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It's way too early to look ahead for Kentucky freshmen

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It's way too early to look ahead for Kentucky freshmen

Post  BestdamnUKfanperiod on Sun Apr 03, 2011 6:22 pm

It's way too early to look ahead for Kentucky freshmen

HOUSTON — University of Kentucky freshmen Terrence Jones, Brandon Knight and Doron Lamb would make a solid nucleus next season if they all return.

After falling to Connecticut 56-55 Saturday night before a record crowd of 75,421 in Reliant Stadium, no one was thinking about next season — or at least they weren't talking about it.

Jones, who had 11 points and 15 rebounds, bristled when asked if he just played his last game for the Wildcats.

“I don't know. It's the last game this season,” he said. “… This is the last time this group will be together.”

Knight and Lamb had similar reactions, to the point that Knight abruptly shut down that line of questioning. Jones added that he wasn't “worried about that NBA stuff.”

Should they all return instead of declaring for the NBA draft, the Cats probably will be ranked in the preseason top five. Josh Harrellson is the lone senior on the roster.

UK would enhance its foundation with the nation's top-ranked recruiting class, but Knight shrugged off the possibilities of next season while still stinging from the end of this one.

“We'll have to rebuild with a new group of guys,” he said. “It'd be the same as this year. We'd have to build chemistry.”

They could build off this experience. UConn junior guard Kemba Walker credited making the 2009 Final Four for helping him prepare for this one.

UK coach John Calipari admitted the pressure of the game caused Knight some stress. The freshman never found a shooting rhythm and missed five straight shots during the game's decisive stretch. He finished just 6 of 23 from the floor.

“I kept saying, ‘It's just another game,' ” Calipari said. “I could say that all I want, but there's some anxiety that goes along with this game that may have gotten to him a little bit, because I can't remember one or two games where the last three minutes he wasn't at his best.”

Despite his shooting woes, Knight led the team with 17 points and tied his season best with eight rebounds. Lamb chipped in 13 points from the bench as the freshman trio combined for all but 14 of the Wildcats' points.

Should it be their only year at UK, the three all expressed a fondness for the journey that ended in Houston.

“I'm never going to forget this team,” Lamb said. “We fought hard from the beginning. Everybody doubted us — that we wouldn't be better than last year or good this year because we're young — but as you guys can see, we did great with that.”
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