Kentucky Basketball: 4 Lessons Learned About Wildcats This Offseason
You know things are weird in Lexington, Ky., when everyone is talking about football. But the recent (and extraordinary) success that the Cats have on the recruiting trail doesn't mean that basketball isn't getting any attention, either.
Here are four things that we have learned about the 2013-14 University of Kentucky men's basketball team so far during this offseason.
1. There Is a Wildcat Code (and No One Is Supposed to Talk About It)
In a recent interview with the Louisville Courier-Journal, Dominique Hawkins talked about something called "The Wildcat Code." It involved a reward system for players doing things like sitting at the front of the class, showing extra hustle in practice, etc.
Once they have accumulated enough points, they receive their game jersey. Not getting enough points can result in players losing privileges, like not getting to use their beautiful new locker room.
This seemingly mundane (and pretty straightforward) information, however, was not something that head coach John Calipari wanted to go beyond the coaching staff and players.
Referencing the movie "Fight Club," Calipari sent out a tweet stating: "The first rule of the Wildcat Code is: You do not talk about the Wildcat Code."
That was immediately followed by another which declared: "The second rule of the Wildcat Code is: You do not talk about the Wildcat Code. LOL."
When John Calipari actually types "LOL" onto a tweet, you know that he must be in a pretty good place with regards to how he feels about next year's squad.
2. Transfer Rumors Are Oftentimes Completely Untrue
Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports
The 2012-13 season was a rough one for the Wildcats as a team, but it was also a tough year individually for sophomore forward Kyle Wiltjer. With a huge incoming class of incredible talent set to report to campus this fall, many thought it was a good bet that Wiltjer would transfer to a school where he would be guaranteed to get more playing time.
Fortunately for the Big Blue Nation, Wiltjer put those concerns to bed once and for all. In a series of heartfelt tweets, he professed his love for wearing the blue and white and confirmed that he would be back to help the Wildcats make another run at a national championship next season, per Larry Vaught of the Danville Advocate Messenger.
3. But Sometimes, Transfer Rumors Are 100 Percent True
In a move that didn't surprise anyone who followed the Wildcats this past season, embattled point guard Ryan Harrow announced that he would be transferring to Georgia State next season, via SI.com.
While no one doubted Harrow's physical talent, he lacked the aggressiveness and floor leadership necessary to perform under John Calipari and the expectations that come with being Kentucky's point guard.
4. The Players Are Already Pushing Each Other
Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports Radio had a great report about how many of the players were on campus and already pushing each other to be better.
One of the most exciting (and encouraging) stories to come out of the Joe Craft Center is the great battle going on between incoming freshman Julius Randle and sophomore Alex Poythress.
Their friendly yet intense rivalry will help on both ends; Randle will have a mentor, and Poythress will have someone pushing him to be more aggressive.