As we get closer to the start of the 2013-14 basketball season, there is going to be one constant theme.
Redemption for John Calipari and for everyone associated with last years underperforming season. And Alex Poythress is one of the players in line for redemption.
“Everybody makes mistakes,” said Poythress, who late last season felt compelled to express regret for his play. “You just have to live with it. Everybody’s not perfect. . . . You’re just magnified here at Kentucky. Everybody’s got their eyes on you. Everybody’s always watching you. You just learn how to cope with it.”
“Now I’m real prepared for it,” he added. “I’ve been through it already, so I should be fine.”
Talking to reporters early last month, Poythress seemed more relaxed and less wary than this time a year ago.
“I was quite a bit more tense coming in,” he said. “You’re a freshman. You don’t know what to expect. It’s different from high school. It’s college. You haven’t played a game yet.
“But this year is different. I know what to expect. I know what’s needed of me. So this should be a different year.”
Personally, I love what I have heard and seen from Poythress. Playing with Randle seems to have energized him and given him a whole new perspective.
If you like what you are hearing about Alex Poythress, then you are going to LOVE what is being said about James Young. Per some “NBA people”, Calipari was told that James Young was the best player in the country right now. And of course these MBA types heaped praise on Calipari and the Cats as well.
“Don’t know how you get these kids to sacrifice and play for each other,” Calipari said he was told by these NBA people, whom he did not identify.
Freshman James Young, a relatively lesser light in UK’s freshman constellation, apparently made the strongest impression on these pro people.
“He’s the best player in the country right now,” Calipari said he was told by the two NBA types.
The point? Calipari said he wanted other UK players to welcome the praise lavished on a teammate. “If you’re about yourself, you can’t survive here,” he said.
Of course, the meshing of seven McDonald’s All-Americans (six freshmen plus sophomore Alex Poythress) is seen as the key to Kentucky’s season. That was one of last season’s failings. Another — the lack of competitive spirit — doesn’t figure to be a problem, Calipari said.
“I don’t have to coach intensity,” he told a crowd of about 400 (twice as large as the usual club meeting).
We can go on and on with the exciting things about this basketball team, folks. Mr. Julius Randle has some fantastic buzz as well.
“People are very excited, he has the best physical package at Kentucky at this stage in his career,” a source close the Kentucky program told Sporting News.
“He’s a physical freak with long arms. Kentucky fans are used to seeing these spectacles from John Wall to Anthony Davis and now him, and fans are excited to have an elite talent back in the city. As far as a player, when he goes to the basket, he’s (going to be) unstoppable in the college game.”
Randle, the third-ranked player on the ESPN 100 recruiting list, draws multiple comparisons to last year’s top-pick, Anthony Bennett. Though Randle’s star power is palpable, it won’t invoke jealousy from members of this year’s Kentucky team.
“Last year’s team wasn’t as close (knit) at all. There was no team chemistry,” the source said. “There was speculation that the Harrison twins didn’t like Randle, but I haven’t seen that. We haven’t seen a physically dominating team at Kentucky in years. If Randle wants to be, there will no one in college that can guard him, and really no one anywhere that can guard him.”