It is still about seven months until the end of the 2013-14 college basketball season for the Kentucky Wildcats but that is not going to stop the national media from guessing how the season will end. It goes without saying, but the best/worse case scenario for Kentucky fans is pretty obvious. Either win the NCAA title or not. However, the folks at Yahoo! ran down the Top 25 teams and the best worse case scenario for all the teams. Here is what they said about Kentucky:
Best-case scenario: John Calipari has sometimes drawn the ire of Kentucky fans by saying he values producing first-round picks as much as national titles. This spring, however, he gets the best of both worlds. Not only does Kentucky overwhelm opponents with talent, Calipari is also able to keep his team humble and hungry by recalling the memory of last year’s disastrous NIT season. The youthful Wildcats jell quickly, rip through the SEC and enter the postseason with just two losses. In the NCAA tournament, Kentucky bests Duke on a Andrew Harrison jumper at the buzzer in a classic regional title game, then throttles Michigan State and Louisville in Dallas to capture a second national championship in three years. Cards fans are still in depression about the loss 2 1/2 months later on draft night when a record six Wildcats are selected in the first round, making room for Calipari’s next crop of stars.
Interestingly enough, the worst case scenario for Kentucky involves losing to Duke … not Louisville. As you can guess, the best possible scenario for little brother centered on beating UK. Even Yahoo! knows.
The most common theory on Dakari Johnson is that he will return for a sophomore season instead of going the one and done route. With a solid season, that all may change. It appears that Johnson has exceeded expectations and could help to give Kentucky a punishing presence around the basket.
“I feel like I just enjoy being in the paint,” Kentucky freshman Dakari Johnson said this pre-season, “and that’s my bread and butter. So I think that’s the strength of my game.”
Johnson wasted little time making UK Coach John Calipari think happy thoughts. By early September, his percentage of body fat had decreased by seven points. Not coincidentally, Calipari’s estimation of the first-year player increased.
“Better than I thought,” Calipari said. “… Now all of a sudden he’s dunking everything around the rim. Before the question was he plays below the rim. How do you do this?”
Calipari spoke of Johnson as a physical presence around the basket that can command opponents’ attention. For all the blocked shots the past few seasons, UK hasn’t had a power game since DeMarcus Cousins, Patrick Patterson and Daniel Orton pushed people around in 2009-10.
During this pre-season, Johnson bangs with Willie Cauley-Stein in a do-si-do the coaches hope benefits both players. Johnson noted how Cauley-Stein’s speed had helped his conditioning and stamina. Johnson’s bulk pushes WCS to be more determined.
Think you know everything there is to know about Willie Cauley – Stein? While his moves on the basketball court can be a work of art, we also find out that WCS considers himself a true artist off the court.
But Willie Cauley-Stein is also an artist – the kind that draws on his school papers and has his body filled with intricate tattoos. The kind of guy who asked for coloring books from his grandma all the way into the fifth and sixth grades. The kind of guy who chooses an art studio major over popular picks for athletes such as kiniesology or communications.
“When I was younger, that’s what I enjoyed doing – doodling,” he said. “I would doodle on all my papers. Then I finally got a chance to take an art class in junior high and I just loved it. I fell in love with being able to express yourself in ways with the ink, with the paint, with pens, anything really.”
Coupled with tweets like “If I get my hands on some colored pants RIP to other people’s swag,” Cauley-Stein’s artistic ability only adds to the legend. There is a stereotypical athlete, and then there is Cauley-Stein, breaking norms left and right.