The incoming members of the Kentucky Wildcat Basketball team better get ready for next year to embrace the hate. And to prepare to be every teams Super Bowl once again. With six McDonalds All Americans (and possibly a seventh in Andrew Wiggins) joining Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein next year, Kentucky is poised once again to ascend the mountain and be a serious contender for the 2014 National Champs.
I know … we said the same thing last year and well, UK underperformed … especially on the road. But this incoming breed of Cats seem to be ready for the road and to embrace the hate:
UK’s next crop of McDonald’s A ll-Americans knows they’ll feel the love in Rupp, but they’re also more than ready to embrace the hate everywhere else.
“As long as it’s loud, I’m totally fine with it,” said UK signee Marcus Lee, a California native. “They can boo me all they want. I’m totally fine with it. In my high school, we weren’t as spirited. We had a big gym and we had a lot of people during the playoffs, but not as many during the regular season.
“I’ve never really been super hated like that. Being super hated is pretty exciting for me.”
Two Texas natives — Andrew and Aaron Harrison — are already used to the hate. Andrew, UK’s next point guard, said he and his brother are perceived as “arrogant” and “hotheads” on the court, which often stirs the crowd into a frenzy.
Like Lee, the Harrison twins don’t always play to packed gyms in a state where football is king. The UK signees faced fellow phenom Aaron Gordon in a made-for-TV game in Texas earlier this season that was played in a venue that was only half full.
But the Harrisons’ reputation as two of the best high school players in the country — and two of the fiercest competitors — precedes them.
And that reputation often breeds contempt.
“In Houston, they hate on us no matter who we play or where we are,” Andrew said. “We take that and we turn it around as motivation. It helps us play harder, actually.”
“We all know that there’s going to be a lot of hate, and a lot of lies told about us,” Aaron added. “It’s motivation.”
A lot of fans have already dubbed next year as the “Kentucky revenge Tour”. Well, with Aaron Gordon going to Arizona, some seem to think that the Wildcats or Arizona could compete for the preseason number one spot with the Kentucky Wildcats.
But seniors may end up being the only think Sean Miller is missing next season.
His back court is impressive, with Duquesne transfer TJ McConnell, one of the most underrated point guards in the country as a sophomore, will be ready to start after sitting out last season as a transfer, and he’ll be joined by junior Nick Johnson, sophomore Gabe York, senior Jordin Mayes and Pitts in the back court.
It’s scarier up front. Gordon and Jefferson will join a group that already includes Kaleb Tarczewski, Grant Jerrett, Brandon Ashley and Angelo Chol.
That’s a ridiculous amount of talent.
Arizona will be in the conversation with Kentucky and Duke as the preseason No. 1 team in the country next season.
Wouldn’t the ultimate stop of the “Kentucky Revenge Tour” be a rematch of the 1997 championship game? Bring it on.
A few days ago, Nick Wiggins, the brother of Andrew and member of the Wichita State Shockers, sent out a tweet that his brother would SHOCK the world with his college choice. Conspiracy theorists all over meant this to say that Wiggins would possibly become a Wichita State Shocker, but au contraire, mon frere. Nick Wiggins explains his tweet:
“I didn’t mean it to get anybody out of their seats or try tease anybody,” Wiggins said. “I just wrote the tweet to say ‘People, don’t get your hopes up. He’s going to make the best decision for himself. Me and my family… we’re going to help him try to make the best decision for him. I went through the recruiting process before and I know how it is.”
Andrew Wiggins will try to attend the Final Four to watch his brother. He plays in Wednesday’s McDonald’s All-American Game in Chicago. He is one of two players in the game who have not announced their college choice.
“I’m not saying he said he’s considering (Wichita State) or anything,” Nick Wiggins said. “He mentioned that he loves watching (Shocker) games and he loves that we play up and down. He’s very excited for what’s going on with the program and what’s going on for me, being in the Final Four.”
Nick Wiggins said it’s not his place to make a recruiting pitch for WSU. Andrew Wiggins plays at Huntington Prep in West Virginia and is considered a candidate to play one college season before entering the NBA Draft.
I have to say that the combination of Wiggins being at the McDonald’s All American game with six future Wildcats and then going and taking in the Final Four atmosphere should only bode well for Kentucky, especially if Wiggins is serious about winning a national title.