We know everyone is hurting out there, but rather than dwell on the brutal finale to an amazing run, it's better to focus on the future.
The number one question on every Kentucky fan's mind today is who is coming back for next year and who is heading elsewhere. The following are our thoughts on who stays and who goes.
First off, the John Calipari to the LA Lakers rumor is just hot air for now. We see no reason Calipari would want to give up his cush position for the stress of an NBA franchise and the big egos (Kobe Bryant) that come with it. Especially if he has to move his family to California and give up more than 50% of his income to taxation. As a 55-year-old coach, it doesn't make a lot of sense. But we will stay tuned to the situation.
As for the players, let's just get to the point. James Young and Julius Randle are gone 100%.
Willie Cauley-Stein is 99% gone. We think Willie wants to come back, but next year's team will be post-loaded and, after the injury scare in the tourney, he would be best suited to leave now, while his draft stock remains in lottery territory.
After an overall solid NCAA tourney, the Harrison twins are now 50-50 to stay. The fact is, they will probably decide what they decide together. So if they stay, it will be both of them.
Alex Poythress and Dakari Johnson are both coming back. Johnson has the chance to mature into a lottery pick, and Poythress is a 4.0 student who could perhaps graduate next year as a junior. Don't think it makes sense for him to test the waters now. Besides, next year's class is light on wing players and Poythress looks to get a lot of minutes at the 3 position.
Marcus Lee is probably coming back, too. It sounds funny to even contemplate it after a year where he saw so little action. But Lee's talents were on full display in this year's tourney and there is no doubt he has a high ceiling. But frankly, we think he is bought into the Calipari system and understands that another year gives him a chance to put up double-double type numbers and be a certified lottery pick by year's end. Not to mention compete for a national title.
Despite the many criticisms we've made about them, the Big Blue Lowdown sincerely hope the twins come back next season. If they do, Kentucky will have a "legitimate" preseason No. 1. Not a fantasy number 1 like they had before this year.
Here is our projected roster if the Cats get somehow get Lee/Johnson/Poythress/Twins back. Regardless of what the twins do, UK will probably need a transfer to add depth on the wing. Ballhandling and free-throw shooting proved to be a big problem vs. UConn.
1. Andrew Harrison/Tyler Ullis/Dominique Hawkins
2. Aaron Harrison/Devin Booker
3. Alex Poythress/Derek Willis/Transfer
4. Marcus Lee/Trey Lyles
5. Dakari Johnson/Karl Towns
Bring on 2014-15!go back