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National media sees UK as preseason No. 1, but Dick Vitale warns Cats no “lock city”

By LARRY VAUGHT

Chris Dortch, editor of Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook, was on a radio show last week when he was asked whether he thought guards Andrew and Aaron Harrison would return to Kentucky for their sophomore season — as they announced they would do Friday rather than enter the NBA draft.

“I had no knowledge, but I said I thought they’d stay. That they did didn’t surprise me. I think it was an intelligent decision. They began to come into their own in March. Why not give NBA scouts another season’s worth of evaluation?” said Dortch. “Kentucky has to be considered a heavy favorite to win the national 2014-15 national championship now.”

ESPN analyst Jay Bilas thinks the return of the Harrisons along with Willie Cauley-Stein, Dakari Johnson, Alex Poythress and Marcus Lee off the team that reached the national title game will put UK No. 1 again going into next season as well.

“Kentucky looks like a preseason No. 1 to me. With depth, size, talent, and now experience, Kentucky stacks up favorably with anyone,” Bilas said.

Another ESPN analyst, Dick Vitale, already has Kentucky No. 1 in his preseason poll — and that was before he knew the Harrisons were returning. Vitale thought with UK’s incoming recruits along with Poythress, Lee, Johnson and Cauley-Stein back, UK already merited being No. 1 going into next season.

“I just feel with the personnel they have and the experience they have that they will have a dynamite team, much better than last year,” Vitale said.

He knows Kentucky fans might immediately translate that to mean he’s predicting a national championship for UK again like the Cats won in 2012. But he knows better than that despite UK’s impressive tournament run last season.

“Does all this guarantee Kentucky will win a championship? No,” Vitale said. “If it was four of seven (series), nobody would beat Kentucky. But in a one-game scenario, with the way momentum can swing and the 3-point shot, they could get beat. I would caution all Kentucky fans about that.

“Big Blue Nation has every right to be excited and enthused. On paper, they probably have the best team ever assembled. But you still have got to perform and remember the system exists. One bad night and the party could be over. Even as good as Kentucky will be, they are not lock city to cut the nets down (after winning the national championship). But they certainly have a great, great chance.”

Such a great chance that even if UK fans don’t make the mistake of starting the 40-0 hype again for next season, they are giddy thinking about what the year could be like even with a schedule that could include Louisville, UCLA, Kansas, Providence, North Carolina, Florida and others.

That’s why Sporting News columnist Mike DeCourcy doesn’t see the Cats dropping out of the national news that they have dominated for the last month any time soon.

“The twins coming back just escalates the excitement and buzz about Kentucky basketball,” DeCourcy said. “There is such great excitement about having that much talent on one team. Remember (19)96 and what it was like going into that season (with the talent coach Rick Pitino’s eventual national championship UK team had). It was extraordinary and my guess is that it will be just like that for this team and next season.”

And that is one thing even Vitale would guarantee when it comes to Kentucky basketball.

Permanent link to this article: http://vaughtsviews.com/national-media-sees-uk-as-preseason-no-1-but-dick-vitale-warns-cats-no-lock-city/

11 comments

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  1. Larry T Clemons

    Just Win Baby !

  2. Barry

    Hey Pope Larry, check out the Sporting News article. It not only labels the Twins as the cause of Ky’s problems last year, but also warns of them being likewise this year. But they are just haters like me, huh Rah Rah? Next year’s team will only be as good as it weakest links and in this case, once again, it will be the Harrison twins.

    1. Andy

      So now Sporting news is the expert? Those so called experts thought Uk would flame out early. What they can’t measure is heart. Explains why your posts are thoughtless. Last year was a bunch of young freshmen who went to the title game with no tourney experience. Did it eat your heart seeing them go all the way?

  3. LindaS

    Please, please, please…not again…leave them alone, let them be…not so soon, wait until the season starts and they are 5-6 games into it.

  4. Anonymous

    Do you believe everything you read from the likes of a rag like Sporting News? You are one silly dude man. You been talking your trash all year and refuse to shut up after them boys proved you and Sporting News wrong. Go post on another site that believes your garbage. You are a broken record.

