How Kentucky's freshmen fit

Can arguably the best recruiting class in history carry the Wildcats to a title?

Updated: November 6, 2013, 1:03 PM ET
By Paul Biancardi | ESPN Insider

Randle/HarrisonUSA TODAY SportsConsistent production from Julius Randle and Andrew Harrison will be key for Kentucky in 2013-14.

If you're wondering just how talented the incoming freshman class of the Kentucky Wildcats is, consider this: The Wildcats are bringing in the No. 1 power forward, No. 1 point guard, No. 1 shooting guard, No. 2 center and No. 3 small forward in the ESPN 100.

Yes, there's a reason why this class is arguably the best of all time. But talent doesn't always equal success, as last season's Kentucky team could tell you. You need a head coach and a coaching staff who care about people, understand how to motivate and teach both basketball and life lessons. You need a coach who not only gives directions but also communicates by listening and demanding without being demeaning.

John Calipari embraces developing a team of freshmen who are of elite talent, and he does it as well as anyone. Coaches know how hard it is to count on one or two freshmen to be a factor on their team, but Calipari oftentimes has to do this with five or six new players. It helps that he has an experienced staff to get his team to progress and stay together.

One of the best and most important ways a talented group can fit together is for everyone to understand his role and play to the best of his ability.

"They wanted to play together, knowing it would make everyone's job easier instead of the ego, that 'I want to be the only guy' mentality," Calipari said.

How will this batch of Wildcats fit together with the team's returning veterans, and what role will each of them play? Let's take a look.

Paul Biancardi

Basketball Recruiting