Kentucky Preview Capsule
Last season: 26-11, won the SEC Tournament title and reached NCAA Sweet 16.
Coach: John Calipari.
Who’s gone: Forward Kevin Knox and guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander became NBA lottery selections. Guard Hamidou Diallo and forward Jarred Vanderbilt were also drafted.
Who’s back: Forward PJ Washington withdrew from the NBA Draft and is the top returning scorer and rebounder at 10.8 points and 5.7 rebounds per game respectively. Six-foot-11 Nick Richards and guard Quade Green (9.3 points) returned for their sophomore seasons, giving the Wildcats some experience. Guard Jemarl Baker is healthy after redshirting last year with injury.
Who’s new: 6-8 forward Reid Travis is a graduate transfer from Stanford who was a two-time All-Pacific 12 Conference first team selection. Kentucky’s latest group of blue chip recruits include forward E.J. Montgomery and guards Ashton Hagans, Keldon Johnson, Immanuel Quickley and Tyler Herro.
The Skinny: The mix of returnees Washington, Green and Richards with another heralded freshman class led by Johnson and Montgomery recalls the deep and talented 2014-15 team that won its first 38 games. Calipari won’t go there on the expectations, but he loves the depth of his 10th Wildcats squad.
Expectations: Oddsmakers have made the Wildcats the 11/2 second choice behind Duke (5-1) to win the national championship. They have the potential to surpass last year’s tournament run and pursue that ninth NCAA title.