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uk basketball logoBy The Associated Press

Former Wildcats center Sam Bowie believes the injury to Nerlens Noel might initially affect the team’s psyche, especially with so many young players.

“His teammates will start to second-guess themselves, and that’s just human nature,” Bowie said. “You always say, ‘We’ll regroup; people have to step up and take their games to another level,’ and that’s been the politically correct thing to say, but realistically speaking it will affect the team mentally.”

Considered the nation’s top recruit last season, Noel led a four-man freshman class also including Archie Goodwin and Alex Poythress that was expected to pick up where last year’s championship team left off. Noel has often been compared to national player of the year Anthony Davis because of his size and shot-blocking ability.

Kentucky visits Tennessee on Saturday before returning home Wednesday against Vanderbilt, providing the Wildcats chances to sweep season series against both schools and stay in the SEC race.

Bowie believes John Calipari is capable of motivating the Wildcats to overcome Noel’s absence, band together as a team and return to the postseason — suggesting that urgency sometimes brings out the best performances.

“I still feel like they’ll make the tournament,” Bowie said, “but whether they have a legitimate chance of making a serious run, that will be determined. With Cal as coach, and I think they have plenty of personnel, they have a chance to be one of the 65 teams invited to the tournament.”

3 Responses to Sam Bowie fears UK players will start to second guess themselves with Noel out for year

  • The last time we lost a Big Man (Enes Kanter) , the Team and Josh Harrellson, stepped up and made a heck of a Run….Does Willie Cauley-Stein and this supporting Cast have that ability….I believe they do. The situation with Nerlens is a tragedy. Don’t give up on this Team…As we all know,” Coach Noel ” will be right there with the players everyday, just not on the Court.

  • Karen Sprinkle says:

    It is ironic that the last time we lost a starter to injury for the rest of the year, our next game was on the road at Tennessee. Of course, Tennessee at that time was ranked #1 in the country, and no one realistically gave the Cats any chance at even competing in the game. The players on that UK team stepped it up, and the Cats did a lot better than expected. We have a much better coach than then (Billy Clyde was the coach then), and I think these guys will step up to the challenge this game and the rest of the season. As Larry T. said, don’t give up on this team just yet.

  • dennis says:

    Now is the time the rest of the players show what they are made of, time to step up and play like they should and can, dont depend on anyone but each other, play team ball and play 120% each time they are on the floor…how bout putting this on their jersy, shoes or wherever: Doing it for Nerlens!

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