Kentucky was on a roller coaster for much of last year.
The low had to come early in the season when UK lost, at home, to Gardner-Webb, 84-68.
They did, however, have a high when they beat Vanderbilt at home 79-73. Then they beat Tennessee 72-66.
They did get to the NCAA tournament but lost in the first round to Marquette, 74-66. UK finished the season with a record of 18-13.
Last year, UK had a transition period with new coach Billy Gillispie. It was rough: The players weren't buying into the new coach, and the coach wasn't buying into the players.
When they got it together, they had to do it without a key piece, as they lost Jodie Meeks to injury for most of the season.
They had a player transfer midseason in Alex Legion. It was hard to envision that Kentucky was going to go anywhere anytime soon.
This season seems to be different for Kentucky. They have the team chemistry of a family. They are laughing, joking, and most importantly, having fun.
There are a lot of new faces on the bench and on the court. The coaches are the same, but the players are different.
Joe Crawford and Ramel Bradley have gone on to the NBA. That is a main spot that UK has to fill. They have to fill the points that are lost from those two stars.
They have the talent to do that. They have a good transfer in Kevin Galloway, a solid freshman in DeAndre Liggins, and Mr. Kentucky Basketball Darius Miller, along with another transfer, Josh Harrellson.
Now meet your Kentucky team.
2008-2009 University of Kentucky roster
- Patrick Patterson (6'9", 235, Forward/Center) 2007-2008 scoring: 16.4
- Jodie Meeks (6'4", 208, Guard) 2007-2008 scoring: 8.8
- Perry Stevenson (6'9", 207, Forward) 2007-2008 scoring: 5.9
- Jarard Carter (7'2", 270, Center) 2007-2008 scoring: 0.8
- Ramon Harris (6'7", 218, Guard/Forward) 2007-2008 scoring: 4.2
- Michael Porter (6'3", 198, Guard) 2007-2008 scoring: 2.0
- A.J. Stewart (6'7", 218, Forward) 2007-2008 scoring: 2.1
- Josh Harrellson (6'10", 265, Forward)
- Darius Miller (6'7", 223, Guard/Forward)
- DeAndre Liggins (6'6", 202, Guard)
- Kevin Galloway (6'7", 215, Guard/Forward)
- Donald Williams (6'3", 205, Guard)
- Matt Pilgrim (6'8", 233, Forward) Must sit out 2008-2009 season
- Dwight Perry (6'1", 173, Guard) Walk-on
- Mark Krebs (6'5", 207, Guard/Forward) Walk-on
- Matt Scherbenske (6'1", 178, Guard) Walk-on
- Landon Slone (6'3", 178, Guard) Walk-on
- Adam Delph (6'1", 161, Guard) Walk-on
- Mark Halsell (5'11", 182, Guard) Walk-on
- Jarvis Walker (6'3", 215, Guard) Walk-on
There are a few transfers on the team that are going to contend for starting spots right away.
Along with the new faces, there is a new look. A new uniform is in order.
The future looks bright for Kentucky. If the injury bug goes away this season, then UK can be a top 25 team.
The schedule is rough at spots, but it's like that every year.
The starting lineup seems hard to judge. Patrick Patterson and Jodie Meeks will start, but from there it is anybody's guess.
Now it's time for Kentucky to take back college basketball.
The only thing left to say is:
This is Kentucky. This, my friend, is the Pattern of Excellence.