I correctly predicted on here last June that UNC would be the 2008-2009 college basketball champions. Now that the top prospects are falling into place, it appears another school is preparing for a return to dominance - the Kentucky Wildcats. Bringing over one of the top coaches in America along with 1 and done blue chip recruits John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins, Kentucky is my early pick to take the title in 2010. With Daniel Orton already signed, Patrick Patterson coming back, and Jodie Meeks likely to follow, the talent level in Lexington is going to be ridiculous. Check out the 2-deep depth chart:
Wall / Bledsoe
Stephenson / Harris
Patterson / Miller
Cousins / Orton
That is four 1st round picks in the starting five and they are surrounded by outstanding role players/athletes that were brought in by the previous regime (unfortunately for them, guys like Perry Stephenson are not 1st of 2nd options on championship teams). They will, however, flourish as a supporting cast to Wall, Meeks, Patterson, and Cousins.
There doesn’t appear to be another team in Kentucky ’s league at this point. Kansas brings back an outstanding inside/outside combo in Collins and Aldrich. They also signed Xavier Henry and some others and will certainly be in the mix. However, too many of the other potential contenders lost more than they can handle in early entries to the draft (UNC, Cuse, UConn, Zona, USC, Louisville ).
Look for Kentucky to struggle a bit out of the gate and lose 3-4 before Christmas before jelling together in January. Coach Cal has been to the dance and had success before, but 2009-2010 will be Title #1 for him.