If you are looking for our Current Kentucky Wildcats Basketball page, check out 2011 Kentucky Wildcats Basketball.
Might have to "re-tool" this preview. Didn't see this Jodie Meeks guy coming. Not this big anyway. Meeks poured in 54 (school record; second highest ever in SEC b-ball history) at Knoxville to beat the Vols and keep UK undefeated in the SEC. He earned SEC Player of the Week honors -- for good reason.
Before Meeks breakout we said: These aren't the good old days for Kentucky Wildcats basketball; and this isn't an era in which the Kentucky Wildcats finishing at the top of the SEC was a foregone conclusion. That said, Billy Gillespie has done a good job retooling this team with youth, and that should bode well for the future. That said, this program may be one year away from truly threatening the top of this conference, particular in light of the players that they have lost from last year's squad.
In fact, there is a solid argument to be made that no single team in the SEC lost two players that had nearly the same value as did guards Ramel Bradley and Joe Crawford. These two players accounted for nearly 33 points a game combined and also just under 8 rebounds a game. The loss of not just one but both of these players will be difficult to make up for. In addition to losing Bradley and Crawford, the Wildcats also lost guard Derrick Jasper, a player that Billy Gillespie who very much wanted to keep, but who transferred to UNLV following the 2007-8 season.
Despite these losses, there is reason for optimism in Lexington. The Wildcats will put much of the scoring weight on the shoulders of sophomore forward Patrick Patterson, who had a monster freshman season (16.4 ppg, 7.7 rpg) and who many scouts believe is on the fast track to the NBA. Other key players returning to the Wildcats roster are Jodie Meeks, who will be counted on to improve upon his 8.8 ppg performance from 2007-8, and Perry Patterson, who averaged 5.9 pp and 5.1 rpg as a sophomore.
This year, Kentucky Wildcats Basketball looks to rebound a bit. They come into the season ranked 22d and Danny Sheridan gives them 25:1 odds of winning the national championship. They'll move ahead of Tennessee and finish 2d in the SEC East (behind the Florida Gators).
UK also boasts a strong recruiting class, in fact, some scouts consider the Wildcats incoming class of freshmen to be the strongest class in the SEC. The class is headlined by DeAndre Liggins, a versatile guard/forward who many have compared favorably to Scottie Pippen, and who should make an immediate impact on the Kentucky roster. Joining Liggins as part of the recruiting class are Darius Miller, and JUCO transfer Kevin Galloway, a player who could play an intriguing role off the bench over the upcoming season.
(Kentucky Wildcats Basketball men's and ladies rosters information courtesy of http://www.ukathletics.com/)
All told, the Kentucky Wildcats look to be laying the groundwork for a potentially dominant 2009-10, but they also seem to be positioned for a strong 2008-9 along the way. This team should cruise into the NCAA tournament, and could potentially make a little noise once they get there.
Check out 2009-2010 Kentucky Wildcats Basketball.
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