Cal: ‘Old’ UK likely to start three freshmen

Kentucky will be relatively old this coming season. But the team will again be the Kiddie Cats, UK Coach John Calipari said Tuesday.

Speaking on a teleconference promotion for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Classic, Calipari noted how Kentucky would have a senior (Alex Poythress), junior (Marcus Lee) and a sophomore (Tyler Ulis) in its rotation.

“We’re, like, old for us,” he said. “That’s, like, an old team.”

Yet Kentucky will be dependent on freshmen, which has made the program synonymous with so-called one-and-done players in Calipari’s six previous seasons as coach.

“Good chance we’ll start three freshmen,” Calipari said, “which is typical for us.”

The three are likely Skal Labissiere, Jamal Murray and Isaiah Briscoe.

“We’re not 10 deep/two platoons,” Calipari said. “We’ll probably play six, seven or eight depending on who deserves it. And we’ll go from there.”

Calipari sounded upbeat as he described Kentucky’s progress this pre-season.

“I like our guards,” he said before adding, “Our big guys are catching up.”

Of Poythress, who is returning from a torn anterior cruciate ligament, Calipari said, “Alex is becoming more and more healthy each time we step on the court.”

Lee is establishing his role. Labissiere is showing more fight.

“We’re going to be fine,” Calipari said. “We’re still trying to figure out who we are. That’s going to be the challenge in all this.”