Who Looks Better on Paper? Mark Krebs' answer to the most asked question.

09/07/2011 01:59 PM

Obviously, it’s tough to compare the excitement of the 2009-2010 season with something that hasn’t happened yet. Nonetheless, when it comes to sports, especially Kentucky basketball, that doesn’t stop too many people.

I must get asked 20 times a day, “Who do you think is better? This year’s team or Calipari’s first team at Kentucky?”

This question is based on potential and expectations. Believe me, no one has forgotten the amazing run last year to the Final Four. Understandably, the hype wasn’t there like it was for the 2009-2010 season and also like it is for this year’s Cats. The question of which team is better gets brought up so much I just wanted to get a post out there about what I believe are the key differences in the two teams.

First of all, it should be noted that these teams are vastly different and are incomparable. But here are the three categories where I find the most distinction.

Veterans—- There is no question the 2009-2010 team had more than adequate veteran leadership. Patterson, Harris, Stevenson, and myself did a great job of leading a group of insanely talented freshman and superstars. However, we were in the same boat as a lot of the freshman. All of us were learning Coach Cal’s system for the first time together. The Dribble-Drive wasn’t easy to grasp and took some time to learn, which sort of inhibited the veterans from truly showing leadership.

This year’s team has a number of players that have gone through the system. It’s old hat to them. A guy like Darius Miller has had two years of learning and can now teach the new guys. The fact that Jones, Lamb, and Miller (to name a few) can be there with true experience under Calipari is important. Let’s also not forget they’ve got Final Four experience. That tends to go a long way.

Size—- The key difference between this year’s team and the previous two years under Coach Cal is the lack of a true big man. Eloy Vargas is the closest thing to a Center at Kentucky, and he has the build of a Power Forward at best. Demarcus Cousins and Daniel Orton in year one and Jorts last year had the strength to not only post up on offense as a big man but also guard the other team’s big as well.

However, this so-called “problem” or “lack of size” could easily play into Coach Cal’s favor. With the unbelievably fast and athletic line-ups at his disposal, the Dribble-Drive could be used quite possibly at its finest. It’s definitely going to be interesting to watch… besides, who’s to say Anthony Davis can’t bang with the big fellas and block shots above the rim?

Shooters—- Another thing people always say, “What if Jodie Meeks would have stayed with the 2009-2010 team?”

Well the answer is simple. Kentucky would probably have its 8th National Championship. The biggest knock on Cal’s first team… there weren’t enough consistent shooters. The fear became realized in the Elite 8 game against West Virginia (still makes me sick).

I’m pretty sure shooting will be a strong suit for the Cats this season. Lamb and Miller are proven threats and all signs point to the freshman being dynamite from beyond the arc. If Cal’s squad is the most athletic fast-paced team and can fill it up from deep… how do you guard them? How do you come up with a game plan?

The 2011-2012 Cats are going to be hunting down a National Championship… no question. They have veterans who’ve been in the big games; they have athletes/shooters/length on defense; and even their weak spot could end up a strength. I’m not taking anything away from my senior season or last year’s Final Four run, but this year definitely has the makings for excitement and above all, Championships!!!

About Mark Krebs

Mark Krebs graduated cum laude from the University of Kentucky in 2010 with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Management and was a three-year letterman in basketball. He proved himself to three different coaches (Smith, Gillispie, and Calipari) in his four years with the Cats and eventually earned a scholarship after three years of being a walk-on. Mark is currently splitting time between his book tour for Beyond a Dream and starring as part-time co-host on KSTV.


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