Nov 23, 2013; Athens, GA, USA; Kentucky Wildcats running back Jojo Kemp (3) runs the ball in the first half against the Kentucky Wildcats at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky Wildcats Basketball: ‘Till The Battle is Won

“’Till the battle is won”


Photo by Lyndsey Gough

That familiar phrase within UK’s fight song that we’ve all heard and sang along with must have resonated in the hearts of some our young Wildcats.  Just a day after Julius Randle declared he will forego the remainder of college and head to the NBA (as expected), Alex Poythress and Dakari Johnson numb the sting by announcing they will return for their third and second years at Kentucky, respectively. With Johnson, Cauley-Stein, Lee and Willis returning and the additions of Towns and Lyles, UK now has SIX big men. Calipari is known for his point guards, but he is turning this place into Big Man U. This means the Cats will now have two experienced juniors, three experienced sophomores, and a whole bench of guys who have played with the best of the best and witnessed their fair share of tournament action. Keep in mind UK now has 7 McDonald’s All-American’s on this roster with the potential to have as many as nine.

Apr 5, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari talks to guard Andrew Harrison (5) and guard Aaron Harrison (2) in the first half during the semifinals of the Final Four in the 2014 NCAA Mens Division I Championship tournament at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Those two are of course the Harrison twins. Per numerous reports, the twins’ father came into town Tuesday and the three sat down and met with Calipari to discuss their decision. They have until the 27th to announce and could wait until then to do so. They could also call a press conference tomorrow or Friday. No one knows for sure, but I have them picked to stay. If so, THIS team could be Kentucky’s most well-rounded, and loaded team yet. With tournament experience, the sting of being so close to the title and missing it, their size, athleticism, shooting ability and ball-handling skills (looking at you, Ulis), they could be a force in the college hoops scene next year.

Nov 30, 2013; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops during the game against the Tennessee Volunteers in the second half at Commonwealth Stadium. Tennessee defeated Kentucky 27-14. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

While basketball is basking in the glory that is their bench, the football team is suffering quite the opposite. Just last week Mark Stoops announced that quarterback Jalen Whitlow had left the team and would transfer, today he announced his thin receiving core just got stretched thinner with sophomore A.J. Legree also leaving the team to transfer elsewhere and freshman Jeff Badet with a broken fibula who will sit out 2-3 months. This comes in addition to freshman Alex Montgomery still out recovering from an ACL injury, junior Javess Blue out recovering from shoulder surgery, and freshman Thaddeus Snodgrass did not practice today either and was limping around in pads. Freshman Ryan Timmons did practice today, but was wearing an injured “no contact” jersey as well. Five scholarship receivers will not play in Saturday’s game which puts a bit of a damper on the whole “air raid”. Kentucky how has 8 healthy receivers (mostly walk-ons). Two have game experience and only one played last season (#9 Demarco Robinson & #87 Joey Herrick).

Nov 30, 2013; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats wide receiver Jeff Badet (13) runs the ball against the Tennessee Volunteers in the second half at Commonwealth Stadium. Tennessee defeated Kentucky 27-14. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t know if you all knew, but I hear Willie Cauley-Stein did play wide receiver in high school…actually, scratch that- he’s hurt too.

Willie Cauley Stein

But fear not, BBN. What the receivers are lacking in health and production, the running backs are making up for it. Josh Clemons has been compared to Adrian Peterson (even though he was probably injured worse) and is dominating out there. Then you have Jojo Kemp and everyone has seen what he can do, Braylon Heard adds speed and Mikel Horton adds unprecedented size. The running backs are a very solid and talented group and should be fun to watch. It also seems that the quarterback race is looking like 1.) Towles, 2.) Barker, 3.) Phillips/Smith.

Lucky for Stoops, all the injured guys should be back in time for the season and barring no more transfers everyone should be back and in great shape, plus the signed recruits coming in.

Just to mix the football and basketball worlds a little more- Bob and Mike Stoops were both present and in blue and football practice today. Coach (Mark) Stoops said Bob was out there making adjustments and giving suggestions and they were all going to sit down and go over film together today to analyze these guys. Calipari also made a cameo at practice to say hi to the Oklahoma coaches before hitting the book and recruiting trail this week.

So this week we have the spring game and perhaps a few games of Yahtzee, twins’ announcement, and still looking for UK to confirm some people for the assistant coaching jobs. It’s a pretty big weekend here at UK with a lot of news to be on the look out for- as always, go Big Blue!

Tags: Aaron Harrison Aj Legree Alex Montgomery Alex Poythress Andrew Harrison Braylon Heard Dakari Johnson Demarco Robinson Derek Willis Drew Barker Harrison Twins Jalen Whitlow Javess Blue Jeff Badet John Calipari JoJo Kemp Josh Clemons Julius Randle Karl Towns Kentucky Basketball Kentucky Football Kentucky Spring Game Kentucky Wildcats Kentucky Wildcats Basketball Kentucky Wildcats Football Marcus Lee Mark Stoops Max Smith Mikel Horton NBA Draft Patrick Towles Reese Phillips Ryan Timmons Stoops Thaddeus Snodgrass Trey Lyles University Of KEntucky Basketball University Of Kentucky Football Willie Cauley-Stein Yahtzee

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