[Moderated by Matt Jones]
Just when we’re all excited about the NBA draft, Bleacher Report has to crash our party and examine the “red flags” for Kentucky basketball next season. That’s cool, we need to stay humble. Let’s take a look:
Depth- Yeah, we’re used to this. Cal goes six or seven deep. Our rotation next year will consist of Kyle Wiltjer, Alex Poythress, Archie Goodwin, Ryan Harrow, Willie Cauley-Stein, Julius Mays, and oh yeah, that Nerlens Noel kid. BR notes that Harrow is the only “true” point guard of the group, but I feel pretty certain that Goodwin could easily step in. Plus, Tony Trocha is still on the loose to add to our front court. If all else fails, I have a feeling this is Jarrod Polson’s year.
Pressure- Oh, you’re worried about Kentucky living up to the hype we face every single year? I’m sure Calipari and his squad will just fold. Next.
Perimeter Shooting- Losing Lamb and his outside shot will change the Cats, no doubt. However, Kyle Wilther has been getting a ton of reps in the off-season and has the skill to step up and fill that roll. The Cats will probably look to focus on driving to the basket early in the season, and wait for Goodwin, Harrow, and Poythress to develop their shot as the season progresses.
Leadership- With no go-to senior to be a leader on and off the floor, youth and immaturity are concerning to the talking heads. Not to me. KSR has dubbed Alex Poythress the early favorite for a MKG-like leadership position, and I wrote a post last month about Julius Mays’ extensive experience could help him become the rare transfer leader. Also, leaders aren’t always crowned at the beginning of the season. It takes time for the players to develop a natural rhythm and chemistry that translates from the locker room to the court. Breakfast Clubs aren’t built in a day. This issue will sort itself out.
In summary, I think perimeter shooting is our biggest potential weakness when it comes to defending our title. Calipari’s coaching style doesn’t call for going deep into his bench, so that’s a non-issue. Pressure and leadership are mental matters that resolve with time. And hey, with the addition of these extra summer practices, that’s plenty of time to work on outside shooting and get a head start on all the bonding and brotherhood that we loved seeing on last year’s team. Color me unconcerned about these so-called “red flags.”
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