I watched Anthony in July at the LeBron James camp and was blown away by how intelligently he played against bigger, stronger, older players -- including Jared Sullinger and Thomas Robinson. It's amazing that after growing so fast into a big man's body that he developed such an incredible understanding of how to use it. When projecting All-Americans, especially those whose experience is limited, the most difficult aspect is to assess what opportunity there might be for the player to excel. I've little doubt Anthony is UK's most talented player, but Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb are so good, also, that it wouldn't surprise me at all if either supplanted Anthony as UK's first-teamer.
2. Any worries about putting a freshman on the preseason AA team?
I don't worry about that at all. It's not a lifetime achievement award. It's a projection. Last year, we merely projected the wrong freshman; we had Harrison Barnes on our first team and Jared Sullinger on the second. This time, it could be Brad Beal or Austin Rivers who is the dominant freshman. I thought the controversy that developed about Barnes making the AP's preseason team last year was ludicrous, and I still think it hurt his season.
3. Did you consider any of UK's other freshmen for that honor and what made Davis different maybe than a Wall, Knight, Cousins, Jones from past years?
I flat blew it with Wall. I knew he was great. But given the Calipari connection, I thought he might elevate Patrick Patterson in the way that Derrick Rose had helped Chris Douglas-Roberts to shine at Memphis. In turned out that Cousins was so good that he became the beneficiary of Wall's excellence, and Wall was so good you couldn't keep him off the first team. The difference between Wall and Rose was personality; Derrick has always been a bit shy and had to fight it; John was a born star.
4. Will Davis be the best player in the SEC?
He'll be the most talented. As I said, best is a question of opportunity. Will Kentucky need him to be the best player? I still don't know that. I'm still not sure how UK deploys him. Who defends the opposing center? Davis, who'll be too light in some instances? Jones, who probably doesn't want to spend his whole year wrestling for the spot on the block? And where does each fit into the offense? Until we see them on the floor, it's tough to say. But I know Davis will make UK better.
6. Two years ago you told me UK had the most talented team in the nation in September, and you were right. How do you rate UK's talent going into this season.
UK might have more talent than North Carolina; it's close. Kentucky fans will point to the fact that Mike Kidd-Gilchrist probably won't be a starter; Carolina can make the same case with James Michael McAdoo..
The difference is that Carolina doesn't have position questions. We know who the center, power forward, small forward and point guard are going to be, and the Heels have plenty of options at shooting guard. You could probably take a pretty good guess at the Wildcats' starting five, but you might not know how they'll be configured. To me, that's a bigger challenge than keeping everyone happy. Calipari is great at getting his players to invest in their team.