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Kentucky loses Parker for season with torn ACL

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Parker's injury damaging to Kentucky

SPECIAL TO ESPN.COM

June 26
Kentucky really suffered some tough luck earlier this week.

The Wildcats, who were happy to have Keith Bogans and Tayshaun Prince withdraw from the NBA draft to return to school, lost big man Jason Parker to an ACL injury.

The absence of Parker is a damaging blow. He provided a physical presence in the low post that allowed freedom for Bogans and Prince on the perimeter and the wings.

Will Parker return from the injury? That is the big question. He could be lost for the entire season, though Kentucky is hoping and praying that he can recover and rehab within 4-6 months, returning for the conference schedule in January.

The loss of Parker affects my preseason rankings. Here is my revamped super seven:

1. Duke -- With the best backcourt in the nation in Jason Williams and Chris Duhon, Coach K has a great shot to repeat as national champion. Mike Dunleavy, Carlos Boozer and transfer Dahntay Jones are also in the mix as the Blue Devils are extremely talented.

2. Maryland -- The Terps return a solid nucleus, with a super inside-outside duo of Lonny Baxter and Juan Dixon. Baxter is one of the most powerful inside players around, while Dixon is deadly on the perimeter. Steve Blake is an outstanding ball-handler. Gary Williams will get more from Tahj Holden and Chris Wilcox. It should be a special season in the final year of Cole Field House.

3. Florida -- The Gators must have Teddy Dupay return, and I'm hearing he will most likely play next season. The potential tandem of Dupay and Brett Nelson forms a dynamic duo. Remember, Florida has power inside with the SEC's premier post player in Udonis Haslem. Billy Donovan has a lot of help coming in diaper dandies David Lee and James White.

4. Illinois -- With the dynamite duo of Frank Williams and Cory Bradford, coach Bill Self's club should have a big year. That's especially true if Robert Archibald can provide scoring on the interior. Illinois needs 6-foot-11 Brian Cook to give it consistency.

5. Kentucky -- Despite the injury to Parker, the Wildcats have the exciting 1-2 punch in Prince and Keith Bogans. Kentucky was very young last season, and the year of experience will help. The Wildcats are still a very deep squad.

6. UCLA -- With Jason Kapono's shooting ability and the inside play of Dan Gadzuric, Steve Lavin's club should be strong. The addition of transfer Spencer Gloger will also help.

7. Kansas -- Roy Williams has an experienced nucleus as Drew Gooden and Nick Collison return up front. The backcourt of Jeff Boschee and Kirk Hinrich will be ready to perform.

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