Kentucky freshmen Skal Labissiere and Jamal Murray are both projected to be selected in the top-5 of next June’s NBA Draft, but the Kentucky’s 2015-16 season could depend on the status of a senior.
Alex Poythress, the former McDonald’s All-American, started the first eight games for the Wildcats last season before tearing the ACL in his left knee, ending his junior season. The 6-foot-8 forward expects to be ready for the season opener on Nov. 13 against Albany, according to Kyle Tucker of the Courier-Journal.
“He’s got to get where he’s completely comfortable just letting it go,” Calipari told reporters. “There’s going to be a tentativeness. The mental part of that, for a while, it will be there. … You just want this to work for him. Obviously, I want our team to win, but I want this to work for him.”
“How quickly can he start being who he is? A lot of what we do, it will center around Alex.”
Poythress, who was aiming to be cleared by August, has returned to practice, but still hasn’t participating in all drills.
Poythress averaged 5.5 points and 3.8 rebounds in 20.3 minutes per game.
The last time a college basketball team managed to win a national title without a single loss was way back in 1976, when Bob Knight’s Indiana Hoosiers made the run with players such as Kent Benson, Quinn Buckner and Scott May leading the way. Last season John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats fell two wins short of doing the same, as they lost to Wisconsin in the national semifinals.
But while Kentucky’s season may not have ended with a national title, going 38-1 in this era of college basketball isn’t something to be scoffed. And Thursday, the basketball program announced that they’ve put together an all-access documentary on last season’s team.
Above is the trailer for the documentary, entitled “Let’s Ball,” which is scheduled to be available for purchase October 13. That’s three days before Kentucky holds its annual “Big Blue Madness” event at Rupp Arena (which plenty of people are already camping out for). So a couple days before attending the event that signals the beginning of a new season, Kentucky faithful can look back on last season.
Some may think “what could have been” while watching the documentary, but hopefully there’s also an acknowledgement of just how tough it is to get as far along in the season without a loss at those Wildcats did.
After not holding an alumni game last year the Kentucky basketball program welcomed home some of its best players of the John Calipari era for a charity game against former North Carolina players. The event was a success on multiple levels, as $1.1 million was raised for multiple charities with the final count expected to approach $1.5 million.
And the day also served as another celebration of sorts for recent Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Calipari. Calipari, who was inducted Friday night in Springfield, Massachusetts, was presented with a picture of himself that was a mosiac of every player he’s coached. And the game was entertaining as well, with the former Wildcats beating the former North Carolina players by the final score of 122-115.
Among those who played in the game were former Wildcats DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe and Karl-Anthony Towns, with Harrison Barnes (also the team head coach) and Jerry Stackhouse suiting up for the UNC team. Anthony Davis served as head coach for the former Kentucky players. Above are highlights from the game, courtesy of KYWildcatsTV.
Among the charities that will benefit from this game are the Naismith Hall of Fame Legacy Fund (which will receive a $200,000 donation in the name of late UNC head coach Dean Smith), Samaritan’s Feet and the St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital.