2005 Kentucky Wildcats Basketball Preview
2005 Kentucky Wildcats Team Preview
The University of Kentucky has a basketball pedigree most teams would die for-- seven NCAA Championships, a record 46 Tournament appearances, and more wins than any other team in basketball history. Last year they won the SEC and made it to the Elite Eight where they lost a tough one to Michigan State. Coach Tubby Smith is 219-58 in eight years at the Wildcats’ helm. In 1998 he led them to the NCAA title. But some are wondering if this will not be your typical Kentucky basketball season?
The Wildcats are without enforcer and master of the paint forward Chuck Hayes. For four years Hayes was a true team player who provided leadership and toughness. Although he scored only 10.9 PPG, he captured rebounds at the rate of 7.7 a contest. But the big question is how do you replace his take charge on-court persona? Junior college transfer Rekalin Sims may have the same tenacity and take-no-prisoners attitude, but that remains to be seen.
Kentucky’s offense garnered the lion’s share of it’s points each night from departed swingman Kelenna Azubuike. Azubuike, who hit for an average of 14.7 PPG, was a deadly shooter from the perimeter. Patrick Sparks may be the guard to go-to in this situation. He has as solid a 3-point shot as Azubuike but needs to bring up his total accuracy by a good 10-percentage points (a 25% percent improvement overall)!
Sophomore Rajon Rondo is Kentucky’s most explosive player. His quickness leaves opponent’s exhausted and his defensive abilities (he led the SEC in steals with 87) make him a viable threat against any team. Along with powerful starters. the backcourt also has depth, which always bodes well for a long season.
Kentucky is also deep and tall at the center position! Shagari Alleyne is 7’ 3”, Jared Carter is 7’ 2”, and Lukasz Obrzut is a puny 7’ 0”! They will anchor a defense that was first in the SEC and 35th in the country.
With talented and skilled starters and a deep bench the Kentucky Wildcats will certainly once again be in the fray; if they can find that dominant team leader they’ll be almost impossible to beat.
For more info on the 2005 Wildcats check out the official Kentucky athletic site.