So will Crawford, Bradley and Morris be better next year and ready to lead the Cats to the elite status everyone expected when UK's own "Fab Four" signed two years ago. "You certainly hope they will be better in all areas because that is what experience is," UK assistant coach Dave Hobbs said. "Experience is like coaching. The more experience you have, the more apt you are to deal with adversity and bumps in the road better.
"We tell guys all the time if you lose a game, there is nothing you can do about it. But if you don't learn a lesson from what happened in that game, then you have lost again. If you go through a career and have encountered certain things and you are not smart enough or resilient enough to take advantage of that experience so doesn't happen again, you've wasted your time. All these guys have been in big games. They have all been an integral part of our team. Our expectation would be that all of them would improve and progress along the way we want for next year."
The players certainly had plenty of losses to learn from last year when UK dropped 13 games and won just one NCAA Tournament game. Or was too much expected from this group?
"Sometimes that is the way society is. We are a now generation. Information gets out there and somebody builds a reputation based on what people are saying. That is very difficult to live up to. That happens in college basketball, college football and professional sports, all the time. So much information is out there and so much is being said that it is difficult to live up to all that is being said," Hobbs said.
Hobbs says not only is this a crucial offseason for Morris, Crawford and Bradley, but it is also crucial for the UK program. "It is crucial for us as a basketball program, but it is also crucial for them as individual players as they embark along their paths. They have aspirations of playing at another level, but they have things they need to work on to progress to that level," he said. "All we can do is put them in an environment to get it done. We can't do the work for them. They have to supply that. It takes time to develop and when there are a lot of other things you can be doing, not every guy puts in enough time. You have to realize the importance of the offseason and put enough importance on that to get in there and do what you have to do to fix your problems. I think they'll do that, but we won't know until next season."