With just one starter back from last year's Elite Eight team and
only three players with more than one year of experience, coach
Tubby Smith is hoping a touch of wizardry will bolster him for
the coming season. "John Wooden said he'd rather have a lot of
talent and a little experience than a lot of experience and a
little talent," Smith says.
Make no mistake: This team has a lot of talent. Inside there is
6'10" senior Jamaal Magloire, who declared for the NBA draft
before changing his mind and returning to Lexington. Surrounding
him are promising sophomores Desmond Allison, Jules Camara and
Tayshaun Prince. The 6'9" Prince, in particular, seems bound for
stardom. He is a much better long-range gunner than his 28.7%
three-point shooting a year ago would indicate. He still has a
bad taste in his mouth from last season, not from his erratic
shooting but from the protein shakes he has had to drink to add
bulk to his reed-thin frame. "The goal was to drink nine a day,"
says Prince, who at 215 pounds is 30 pounds heavier than he was
at this time last year. "They taste terrible."
To that talented nucleus, add two recruits who were McDonald's
All-Americans, 6'5" Keith Bogans and 6'10" Marvin Stone, and put
them all under the direction of Smith's son, Saul, a 6'2" junior
who has the unenviable task of replacing Wayne Turner at point
guard. (Saul has already been branded a beneficiary of nepotism
by some of Kentucky's notoriously fickle fans.)
Magloire, however, is this team's pivotman, in every sense of the
word. As such, he must learn to better keep his emotions in
check. Last season, for instance, at the end of the first half of
Kentucky's NCAA tournament win over Miami of Ohio, Magloire
plowed into the Redbirds' mascot on his way to the locker room.
"He stayed on the other side of the court the rest of the game,
flapping his wings," Magloire says proudly. "He didn't want no
more of that." Such bravado might better be reserved for
opponents who stand in the Wildcats' way this year.
POS. HT. CLASS KEY STAT
SF Tayshaun Prince 6'9" So. 5.8 ppg
PF Jules Camara 6'11" So. 3.2 rpg
C Jamaal Magloire 6'10" Sr. 1.9 bpg
SG Desmond Allison 6'5" So. 4.7 ppg
PG Saul Smith 6'2" Jr. 5.0 ppg
1998-99 record: 28-9 Final rank (coaches' poll): No. 5 (tie)