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Only one NBA team has as many McDonald's All-Americans as Kentucky will next year

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger
Kentucky coach Calipari has right hip replaced
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FILe - In this Jan. 21, 2014 file photo, Kentucky head coach John Calipari, right, instructs Aaron Harrison (2) and Andrew Harrison (5) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Lexington, Ky. The Kentucky twin freshman guards will return for a second season to a stocked Wildcats squad coming off an NCAA championship appearance. (AP Photo/James Crisp, File)

Not long after Andrew and Aaron Harrison revealed on Friday afternoon that they were returning to Kentucky next season instead of entering the NBA draft, future teammate Karl Towns sent out a tweet that captured the moment perfectly.

Kentucky will certainly be a popcorn-worthy attraction during the 2014-15 season considering the obscenely deep and talented roster John Calipari will have. With six would-be NBA draft picks expected back from last year's national runner-ups and four highly touted recruits set to join them, the Wildcats are nearly certain to once again be hailed as the nation's preseason No. 1 team.  

To put in perspective how loaded Kentucky's roster is, consider that the Wildcats will boast nine McDonald's All-Americans assuming nobody transfers or reconsiders their decision not to turn pro prior to Sunday's NBA early entry deadline.

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No NBA franchise finished the regular season with more than nine McDonald's All-Americans on its roster and the Charlotte Bobcats are the only one that even had nine. The average NBA team had 4.9 former McDonald's All-Americans on its roster and several had as few as one or two.

Remarkably, Kentucky isn't the only college team to assemble such a ridiculously stacked assortment of talent.

North Carolina had nine McDonald's All-Americans in 1984, though one of those nine, sophomore Curtis Hunter, missed the entire season with a knee injury. Michael Jordan and fellow future NBA standouts Sam Perkins, Brad Daugherty and Kenny Smith led the Tar Heels to a 28-3 record and an undefeated mark in ACC play, but they lost to fourth-seeded Indiana in the East Regional semifinals.

In an odd twist, Kentucky likely won't even be the only college team this season with nine McDonald's All-Americans. Even with the early entry departures of Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood, Duke should have nine as well: Senior Quinn Cook, juniors Marshall Plumlee, Rasheed Suliamon and Amile Jefferson, sophomore Matt Jones and freshmen Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones, Justise Winslow and Grayson Allen.

The challenge for Kentucky's coaching staff will be finding enough playing time to satisfy 10 NBA prospects. The Wildcats are better equipped to absorb an injury or two than any team in the nation will be, but they're also more susceptible to the chemistry issues that can arise when highly recruited prospects have to settle into the unfamiliar position of coming off the bench.

The return of the Harrison twins means Calipari could go with a three-guard starting lineup with freshman Tyler Ulis at point guard and both Andrew and Aaron playing off ball. Calipari could also keep Andrew at point guard, move Ulis to the bench and play either freshman Devin Booker or 6-foot-7 junior Alex Poythress at the other wing opposite Aaron.

The conundrum becomes even more difficult when Calipari has to figure out how to dole out minutes to a frontcourt that includes 7-footers Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein, Dakari Johnson, skilled 6-10 freshman Trey Lyles and breakout candidate Marcus Lee. Kentucky will surely dominate teams on the glass with its unparallelled size and length, but whoever turns out to be the fifth big man among that group is likely to receive only scant minutes.

Regardless, these are problems that almost any college coach in the nation would love to have. 

This past season, Kentucky endured a disappointing regular season only to redeem itself with a memorable NCAA tournament push that fell one win shy of a national title. Now the Wildcats are back with an even deeper, more loaded roster that is fully capable of taking care of the unfinished business from the previous season.   

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Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at daggerblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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