After a disappointing end-of-season loss to Robert Morris in the first round of the NIT, several Wildcats starters alluded to their possibly prolonged future at Kentucky.
Many assumed that Kentucky’s starters would jump ship as one-and-doners, but according to Kyle Tucker of the Courier-Journal, that assumption may be a bit premature.
Said shooting guard Archie Goodwin after the game, “I don’t know if it’s a question whether I’m going [to the NBA] or not. I don’t think I’m ready to go. It’s no reason why I think any of our guys should really leave. We should come back next year”
This is surprising considering the talent Goodwin, Willie Cauley-Stein and Alex Poythress possess and the nature of being a Kentucky recruit. John Calipari does a great job in bringing in top-tier recruits and preparing them for the NBA.
With the exception of Kyle Wiltjer, Kentucky’s recruits were all one and done last season.
Goodwin stated in no uncertain terms, "If any of us were saying we think we should leave, then we’d all be delusional. None of us need to leave. So I just feel that’s going to help us in the long run because next year we have a strong group coming in and we’re going to continue to get better.”
Cauley-Stein, a potential lottery pick with his size and high ceiling, also claimed that he was not ready to jump to the big leagues just yet, saying, “I can’t speak for anybody else. I’m not [ready]. I feel like I left something out. Something’s missing. I’ve got this empty feeling in my gut and I want to fill it.”
Poythress and Ryan Harrow also stated their intent to return next season.
That empty feeling that Cauley-Stein referred to is obviously shared by all.
Yes, the expectations were set too high for the Wildcats coming off of a championship season. However, even in an off year, Kentucky is expected to compete for the SEC championship and make a deep run in the NCAA tourney.
With the lack of success this season, these freshmen must be itching for a second shot. And with the next batch of recruits expected to come to Lexington, UK will most likely be an early favorite to cut down the nets in 2014 despite its struggles this year.
Behind guards Andrew and Aaron Harrison and center Dakari Johnson, Kentucky will be loaded with talent and will boast more depth than it has in previous seasons.
That is a scary amount of talent for just one team.
Could any of these talented players end up declaring for the draft despite the horrible NIT flameout? Absolutely.
Cauley-Stein said that he would absolutely look into what the market value for his services might be, saying, “Absolutely. I’ve just gotta look out for me and my family. If it comes down to it, if my family needs me, then I’ll go. But if not, I’ll stay and get a couple more years of education and develop myself (into) more of an all-around basketball player.”
This could be what turns out to be a huge shift in the culture of Kentucky Wildcats basketball.
Keep it tuned to Bleacher Report for any news moving forward on this subject.