by Ryan Isley
While the Kentucky Wildcats were doing what a No.1 seed should do to a No.16 seed by dominating Western Kentucky in an 81-66 win on Thursday night, all I could think about was “what if”. What if college basketball made players stay for at least three seasons like college football?
While this year’s Kentucky team is the odds on favorite to win the national championship – for good reason – imagine if players in John Calipari’s program didn’t go one and done. We could be looking at one of the greatest college teams to ever take the floor.
Going back to the 2009-10 season, Calipari and the Wildcats lost four freshmen following that season who would be juniors now and then lost another player after last season who would be a sophomore this season.
Add Eric Bledsoe, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Daniel Orton and Brandon Knight to this year’s team and it is possible we are watching a team who is trying to be the first undefeated team in college basketball since the 1975-76 Indiana Hoosiers.
Just take a look at what their roster would look like with those four players:
Darius Miller G 6-8 235 SR
Eric Bledsoe G 6-1 190 JR
John Wall G 6-4 195 JR
DeMarcus Cousins F 6-11 270 JR
Daniel Orton F 6-10 255 JR
Brandon Knight G 6-3 185 SO
Terrence Jones F 6-9 252 SO
Doron Lamb G 6-4 210 SO
Anthony Davis F 6-10 220 FR
Marquis Teague G 6-2 189 FR
Kyle Wiltjer F 6-9 235 FR
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist F 6-7 232 FR
Of course there were reports that Knight may not have committed to the Wildcats if Wall didn’t leave early to go to the NBA Draft and you never know if Calipari would be able to get all of the players to commit if there wasn’t that possibility of going to the NBA Draft after one season, but just think about what this team could have done.
You would have a starting lineup of:
John Wall G
Brandon Knight G
Terrence Jones F
DeMarcus Cousins F
Anthony Davis F
That would leave Kentucky with a second team of:
Darius Miller G
Eric Bledsoe G
Doron Lamb G
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist F
Daniel Orton F
What team in the country is going to compete with that team, let alone beat it?
While I know Calipari’s mindset is to get players into the NBA, even he wouldn’t be able to deny how good this team could be. And he might just win a national title anyway.
But in the back of everyone’s mind, the question of “what if” will always remain.
Think this isn’t one of the best teams of all-time? Leave a comment and let us know.