UK BASKETBALL | Calipari: "Blessing, not a burden" to be ranked #1

11/10/2015 05:20 PM

LEXINGTON — A lot of teams would be feeling some serious pressure after receiving a No. 1 ranking in the preseason polls.

But John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats aren’t just any other team.

The preseason coaches poll tied UK at No. 1 with North Carolina, and the AP top-25 slated the Wildcats at No. 2 behind only the Tar Heels.

During a Wednesday teleconference for the 2015 Hoophall Miami Invitational, Calipari labeled the preseason expectations a “blessing, not a burden” for Kentucky and its players.

  • “You can look at it as a blessing or a burden,” Calipari said, “and I think it’s a blessing that people have that kind of respect for our players and program.
  • “[Our players] hear, ‘Hey, they have one of the best backcourts in the country. They have one of the best frontcourts in the country,’ and they take that as a blessing, not a burden.”

Kentucky will roll out a completely different roster in 2015-16 than the one it rode during its historic 38-1 run to the Final Four last season, but Calipari joked the Wildcats still return enough veteran players this year to be considered an “old team” in Lexington.

  • “We lose 90% of everything,” Calipari said. “We lose seven players to the NBA, but we have a junior, a senior, and a sophomore returning, along with two other juniors in [Dominique Hawkins] and [Derek Willis]. We’re, like, ‘old’ for us.”

Calipari and his roster of old men tip off the 2015-16 regular season on Friday at 7:00 p.m. ET at home against Albany.

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