With tomorrow nights season opener against the defending National Champion Kentucky Wildcats rapidly approaching we have reached out to our friends at WildcatBlueNation to bring you a closer look at the Wildcats from the ones who spend their time covering them. We’d like to thank Josh Kays for taking the time to answer these for us so that we can all get a look inside the Kentucky basketball program in advance of Friday night.
1) With such a massive roster turnover from last year’s National Championship team, how cohesive of a team do you feel the Wildcats can have when this group has only been together for a small amount of time?
Starting out with this team will be rough. They have a massive amount of talent, but they are extremely young and look like they still need a leader. Like Seth Davis and Dickie V said though “You better get UK early” because later on in the year this team could be something really special. Calipari said this team’s defense is better than last years at this point.
2) Maryland, while their roster isn’t quite as heralded as the recruiting class brought in by Calipari this year, brings back the bulk of its starting lineup in Pe’Shon Howard, Nick Faust and Alex Len. How big of a test will it be for the youth of Kentucky to go up against a high major opponent that has players who have been through the trenches of ACC play?
I think Friday night will be very tough for Kentucky. Like you said Maryland returns the bulk of their starting lineup and with Dez Wells now eligible it just it tougher. Kentucky will have to come out focused and ready to go because they are so young it could be bad if they get down early. Big time players show up on big time games though so it will be exciting.
3) How does this year’s crop of recruits compare to some of the previous classes John Calipari has brought in during his run at Kentucky?
This years recruiting class is a very good class depending on which site you go by UK has the number 1 ranked recruiting class once again. Surprisingly this years crop of talent could bring in the most lottery picks of any group that Calipari has had at UK. With Noel projected to be overall #1 along with Goodwin, Poythress, and Cauley-Stein that could be four lottery picks. That remains to be seen but all those guys are projected to be lottery picks.
4) Nerlens Noel isn’t Anthony Davis, no one we have seen in college basketball recently comes close, but he is a very talented player. What makes Nerlens Noel so effective on the basketball court and what should Maryland fans be on the lookout for when he goes against our frontline Friday night?
What makes Nerlens Noel special is his shot blocking ability. He is a better shot blocker than Anthony Davis some people believe. He got to campus late because he was finishing up school work so he was behind the other guys, but from Midnight Madness to our last exhibition game he has made major strides with his offensive game. He had 17 points and 11 rebounds in the first exhibition game with 5 blocks. Maryland fans need to watch how quick he is. He will be on the perimeter guarding your guards and that’s one thing that the UK staff loves about him. Willie Cauley-Stein will do the same thing on defense.
5) How much do you love the jerseys Maryland will be wearing for this game? Maryland Finest Jerseys and what is your prediction for Friday night’s season opener?
Now, them jerseys??? My God, they are hideous (I kid). I’m thinking that the reason the Harrison twins picked UK over Maryland was because of those jerseys. My prediction for the game is that Kentucky will come out nervous and sloppy and Maryland will probably get a lead but I think UK settles down and gets the win. 76-65 Kentucky!!