  5. Bob

    Kentucky will be an strong team again and will sport some lost games just as this year .I think the twins are and will be the Twins we saw in the tournment . I don’t really see them as the reason for so many lost games i think Randle played an role also trying to do to much . This year this team came together and showed not very many wrong . I do not want to name names well really i do but will not. I hope us an fans have learned our lesson about falling into these 40-0 traps the press sits up for us .We do not want to be another Florida whom was due at the wrong time . This was an smart move for all the players whom stayed and James Young i think could have up his value with another year too. But thats an personal thing and Gob Bless and an big thank you. I think Alex P. ‘s career at Kentucky could be an repeat of Miller . It’s an great time to be an UK fan . When the press is running them mouths you know some- thing good is on the table .3 7-footers that can play and the twins will run an NBA style game next year because these kids could be on an NBA team . There stock will jump next year . I can only hope coach Cal sees he needs an full time coach to teach free throws only . The lack of shooting free throws was the price of the title this year . Also play that bench Lee was an secert weapon. You never know who or when you’ll loose an player. As an Eagle Scout Be Prepaired BSA Basketball Sport America ! GO BIG BLUE !!! Are You Ready For Some Football???

  6. Bob

    Polson would be an great free throw coach .

  7. King Ghidora

    Wow someone named Mike Decourcy seems to not understand the system Cal put in place for the team this past year. The dribble drive was the thing. The twins were given the job of just throwing the ball up and letting the front line put it in if they missed. UK was very good at that and Cal understandably wanted to take advantage of UK’s size and the new rules regarding fouls. This stuff seems incredibly obvious to me. It hurt the shooting percentage of both of the twins but they both shot in the 35%-36% neighborhood from behind the arc. I listed a lot of UK players that didn’t do that well even though some of them were known as “live and die by the 3″ type players. Mr. “shoot or transfer” himself (Martinez) didn’t shoot as well as the twins for his career at UK. He actually had one good shooting year and 3 bad ones. He shot just 30% from 3 land as a senior. Yet people look at him as part of the Pitino’s Bombinos.

    Not only were the twins asked to take bad shots on drives but they also were forced to toss up long range bad shots because the shot clock would be running down. They never seemed to get their offense going until 10 seconds was left on the shot clock.

    Yes the twins had problems early. Most freshmen do. But it seems that Mike missed the fact that they turned that all around in the tournament. I suspect that’s the twins we will see next year. And they will look like the great players we all expected them to be.

    We can’t judge every freshmen class like the 2012 class or the 2010 class. Those were exceptional players. The 2010 class had 3 guys on the team that will eventually be NBA all stars including one that didn’t even start for the Cats. If not for an injury that number of all stars might be 4 (to Orton).

    The media shot itself in the foot talking up the Cats before last season and I think they are looking for anything to prevent the kind of hype they had last year from taking root again. 40-0? That don’t happen often. We nearly saw it happen this year but guess who ended that possibility? The same team that did it to Indiana in 1975.

    Expect the Cats to have a really good team next year. That’s my prediction. Anything beyond that requires a crystal ball and I don’t have one of those.

    1. larryvaught

      King, remember it was the players who started the 40-0 talk at last year’s McDonald’s Game. I was there and heard them all talk openly about wanting to go 40-0. That’s when the talk took off

      1. Viper

        I’m guessing they’ll not push that line again. Or, if they do, it will be to themselves. There is just so much involved in something like that (40-0). Some of it you can control and some, like bad bounces, bad calls, poor shooting nights or injuries you can’t. The reason experience is so valuable is that it teaches you to play so hard all the time, that the odds remain in your favor when bad things happen.

  8. lunchbox

    i guess i can understand where barrys coming from but after watching so many kids that was boarderline nba or college go pro i think i have alot of respect for the twins. im proud we have a guy like wcs that maybe should have went pro want to be at uk……….i think alot of uk fans needed this after starting over yyr after year…goin to be so fun to watch a point guard with a yr under him 40-0 :)

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