Mark Story: The UK basketball player I'm most anxious to see in 2014-15

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistJuly 3, 2014 

Kentucky forward Marcus Lee stared down at Michigan guard Derrick Walton Jr. after blocking his shot during the NCAA Regional Final on March 30. UK won 75-72 to advance to the Final Four, and Lee, playing in place of Willie Cauley-Stein, had one of the best games of his freshman season.


Truths I hold to be self-evident:

21. Marcus Lee. Is the Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball player I'm most curious to see in 2014-15. Will the aerial show the 6-foot-9 sophomore-to-be put on against Michigan in the NCAA Tournament round of eight last season become an every-game occurrence?

20. Terry Rozier. Is the Louisville Cardinals men's basketball player I'm most curious to see in 2014-15. With Russ Smith and Luke Hancock gone, will the sophomore-to-be guard fill a starring role?

19. Ryan Timmons. Is the Kentucky Wildcats football player I'm most curious to see in 2014. With a year in a college strength program, can the ex-Franklin County star become UK's go-to wide receiver?

18. Will Gardner. Is the Louisville Cardinals football player I'm most curious to see in 2014. With Teddy Bridgewater gone, it will be fascinating to see what Bobby Petrino gets from the 6-foot-5, 226-pound redshirt sophomore quarterback from Douglas, Ga.

17. Alyssa Rice. Is the Kentucky Wildcats women's basketball player I'm most curious to see in 2014-15. With the Cats having graduated both their starting post players, the 6-3 freshman, a McDonald's All-American from Reynoldsburg, Ohio, could be UK's key.

16 Mariya Moore. Is the Louisville Cardinals women's basketball player I'm most curious to see. Also a McDonald's All-American, the 6-foot guard from Richmond, Calif., will help Jeff Walz try to replace Shoni Schimmel.

15. Kentucky's 2014-15 men's hoops non-conference schedule. Those three straight December Saturdays against North Carolina (Dec. 13), UCLA (Dec. 20) and Louisville (Dec. 27) are going to rock and roll.

14. Thumbs up to UK. I like that Kentucky is giving different in-state schools a chance to play on the big stage that is Rupp Arena. Pikeville and Georgetown are exhibition opponents. On Dec. 7, Eastern Kentucky will face the Cats in a game that counts.

13. Julius Randle. The Lakers will be very happy they chose the burly ex-UK power forward No. 7 overall in last week's NBA Draft.

12. James Young. Needing scoring from the wing, the Celtics tabbed the ex-UK small forward at No. 17. The 6-foot-6 Young will have to improve as a defender and ballhandler to succeed in the league.

11. Russ Smith. After going in the second round (47th pick), the ex-Louisville star will have to make the New Orleans Pelicans without a guaranteed contract. Says here Smith will ultimately succeed in the NBA as an "instant offense guy."

10. 2015 NBA mock draft I. At, they have: 4. Karl Towns; 9. Willie Cauley-Stein; 10. Montrezl Harrell; 19. Dakari Johnson; 25. Aaron Harrison; 28. Andrew Harrison; 42. Alex Poythress.

9. 2015 NBA mock draft II. At, they have: 5. Karl Towns; 12. Marcus Lee; 16. Willie Cauley-Stein; 18. Montrezl Harrell; 26. Alex Poythress; 30. Andrew Harrison; 34. Dakari Johnson; 40. Aaron Harrison.

8. Louisville to the ACC. The new league is a boon for U of L, but will also be a major "step up in class."

7. ACC strong. In the 2013-14 Directors' Cup standings, there were five ACC schools, No. 3 Notre Dame; No. 4 Virginia; No. 9 Duke; No. 12 Florida State; No. 14 North Carolina, ahead of U of L (30th).

6. WKU moving, too. Western Kentucky also officially switched leagues July 1, going to Conference-USA from the Sun Belt.

5. Familiar faces. For Western fans, the best part of C-USA will be potential rivalries with Middle Tennessee State, Marshall, Southern Mississippi and UAB.

4. Alexander Montgomery. While leaping into the air in the end zone celebrating a touchdown catch against Alabama State last year, the UK wide receiver tore an ACL. He missed the rest of the season.

3. A.J. Ellis. The Los Angeles Dodgers catcher, a Paul Laurence Dunbar product, was running from the dugout to celebrate after Josh Beckett's no-hitter May 25th against the Phillies. Ellis stepped on a catching mask that Drew Butera had dropped near the mound and rolled his ankle. He wound up on the disabled list.

2. Brad Keselowski. In victory lane after winning Saturday's Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway, Keselowski cut his right hand on a bottle of champagne while celebrating. He had to get four stitches.

1. Most dangerous 'play' in sports. Increasingly, it is the celebration.

Mark Story: (859) 231-3230.Email: Twitter: @markcstory. Blog: Read more here:

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