By Gary Parrish
You think John Calipari is relying on freshmen more than everybody in the country?
He's not even relying on freshmen more than everybody in Kentucky.
"We're the least experienced team in the [Sun Belt] and we lost the most production, but I love going to work each day," Western Kentucky coach Ken McDonald told CBSSports.com by phone. "There's no resistance. Just positive energy. It's pretty cool to be around. So I'm optimistic. But they are just freshmen."
McDonald started three freshmen and played a total of six -- plus one JUCO transfer -- in the Hilltoppers' 73-61 exhibition win over Xavier (La.). The lone senior on the roster (Kahlil McDonald) got 11 points in 13 minutes. But it was the newcomers who stood out -- specifically Derrick Gordon, a 6-foot-3 guard who played high school basketball at St. Patrick's in New Jersey alongside UK freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Gordon had a team-high 17 points in the exhibition. He was one of three freshmen to reach double-figures for Western Kentucky. The others were T.J. Price (12 points) and Nigel Snipes (11 points).
Western Kentucky opens Friday with Saint Joseph's.
Expect the freshmen to get a lot of run.
"We are going to throw these guys into the fire," McDonald said. "Everyone knows it."