Gone are Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and company, but a new season brings new expectations and hopes of another championship in the Bluegrass State.
With all the excitement of the new season, let’s look at the new batch of Wildcats and come up with seven bold predictions for the season ahead.
Just looking at the roster, one name stands out. Sam Malone, a 5'11" sophomore who tore his ACL last season in the UT-Chattanooga game. On UKAthletics.com, coach John Calipari describes Malone: “Sam is a tough kid who will do anything to help out his teammates. He suffered three knee injuries in high school and battled back to make this team as a walk-on. He has a relentless work ethic and wants to make this team better."
Bold prediction No. 1: Sam starts watching reruns of Cheers and becomes inspired by Ted Danson’s character Sam Malone and realizes that there is more to life than sports and drops out of school and starts his own Cheers type of bar in Lexington and makes his way in the world. A few years later he will meet the love of his life, Diane, and live happily ever after until Woody Harrelson opens a hookah bar next to the Lexington Cheers and puts Malone out of business.
Then the next names that pop out are Archie Goodwin and Alex Poythress. The two freshmen wing scorers are as talented as any in the country. Both will play vital roles and looked upon to score and be key players for the Wildcat team. Filling the shoes of Kidd-Gilchrist and Doron Lamb will be tough to do, but the two freshmen both have the talent and scoring ability to fill those voids.
Bold prediction No. 2: Kentucky fans will butcher the pronunciation of Poythress’s last name and refer to him as Polyurethane. The nickname will stick as he becomes an elite scorer and paints masterpieces against opposing defenses. While, Goodwin will just play his game, becoming a consistent scorer and defender and ensuring nobody mistakes his game for Jughead’s.
After Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s success as a Wildcat, Coach Cal made it mandatory to have at least one player with a hyphenated name on the roster. This season that role goes to Willie Cauley-Stein.
Bold prediction No. 3: Cauley-Stein embraces the role, and starts the brunch club, like Kidd-Gilchrist’s breakfast club last season. Only Cauley-Stein's club has an adverse role and the whole team just eats brunch everyday instead of working out. The Cats open the season overweight and slow. It takes Coach Cal all season to get them back in shape and so he vows never to recruit another player with a hyphenated name ever again because of Cauley-Stein’s harmful club.
Jarrod Polson and Jon Hood both return to the Wildcat roster. Last season, Hood did not see any playing time due to injury and Polson was still trying to gain strength and experience behind an abundance of talent on the roster.
Bold prediction No. 4: A rivalry will develop between Polson and Hood. Each will think that they are in line to become the token white shooter coming off the bench in line for more minutes, but never really get those minutes and never really contribute in games, but Kentucky fans love him. During a game mid-season, cameras get a shot of each of them sporting black eyes during a game as they sit next to each other on the UK bench.
Reporters will do some digging and discover that the two got in a fight at practice because they each thought that they deserved to be the in line to fill the shooter role that fans love. Then they will see that they were being silly and ultimately make up and cheer their team onto another Final Four run, high-fiving every time Nerlens Noel makes a killer block or Ryan Harrow delivers a great pass or Alex Poythress does something amazing.
The final player prediction comes from Nerlens Noel. Noel was the No. 1 recruit coming out of high school. The high top fade and shot blocking ability made his game shine brighter than any other recruit. He is expected to fill the gap in the middle left by No. 1 NBA Draft pick Anthony Davis.
Bold prediction No 5: Noel will embrace his high top fade look and trademark it after leaving college and entering the NBA Draft just as Davis did with his unibrow. To make his high top as menacing and intimidating as the "Brow,” he will block three shots per game with his hair alone. Then he will get Coach Cal to make a few calls and bring in another star into the Big Blue Nation.
None other than Kid from Kid N Play (Kid popularized the high top fade back in the late ‘80s and early '90s with Kid N Play’s music and movie success). On the last home game of the season, the two will meet at Rupp Arena’s center court with one arm around each other, tilt their heads and form the “Y” when UK gets a celebrity to form the “Y” at center court after spelling out Kentucky.
Former University of Kentucky Wildcat coach Billy Gillispie has come under fire for his actions with players, media members and even campers at Texas Tech. Amid the allegations and reports of abuse and harsh treatment of everyone he has come in contact with, Gillispie resigned at Texas Tech.
Bold Prediction No. 6: Coach Cal feels sorry for his former predecessor and finds a spot on the bench for Gillispie. He makes sure that Big Blue Nation does not forget and let one of its former coaches hit rock bottom.
Well, that decision turns out to be the worst decision of all-time as Rod Strickland and Gillispie become best friends. Strickland’s outstanding work with the point guards goes out the window with an empty drink behind it. The two of them disrupt the team and the season is a wash. Gillispie becomes angry and tries to make Coach Cal run for two hours after practice. Coach Cal tries to fire him, but Gillispie goes missing for three years, so he can’t be fired. Three years later, Gillispie sends a letter postmarked from Alaska saying that he has decided to resign.
Coach Calipari has become one of the most recognizable figures in the state of Kentucky and the sport of basketball in general. There is no doubt that his recruiting and coaching have helped Kentucky basketball find its way back to the top of the college ranks.
Bold Prediction No. 7: Coach Cal becomes bored with all the success and during the middle of the season, he finds a religious awakening. He leaves the team during mid-season. He starts hanging out with the likes of Phil Jackson, Bill Walton and even Dave Chappelle. Coaching becomes a bother and he wants to find success in other venues. So he starts honing his craft as a stand-up comic and he along with new friend Chappelle go on a stand-up tour. It becomes the most successful and hysterical stand-up tour of all-time.
Proving that he can be successful in anything he does, except for winning at the NBA level. After the tour, he re-joins the team in March and leads them to back-to-back NCAA Championships. Orlando Antigua is so distraught that he doesn’t get to be head coach that he decides to shave his head.
Now, that the ridiculousness is out of the way here are seven realistic predictions you can expect from the Cats this season.
- 30 win season
- SEC Championship
- Nerlens Noel becomes an All-American
- Kyle Weltjer leads the team in three point percentage
- Alex Poythress leads the team in scoring
- No. 1 seed in NCAA Tournament
- Third straight Final Four run