University of Kentucky 2010-2011 Basketball Preview [Sports]

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UK’s 2009-2010 basketball team was one for the ages.  Not only did the team return an All-American in Patrick Patterson from the year before, but they also brought in the nation’s # 1 recruiting class… only to lose the majority to the NBA draft.  Five first-round picks had never been done before, and while it was a great night for the University of Kentucky’s pedigree, it was also a night we lost 90% of our production.

Time to reload?  You bet.  Time to change expectations? Absolutely.  Time to freak out?  Not exactly.

 

It’s true.  This team is NOT last year’s team.  There’s no John Wall dance, there’s no Demarcus Cousins’ presence in the paint, and there’s no leadership from Patrick Patterson.

 

But, there’s a lot of hope.

 

It would be hard to replace any ONE of the five guys UK lost to the draft, but replacing all 5 is impossible.  So, while fans must realize what a special year last season was, they must also recognize this year’s team will be special in a different way.

 

The backbone of this season’s team will no doubt be another freshman sensation PG in Mc Donald’s All-American Brandon Knight.  While he may not have the razzle-dazzle that John Wall displayed, he has a better knack at scoring.  He will be as effective at the point position, he just may not have the extensive highlight reel (and low post presence) to go along with it.

 

Darius Miller is the main returning player from last year’s team.  While Knight will be the backbone of this year’s team, Miller is without a doubt, the x-factor.  His performance night in and out will ultimately define this season.   He has the skill and the experience to lead this team… if he doesn’t disappear at times as he has in the past.  There’s no Jodie Meeks, there’s no John Wall- the only shadow he has to hide behind this year is his own.

 

Terrence Jones is the other Burger Boy in this year’s class.  Coming in ranked in the top-10 players in his class (and the added drama of his choosing and then UNchoosing Washington), eyes will be on his production down low.  While no one is expecting him to fill the shoes of Patterson or Cousins, his effectiveness is key to their offensive scheme this year. 

 

Doron Lamb will be playing in the backcourt alongside Knight and Miller.  He’s an All-American shooting guard, and it’s the “shooting” threat this UK team desperately needs. The points will have to come from somewhere, and Lamb just may be that scoring menace UK has lacked since Meeks’ departure.

 


DeAndre Liggins is another face from last year’s team and one that Coach Calipari has a lot of expectations for.  His effort and defensive ability won over his coaches and the UK Faithful last year.  The ceiling for his ability is endless, and if he has the monster year he’s capable of, fans will have little reason to covet last year’s season.

 

Enes Kanter is this year’s question mark and pink elephant in the room.  His quest to become eligible has been widely covered, and the NCAA’s decision will impact eligibility rules for players for years to come.  While most believe that the longer a decision takes, the better it is for UK, his affirmation to suit up for Kentucky this year makes this team a Final Four team, or a Sweet Sixteen team.  Period.

 

I think UK beats Louisville this year.  I think they lose one non-conference game and then lose 2 games in the conference, winning the SEC tournament.  With Enes Kanter- we are Final Four bound.  Without him, we are a Sweet-16 team!


GO CATS!

About Holly Freeland
I graduated from Western Kentucky University (GO Tops!) with an English and Journalism degree. I spend my time playing soccer, watching UK basketball, stalking David Beckham and laughing at Chelsea Handler.
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