After destroying West Virginia and just barely beating Notre Dame, the University of Kentucky men’s basketball season and quest for perfection came to an abrupt ending when they faced University of Wisconsin’s in the final four. Kentucky’s heart breaking loss came during the last three minutes of the game losing 71-64. After multiple lead changes the Wildcats had the Badgers right where they wanted them, or so they thought.
Kentucky seemed to have a strategy, which included holding the ball, slowing up the game and letting the clock run. The problems came when Kentucky started to consistently miss their shots with 3 minutes left in the game. Missed shots was not Kentucky’s only downfall. They had 20 fouls to Wisconsin’s 14. Kentucky did not look like the most talented team on the court.
Kentucky came in the tournament ranked 2nd in blocks. Frank Kaminsky was unstoppable. The Wildcats allow him to shoot 83% from the free throw line and 63% from the field. Kaminsky impacted the game most with his ability to rebound, recording 11 rebounds; While Kentucky star player, Cauley-Stein only had 2 points and 5 rebounds, which simply isn’t enough productivity to beat a top caliber team such as Wisconsin. Kentucky got out played and did not play tough enough around the basket.
Yes, it was a major accomplish that Kentucky was able to go 38-1. It still seems like such a disappointment that they were not able to finish what would have been a perfect season. Although their season will always be one of the most memorable; Kentucky fans will remember how the Wildcats fell just short of making program history and bring home a national title. While it was a disappointing ending to the Wildcats season, many of the players are looking forward to the next step in their careers.
Several mock drafts have project about 7 players to go in the NBA Draft in the first and second rounds.
Karl Anthony-Towns: Forward 6-11 projected to go number 1 over all in most NBA mock drafts. He is most recognized for his size and athletic ability underneath the basket. He also has great skill and is a very smart player. He struggles defensively and lacks the ability to be physical at times.
Trey Lyles: Power Forward 6-10 projected to go in the top 10 or 15 in the draft. He is a very skilled player. He’s an excellent shooter and possesses the ability to create shots for himself. Also has great ball handling skills.
Willie Cauley-Stein: Center 7-0 he is a great athlete and is considered one of the best players in college basketball defensively. Has the ability to contest shots at the rim. He really struggles with consistency on offensive and appears to lack motivation at times.
Devin Booker: 6-6 is considered one of the best shooters in the draft, but he too struggles with consistency understandably. He was just a freshman this year at Kentucky so he will have plenty of time to develop in the NBA.
Andrew Harrison: Shooting Guard/Point Guard 6-6 he is a great clutch shooter and can make big plays when necessary. He is pretty consistent when it comes to hitting his shots. As coach Calipari stressed during the season, to get the most out of his talent Andrew should drive to the basket more. That is when he is “at his best in attack mode”.
Aaron Harrison: Shooting Guard 6-6 can also be a great clutch shooter. No one will forget the memorable shot he hit against Wisconsin in last year’s Final Four to put Kentucky in the 2013-2014 championship. Harrison struggled a little this season but still performed well overall.
Dakari Johnson: Center 7-0 came off the bench. Has decent ball handling skills and athleticism. He really struggles will movement on the court, particularly on defense.