Kennedy’s Korner – August 16

Written by Eric Howard, Statewide Manager, Kennedy's Fan Shop
Written by Eric Howard, Statewide Manager, Kennedy’s Fan Shop

Cats, Cards, and Racers Finish Strong in Capital One Cup Standings

The commonwealth’s Division 1 institutions were well represented in the final Capital One Cup standings for the 2014-15 athletic seasons. The Capital One Cup ranks the top Division 1 athletic programs in the country.

The University of Kentucky led the way among bluegrass universities with a 15th place finish for the women’s program and 22nd place finish for the men. The University of Louisville men’s and women’s programs followed with a 61st and 49th place finish, respectively.

The Racers’ men and women also placed well among the other 346 Division I programs. The Murray State men’s program finished with a ranking of 101st while the women finished at No. 84. Jacksonville State was the only OVC program to finish higher than the Racers.

Cal’s Cats 7.0: The International Edition

The past six seasons of Kentucky basketball under Coach John Calipari have been packed with memorable moments. With essentially a new roster every year, each team under Calipari has been unique and made its own mark on the history of Kentucky basketball.

In 2010, the story was UK’s return to national prominence brought about by Coach Calipari, DeMarcus Cousins, and John Wall. The 2011 squad was highlighted by the emergence of Josh ‘Jorts’ Harrelson, the poise of Brandon Knight, and the Wildcats’ first Final Four appearance since 1998.

The 2011-12 season featured the dominance of Anthony Davis (and his unibrow) and the Wildcats’ eighth national title. The following year brought the lone disappointing season in the Calipari era highlighted by the torn ACL of Nerlens Noel and an appearance in the NIT.

The 2014 squad brought the heralded freshmen class of Julius Randle, James Young, the Harrison twins, Dakari Johnson, and Marcus Lee. While the results in the regular season were disappointing, the unanticipated run to the national finals was one of the most exciting NCAA tournaments in the history of the program. And finally, the record-setting dominance of the 2015 squad that finished at 38-1 and had seven players enter the NBA draft.

The 2015-16 Kentucky squad, much like the six predecessors, will be loaded with new talent and faced with high expectations. This new batch of Wildcats, however, will be very unique in one aspect. This year’s Wildcat team will have the most international roster in the one hundred-plus years of Kentucky basketball. The Wildcats could possibly feature a 10-man rotation with an equal mix of international and American players.

By January, Calipari expects to have as many as five foreign players in Lexington including players from Haiti, Canada (2), New Zealand, and Australia. Skal Labisierre (Haiti) and Mychal Mulder (Canada) are already on UK’s campus preparing for the upcoming season. Canadian Jamal Murray is expected to arrive in August. Australian Isaac Humphries is expected to join the Wildcats this fall once he completes his coursework to reclassify to the class of 2015. The final piece is Tai Wynyard of New Zealand, who is expected to join the Wildcats in January.

Calipari is proven at molding top talent into a cohesive unit; this season we’ll see if he can do it on an international level.

Eric Howard is a native of Calvert City and a Murray State graduate. He lives in Lexington with his wife, Angie, and daughter, Lily. Eric is the statewide manager of Kennedy’s Fan Shop and can be reached at