Will Kentucky Be the Best Rebounding Team Next Season?


Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

With so much length on the roster next season, Kentucky should be one of the best—if not the best—rebounding teams in college basketball. C.L. Brown writes:

"“Add the Wildcats to the short list of teams that lost their top rebounder from last season yet should be better at rebounding. Julius Randle’s 10.4 rebounds per game accounted for a quarter of the Cats’ per-game total. Now that Randle is rebounding for Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers, two freshmen — forward Trey Lyles and center Karl Towns Jr. — should more than account for his absence. Lyles and Towns were both ranked in the top 10 by RecruitingNation.”"

A question many might ask themselves this season is, “Which team is better, the 1995-1995 ‘Cats or the 2014-2015 ‘Cats?” Of course, this season’s group has a long way to go before that question can be answered…or do they? John Clay writes:

"“Dick Vitale wrote for ESPN that the 2014-15 team will be the most talented Kentucky has ever put on the basketball floor.Can’t agree. Not yet anyway. I’ll stick with UK’s 1996 national champs. Remember that the backups on that title team included Jeff Sheppard, MVP of the 1998 title team, and Wayne Turner, point guard on that ’98 team.And I don’t see an Anthony Davis on the upcoming Cats, either.”"

Most everyone expects the Harrison Twins, especially Andrew, to make a big leap as a sophomore. But will he? And even if he doesn’t, will it matter? Thad Novak writes:

"“With a year of experience and the confidence of Kentucky’s brilliant postseason to help him, Andrew Harrison is certainly going to be a more reliable and more effective player in 2014-15. He’ll play smarter defense and make better decisions, but he’s not going to turn into Napier (or Marcus Smart, for a more apt physical comparison) overnight.That said, John Calipari’s UK teams have shown the ability to thrive in March even without a point guard playing at an All-American level. Marquis Teague was the least celebrated starter for the 2012 champs, and Brandon Knight took another group of Wildcats to the Final Four without anyone mistaking him for John Wall.”"

Kentucky and Morehead State aren’t the only in-state programs to head overseas this summer. Eastern Kentucky announced the Colonels will head to Australia in August. Raphielle Johnson writes:

"“Jeff Neubauer’s Eastern Kentucky Colonels, who finished last season with a 24-10 record, picked the right time to play their best basketball of the season. EKU won seven straight games, the last of which being a 79-73 win over Belmont in the OVC title game, to earn a spot in the NCAA tournament field. Led by Glenn Cosey, Corey Walden and Marcus Lewis, EKU pushed one-seed Kansas for most of their round of 64 game before falling 80-69.The next step for Neubauer and his coaching staff is to figure out how they’ll go about accounting for the losses of both Cosey and Lewis, with Walden (13.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.9 apg) being their most productive returnee. With that in mind the Colonels can make good use of a summer trip, with the program announcing plans for a trip to Australia next month.”"

Kentucky, like major football programs, play their share of “guaranteed games”—games against lower tier FBS or FCS programs. The formula is simple: the bigger school is almost always ensured a win and the smaller program gets a paycheck. For Kentucky, these games have become more expensive. Jennifer Smith writes:

"“Finding three opponents willing to come to Commonwealth Stadium and play against Kentucky has become more costly as of late.The Cats’ three non-conference home games against Tennessee-Martin, Louisiana-Monroe and Ohio University will cost more than $2 million this season, according to the contracts obtained by the Herald-Leader.”"