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13 > Image 13 of Basketball, 1996

Part of University of Kentucky Basketball Media Guides (Men)

1995 - 99 Outlook Oliver Simmons has the ability to provide quality minutes off the bench. The 6-8 low post player is, according to Pitino, one of the most fundamentally sound ballplayers he's seen coming out of high school. If Simmons can learn the system and obtain the maturity to perform against top-quality competition, then Prickett will be red-shirted. But that decision won't be made until November. L'Wl'.l.lihhihiMil afi,in 250-pound bruiser from Chicago, may see minutes this season. The big center must first get in better shape to play 94 feet. But he could provide valuable minutes in a reserve role in the paint. rimuiiftHiffSTiTI a 6-5 walk-on from Greenwood High in Bowling Green, Ky., will have the opportunity to improve his game on UK's junior varsity squad. The Schedule The structure of the upcoming season can be likened to horse racing's Triple Crown. The first race, the early and very difficult non-conference schedule, will test the young-but-talented Cats. The second leg, the conference race, is always grueling with a tough Southeastern Conference. The finale is postseason play March Madness. "My greatest concern is the schedule," Pitino said. "I don't think the schedule favors the building of a strong basketball team early in the season. We have a lot of young players who will probably wind up getting a lot of significant minutes." Kentucky tips-off the season appropriately on national television in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic. The Wildcats will face Atlantic Coast Conference-power Maryland in Springfield, Mass., on Nov. 24, and while the Terrapins welcome back four of their five starters from a year ago, they'll be missing the NBA's top draft pick, Joe Smith, who averaged 20.1 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. The Cats then travel to Auburn Hills, Mich., four days later to face Massachusetts in the Great Eight. Following a road trip to Indianapolis to face Bobby Knight's Hoosiers on Dec. 2, the Cats will open up at Rupp Arena on Dec. 6 against Wisconsin-Green Bay. But still, there's no rest for the weary Georgia Tech, Morehead State,