015, 9:15 PM EDT
Old Dominion is gaining a transfer from Illinois
May 5, 2015, 8:15 PM EDT
Florida looks like they’ll be losing a key member of their 2015 recruiting haul.
May 5, 2015, 7:15 PM EDT
Nebraska picked up a guard who should help after one season.
May 5, 2015, 6:15 PM EDT
Tennessee is losing its second front court player of the off season to transfer.
May 5, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT
Florida State grabbed an impact shooting guard in 2016.
May 5, 2015, 3:49 PM EDT
This isn’t a decision that is going to get made quickly.
May 5, 2015, 3:26 PM EDT
Of all the changes on the coaching carousel, what are we most interested in seeing?
May 5, 2015, 1:43 PM EDT
As it stands, it appears that Texas will not be bringing ‘HAVOC’ to Austin.
May 5, 2015, 1:02 PM EDT
Did he really need to say it though?
May 5, 2015, 12:02 PM EDT
Demetrius Henry is the only player of note leaving the program.
May 5, 2015, 11:42 AM EDT
J.D. Collins will be the one to replace John Adams.
May 5, 2015, 10:21 AM EDT
This should end up being a solid early season tournament.
May 5, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT
Theo Pinson should be ready to play by next season.
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