Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Kentucky Wildcats: Best Case vs. Worst Case in 2010-11

ESPN.com has broken down the Southeastern Conference and given a best case/worst case look at each team.

Here is an excerpt about Kentucky:


Best case: It's always difficult to predict how a young, unproven batch of talented recruits is going to play, but Kentucky fans got a glimpse of this team's potential in its torrid run through three Canadian exhibition games in August. Brandon Knight looked particularly impressive. If all goes well, Knight will be the latest in John Calipari's remarkable streak of star point guards, and Kentucky will find itself at the top of the SEC for the second straight season.

Worst case: For all of Kentucky's talent, this year's Wildcats aren't a particularly deep team. Calipari and company are still waiting for the NCAA clearinghouse to approve forward Enes Kanter's eligibility. If Kanter doesn't get eligible -- or, perhaps, even if he does -- Kentucky could be relying on a handful of supremely talented youngsters (Knight, Doron Lamb, Stacey Poole, and injured forward Terrence Jones) to carry considerable loads. Can they do it?

ESPN also lists "5 things to know" this offseason. First on the list is:

1. The eligibility of Kentucky freshman Enes Kanter: Kentucky has a chance to challenge Florida for the SEC East title if Kanter can clear up amateur issues from playing and growing up in his native Turkey before coming to the United States to finish high school. Kanter can be that much of a difference-maker for the Wildcats. He wasn't cleared in time to travel with Kentucky on its foreign trip to Canada earlier this month. The Wildcats have the top-rated newcomer class again this season, and a lot of that has to do with Kanter and Brandon Knight. Knight performed quite well by scoring and dishing out, while not committing turnovers on the trip. Kanter has time to get eligible, but the NCAA has been known to drag these cases out for quite some time. It could be a daily watch on whether Kanter will be eligible in time for Kentucky's trip west to play at the University of Portland and in Maui.

Fran Fraschilla expects UK to win the SEC East:

1. Kentucky: Could the Wildcats be as talented as last year's 35-3 team? No, but don't feel bad for John Calipari. His one-and-done freshman class has everything, including another great point guard in Brandon Knight.

2. Tennesee
3. Florida
4. Georgia
5. Vanderbilt
6. South Carolina

Andy Katz names a pair of Wildcat freshmen as key players in the league:

Enes Kanter, Kentucky: If Kanter is eligible, he immediately becomes one of the top big men in the SEC, if not the country. He's a lock for NBA first-round status if he decides to leave after this season. Kanter has already proved that he can produce, and now, like DeMarcus Cousins a year ago, he has to show he can handle the rigors of a long season.

Brandon Knight, Kentucky: Knight is not John Wall. Let's stop with those comparisons right now. He's a true point who can get the Wildcats into their dribble-drive-motion offense, but don't expect Knight to be the quickest guard who runs past opposing guards. The Canada trip was a bit of a misnomer for what should happen against elite college teams.

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