Just To Show You How Wrong I Was Back In October (I was right on some things too)!!!!!!

This is a piece I wrote following the blue/white scrimmage back in October. Read back through it and see how wrong I was about these Cats. I predicted 5-7 losses, which is hard to believe because I'm usually overly optimistic. I guess they could still end up with 5 losses and I could be right, but I'd rather be wrong.

This is my favorite time of the year. Baseball playoffs are always fun to watch, football is in full swing, and the anticipation of college basketball to me is like when you're a little kid counting down the days till jolly ole Saint Belhasen comes to bring you lots of toys. It leaves me as giddy as a Mulkey the night they won the tag team straps. Last night in front of a record crowd for a scrimmage, a crowd which included Spilla, we got our first good look at our beloved Wildcats. These are my thoughts on what we have witnessed so far.

-These aren't the same Cats we've gotten used to over the last few seasons. They are gonna play fast and furious.

-John Wall is good. He's fast, athletic, charismatic, and seems to have a pretty good sense of what to do basketball wise for a freshman point guard. I just hope the rest of the team can keep up with him. I can't remember the Cats ever having a faster player since I've been old enough to care. He loves to find an open teammate, but if they don't get where they are supposed to be quick enough, he has the ability and no problem with finishing the play himself. Even if his jumper isn't pure, he's still gonna be great. He will undoubtedly face many zones and sagging man to man defenses to try and offset his speed and penetration abilities. I would guess that there are fewer than 5 players in college basketball right now who would even have limited success of trying to play him tight and keep him from driving, and one of them is on his team. Wall is a star already. He knows it, and knows how to play the part. He's flashy without being full of himself. He's probably gonna end up being one of my favorites of all time.

-Eric Bledsoe is good too. He might be the second fastest player the Cats have had during my fanhood. He's another guy that loves to find an open man. He can drive, dish, and finish. He's very well built and can handle some contact. He's gonna get sh!t right. His jumper looks pretty broke though. When was the last time the Cats had a point guard who could really shoot? One of the Catspause writers said that Bledsoe's jumper looked like a Tim Wakefield pitch. I still love the guy, and the Cats will be moving at warp speed when he and Wall are playing together.

-Josh Harrelson (Jorts) should get some playing time. I was one of many who thought Jorts wouldn't make the cut when Calipari first came and started dropping players left and right. However, after watching the Big Blue Madness scrimmage and the Blue/White scrimmage I have changed my mind. I think he can be a very valuable part of this team. He can shoot it and he can bang down low on defense. He's kinda like Bunch on Sunday's at Bremen. Every 3 he puts up you just know it's going in. Every shot from 5 feet or less, you cringe.

-Patrick Patterson is the leader. He went out west to work with "hell's trainer" this summer and it shows. He has definitely added some to his physique, which was already impressive. He showed some of the basketball skills he has been working on too. He handled the ball more than I've ever known him to and hit a couple of 3's. If he can consistently show those skills during the season, I think he can be a first team All-American and lottery pick. John Wall is A star on this team. However, Patrick Patterson is THE star on this team. He should have a great year and go down as one of the greatest Cats ever in my opinion.

-Demarcus Cousins and Daniel Orton will combine with Patterson and Jorts to give us one of, if not the best, frontcourts in the nation. Cousins needs to play with a little more urgency, because Orton is plenty capable of taking his spot. They are both very talented and I'm excited to see what they can do this year.

-Darnell Dodson is a player. We've all heard he could shoot the rock, but he showed that he can also create a little. With the Cats being kinda short on shooters, he could become a very big part of whatever success the team can achieve. I read the scoring lines for the game and now I'm going blank, but I think Dodson was the high scorer for the night. Correct me if I'm wrong.

-Darius Miller has star potential, skill wise. He is the new version of Kelenna Azubuike. I always wanted Kelenna to take charge and act like he was the best player on the team, which he was at times, but he just wasn't that kind of player. Darius isn't the best player on this team, but he's very good and I think he could be even better with a little more confidence. I would just like to see him get mad and take over every now and then. Could we get Rondo to sleep with his girlfriend or something?

-I think Hood is better than people give him credit for being. The guy is a top 40 recruit. At one time he was rated in the top 20, before slipping a little after being hurt during the AAU season prior to his Sr. year of high school. He's very athletic and has a good looking jumper. He can handle the ball fairly well and create his own shot. On most teams around the country he would contribute a lot this year. At UK he will probably see limited minutes because of the depth of talent on the team, but make no mistake, John Hood can play with anybody. Whenever he breaks out, whether it be this year or 2 years from now, just remember who told you first. He was forced to create a lot of his own offense tonight because he started out on a team with no point guard. Plus, he's not always gonna have someone as quick as Wall or Bledsoe guarding him. When Wall and Bledsoe are his teammates, those contested shots you saw him putting up tonight will be wide open, or he will be driving by the defender as they try to close out on him. Maybe I'm wrong, but I really like what I see so far from Hood.

-Deandre Liggins is confusing. All I've heard is how great this new system has been for Liggins. Coach loves Liggins. Liggins is the x-factor for this team. Blah, blah, blah. He didn't look that great to me tonight. However, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt considering Calipari says he'll be a 3 man in this system and tonight he was forced to play mostly point guard due to the teams. Much like I said with Hood, Liggins will probably be a different looking player when Wall and Bledsoe are on his team and he's not being guarded by guys who are so quick. He's got nice tats. I'll give him that.

-Perry Stevenson is a guy I feel sorry for. He just doesn't seem to fit in with this style of play. Hopefully he'll prove me wrong, but I just don't see where Perry can find minutes when you look at who's in front of him. It kinda makes me sad because I've always liked Stevenson, and on the right team he could be a very good role player. I'm just afraid he's gonna be riding some major pine for his senior year.

-Ramon Harris actually shot well tonight. He hit four from treyville. Don't get used to it. I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess that this was an aberration. If Razor can somehow prove to be a shooter, he could possibly find some minutes. We know he's athletic and we know he can defend and rebound. However, much like Stevenson, the guys in front of him are just better. I like Razor, always have. I'm glad he stuck around for his senior year.

-Mark Krebs has a nice looking shot. Cal keeps saying that Krebs earned his scholarship and that he deserves to be on this team. I don't see him getting very much playing time, but when he shoots it, you have this feeling that it's going in. That's good enough for me. I like it when you can have confidence that the guys at the end of the bench aren't gonna kill you when they come in.

-I liked that Cal asked Joe B. to join him on the bench. He embraces the history of the program better than any coach we've had during my time of loving the Cats. I also loved seeing all of the classic players that were on hand. Wayne Turner, Ron Mercer, Scott Padgett, and of course my all time favorite Cat, Tony Buckets.

-I think these Cats are gonna be very good. I think they will lose 5-7 games though. I'm not as confident as a lot of fans about the overall record. Their lack of perimeter shooting will bite them at least a time or two this year. Their youth will as well. Plus, every guy on the team is learning a new system. If they can put it all together by tournament time though, look out. They have the talent to be a legit Final Four threat. We'll see how it all plays out. This is a great year for basketball in Kentucky. The Cats appear to be back, the Tops are gonna be good (top 25 good in my opinion), and Louisville should take a step back this season. I really think the Cards aren't as good as the Tops. I guess we'll find out for sure. They play again this year, right? Also, don't sleep on Morehead State, the Cats first opponent. They return their starting 5 and gave the filthy Cards all they wanted in the NCAA tourney last year. Could UL be the 4th best team in the state? Man I wish.

-One last note for Sizzlin Shane. Michigan is also good this year. Saw them rated in the top 15 in a couple of preseason polls