When John Calipari signed on almost 6 years ago, Tigers fans dreamed of Final Fours and a National Championship. It hasn't been quite that easy. But this year they will definitely field the deepest team yet under Calipari, with all the pieces in place.
"It's nice when you have your quarterback in place. If you remember when Duane Wagner came and everyone said we were top 10 and I knew we weren't top 10, we had a change in point guard that year. That was Antonio Burks first year to try and play the position," Calipari explained.
The Tigers were a disappointment that season and didn't even make the tournament. But with C-USA freshman of the year Darius Washington back, the Tigers are a solid 12th in the country pre-season. But that's just where it begins. They have 9 new players, several with NBA potential. The plan is simple this year: run other teams in to the ground says freshman Shawne Williams.
"The talent level we have, we got 5 just like the starting 5, so we press, press, press, so a point guard breaks that press 2 or 3 times and he's gonna be exhausted but we can sub."
If the Tigers have a weakness this year, it's having a lot of young players. But that's where senior Rodney Carney comes in. He's the pre-season pick for CUSA player of the year.
"I know what all Coach Cal does what he's trying to run. Some freshman might not know why he's yelling at them, but I'll come by and tell them why and come by and comfort them, tell them to relax. Out there on the court, I really try to guide them."
"Nobody is athletic as Rodney, obviously, but everybody else can shoot the ball, dribble, pass and that's what coach wants and that's what we're all doing for the team to win, says Antonio Anderson.
Their first test is Tuesday night, the season opener, against the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee who made it to the sweet 16 last year.