Last year the refrain on the Kentucky Wildcats basketball season is that is was “hijacked” by a select few and John Calipari assured us that he would not be fooled again. And he went and stocked up on McDonald’s All American players for this years squad. There is an eye boggling total of eight McDonald’s All Americans on this team and five starting spots. What does that mean? There is no place to hide on this team.
Like Coach Cal said, you can’t hide players from competition.
At Southeastern Conference Media Day last week, Calipari informed reporters that NBA scouts are telling him that games will get in the way of evaluating this team. In other words, they would rather evaluate these guys on their battles in practices than games against other opponents. According to them, the competition in UK’s practices is that good.
A chunk of players on UK’s practice court were ranked near the top of their respective positions nationally. As veteran Jon Hood put it, “We’re stacked in every position.”
Hood said the level of talent and competition forces players to improve.
“Anytime you’re playing against great players, you’re always going to be pushed to be better or get out of the way,” Hood said.
This season, Kentucky has a deep bench with a variety of skilled players.
“We just have a lot more guys than last year,” Cauley-Stein said. “If someone got hurt you didn’t have that competition anymore. Like this year we probably got three guys in each position so if one person goes down, you got another dude just as good as him that comes in and fills up and plays a little different so you gotta figure out how to play against him. You can’t just get used to playing against one guy.”
Andrew Harrison is one of those McDonald All Americans and from what we know about him, he will not be hiding from anyone. Harrison was named to the Bob Coousy award watch list. Here is more info from a UKAA press release.
Freshman guard Andrew Harrison was one of 45 players to earn recognition as a member of the watch list of candidates for the 2014 Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year Award in was announced Tuesday. The annual honor, named for Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtic Bob Cousy, recognizes the top point guards in men’s college basketball. The list was created by a committee of well-respected media members and influential people within college basketball from around the country.
“The Bob Cousy Award promotes the values of leadership, determination, and teamwork, all skills needed not only on the hardwood but also in life,” said Ken Kaufman, Chair of the Bob Cousy Award and former president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). “Mr. Cousy exemplified all of these traits, and continues to be an inspiration to players on and off the court.”
Harrison is a 6-6 guard from Richmond, Texas. As a senior in high school he averaged 15.8 points, 7.0 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game while directing Travis High to a state championship. He came to Kentucky rated as the top point guard in the country by all three major recruiting services and the third-best prospect in the country by ESPNU Recruiting. Scout and Rivals both ranked him as the fifth-best overall prospect.
The watch list of candidates will be narrowed down to a final 20 in early February, then final five by early March. A premier Selection Committee has been appointed by the Hall of Fame to review the candidates in contention for the nation’s top collegiate point guard award. This committee is made up of top college basketball personnel including members of the media, head coaches, media relations contacts and Hall of Famers. The Cousy Award winner will be presented the award on Championship Monday in Dallas at the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2014 Announcement and Press Conference.
Kentucky’s John Wall, Brandon Knight and Marquis Teague were all finalists for the award.
Big Blue Madness is of course the ultimate official visit for a lot of recruits but where are the other recruits going? Ben Roberts has a list of Kentucky’s top targets and all their official visits thus far. Check it out.