There has certainly been no shortage of talk and opinion about the 2013-2014 University of Kentucky men’s basketball team this preseason. Let’s take a look at the opinions of some of the coaches and players in the SEC.
Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said he’s jealous of Kentucky coach John Calipari’s recruiting abilities. How can you blame Stallings for feeling that way? Once again Calipari brought in the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation as he acquired six McDonald’s All-Americans. There is talk of this possibly being the best recruiting class in history. However, with such hype comes great expectations, as many think Kentucky has a chance to go 40-0 and win another national championship this season. Stallings says Vanderbilt’s program is structured differently than Kentucky’s and must approach recruiting differently.
Missouri guard Ernest Ross doesn’t seem intimidated by Kentucky, though. Ross said the hype surrounding Kentucky this preseason has meant nothing to him. As long as his team is winning he isn’t concerned with who was voted for in the preseason.
Mississippi guard Jarvis Summers seems less hostile towards Kentucky. He understands all the preseason hype surrounding Kentucky and believes the more hype UK gets, the more hype the SEC and Mississippi can get. Summers knows Kentucky has great players and his team just needs to get prepared to face them. Summers also said Mississippi isn’t afraid to play anyone and it would be great for their recognition if Mississippi could beat Kentucky. Summers had some kind words for Calipari as well as he described him as a great coach, a workaholic, and a champion.
While Calipari added nine new players to Kentucky’s roster this year, Auburn coach Tony Barbee added eight new players to his roster. Barbee sees Calipari as more than just a great recruiter, but as a great coach and motivator as well. Barbee also sees him as a mentor because he played for Calipari at Massachusetts. Barbee said he would like to have Calipari’s problem of having so many high caliber players.
As we draw closer to the beginning of the college basketball season, we get closer to seeing if Kentucky can live up to the hype.