Kentucky Basketball: Biggest 2013-14 Goal for Each Projected Starter
As the start of the 2013-14 college basketball season approaches, Kentucky basketball is preparing to hang another national championship banner in Rupp Arena.
With the excitement of arguably the top recruiting class of all time joining Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein, it will be an exciting time in the Bluegrass State.
If the Wildcats fulfill their potential, there's a chance a 40-0 record could happen. However, none of that will be possible without each starter reaching their potential.
The following slideshow will take a look at the biggest goal for the five projected Kentucky starters.
Aaron Harrison: Be a 3-Point Threat
Aaron Harrison can score almost anywhere in the gym.
However, it will be important for him to consistently be a threat to shoot the rock from behind the arc. The reason for the importance is it will allow other players to attack the rim. While Harrison is great at driving to the hoop, it is more important he is a better outside shooter.
If defenders are respecting his shot, it will be harder for opposing defenses to run a zone against Kentucky, allowing its athletes to make plays offensively. Harrison's defenders will have to decide whether to dive into the lane and leave Aaron open or refuse to leave the shooting guard and allow his twin brother to drive the lane and dish.
Willie Cauley-Stein: Improve Post Moves
Willie Cauley-Stein entered last season as a high-energy player who would contribute on offensive rebounds and defensively.
However, once Nerlens Noel went down with a torn ACL, Cauley-Stein was called upon to be a post threat offensively for Kentucky.
Cauley-Stein began to improve on the offensive side of the ball; however, most of his points still came off of the fast break or offensive rebound putbacks. While he began to develop somewhat of a jump hook, he needs to continue to be someone the defense has to respect.
If Cauley-Stein can develop into a decent offensive player, it will not allow his defender to challenge the guards at the rim. If that's the case, it will only further increase the Harrison twins' easier shots in the paint. If the defender does attempt to challenge a guard in the paint, it will only allow for Cauley-Stein to attack the glass.
Alex Poythress: Become a Lottery Pick
Anyone who isn't a John Calipari fan will hate this statement.
Alex Poythress came back to Lexington for one reason. That reason is to become a lottery pick in the NBA draft, something he was projected to be.
Poythress has the body and skill set to be a star at both the collegiate and professional level. However, last year was disappointing for the former McDonald's All-American, as his season was a roller coaster of production.
Sure, Poythress was second on the team in scoring and one of the most productive players in the nation in terms of shooting percentage, but Poythress was projected to be an All-American after his freshman year.
If Poythress lives up to his hype, he will be a lottery pick without a doubt. But, he needs to learn how to take control of the game when it's needed and when to be a role player.
Don't be surprised if Poythress becomes a leader of the team, similar to Darius Miller during the last national title run. Despite being quiet, Poythress can lead the team with his body language and play on the court.
Andrew Harrison: Lead the Country in Assists
Andrew Harrison might be the one point guard everyone else in the country is envious of.
Not only is he a McDonald's All-American, expected top-five pick in the NBA draft and top-ranked point guard in the class of 2013, but he is also surrounded by some of the best talent in college basketball.
Harrison will be in charge of leading the offense. With no true backup point guard on the roster, Harrison is expected to see the most minutes on the team. More importantly, he is expected to distribute the ball evenly to every star he shares the floor with.
There's no reason to think Harrison can't lead the country in assists. As long as he continues to look for his shot and balances his passes evenly, there isn't a guard who can come close to finding an open man like Harrison can.
Julius Randle: Be the Best Player in the Country
Much like there's no reason for Harrison to not lead the country in assists, Randle has all of the tools to be the best player in the country.
What he has going for him more than perhaps Marcus Smart at Oklahoma State or Andrew Wiggins at Kansas is the fact he is surrounded by talent that will only allow him to attack one-on-one more than those other big names across the country.
If Randle attacks smartly and becomes the best player in the country, there's not a team that can come close to Kentucky this season. Sure, Michigan State and Louisville are great teams, but there's not a team that has as much talent on paper as Kentucky.
Randle is the key to this team. He is a special breed of size, strength and talent who can hit the mid-range jumper as well as beat his opponent in the paint.