Sophomore guard Ryan Harrow's play at point guard will be the difference for the Wildcats going forward this season.
Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Terrence Jones aren’t walking through the door. However, Ryan Harrow has walked back in, and John Calipari is still sitting at his desk at the University of Kentucky basketball office.
That’s the reason Big Blue Nation shouldn’t be concerned about the 4-3 start for the Wildcats. Despite being unranked for the first time in the Calipari era, this batch of Wildcats will be fine.
Sure, the 55-game win streak at Rupp Arena ended this past Saturday with a loss to Baylor. But there was good that came from that game. Most importantly was the return of Harrow, the former N.C. State point guard and his play in the second half.
It also allowed Goodwin to move back to his natural position at the shooting guard spot. Goodwin has proven to be an elite scorer only seven games into the season. What he also proved is that he is not made to be the point guard of a winning team.
With Harrow running the point, as opposed to freshman Archie Goodwin, the offense was more fluid and there were more open shots. Take a look at UK’s three losses this season with Harrow either not playing or playing minimal minutes.
Duke: 49 percent from the field, 4-of-10 from the 3-point line and 14-of-21 from the free throw line
Notre Dame: 40 percent from the field, 4-of-14 from the 3-point line and 8-of-14 from the free throw line
Baylor: 30 percent from the field, 4-of-22 from the 3-point line and 9-of-18 from the free throw line
Also, take a look at the teams the Wildcats have lost to. A neutral court game against a senior-heavy team in Duke and a game at Notre Dame where they were 40-1 in their last 41 non-conference home games. Wildcat fans need to remember the Final Four team from 2010 had losses at Georgia, Arkansas, Ole Miss and Alabama.
The last reason Big Blue Nation shouldn’t be concerned about the start: Coach Cal.
He has one losing record in his entire career as a college head coach. That was in 1988-89. Calipari’s teams get better as the seasons go on and his point guards tend to start embracing and understanding the dribble-drive motion offense.
This year won’t be any different. The Southeastern Conference better watch out, because when conference season rolls around, the Cats will be there.