Freshmen biggest upside for Cats

Former UK All-American Kenny Walker provides commentary on what he sees as being the biggest upside for the team, as well as the biggest downside, as the Wildcats prepare to take on the North Carolina Tar Heels.

At this point of the season, the thing I like most about this team would be the freshmen. There is no question about that. I think they all bring something to the table.

I think Derrick Jasper has shown the ability to come in and run the club. I thought at times he had a very calming impact on the team over in Maui. Perry Stevenson is a shot blocker and does a lot to impact the game on the defensive end. That's a big plus and is something we haven't had since Tayshaun Prince. Jodie Meeks is a miniature Kelenna Azubuike. Not as big, not as tall but a good athlete who does a lot of things well and has a good nose for the ball.

The biggest surprise to me is Michael Porter. He has brought some toughness to the club when he comes off the bench. And he can knock down the 3-point shot. The freshmen are all going to contribute in different ways. I think that is the biggest upside.

The biggest downside is that you have some of your veteran guys struggling offensively in terms of being consistent. Nobody has stepped forward to be the leader on the team, either. I am looking for someone that can do that. Bobby Perry, Ramel Bradley, Joe Crawford or Randolph Morris needs to do that. They have to be a little bit more vocal, or do it collectively as a team.

I am a little concerned about it because I think somebody should have stepped forward in that role by now. We heard so much about the junior class at least saying they want to live up to some of the expectations everyone had for them coming in to Kentucky. It is a little disappointing that one of those guys has not stepped up, but it is still early and maybe they can still do that. It might not be in their personality, but somebody has to do it because they need a leader on this team.

I think it is going to be tough at North Carolina Saturday. I think we are going to have trouble this year when we run into teams that have athletic bigs. With some of the players they have at North Carolina, it could be a problem because they have athletic guys and that concerns me.

Denny Crum used to have those 6-8, 6-9 guys that could run and jump. It seems like a lot of teams have that. Memphis had that. North Carolina has that. Our big guys need to play well at North Carolina, but that is a big if. But if they do, then the game could really be interesting.

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