Posted: 7:49 a.m. Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Kentucky’s loss to Robert Morris ends an unpleasant season, which may come as a relief to John Calipari,who has not been happy with his team’s play. You may recall at one point he told Archie Goodwin that he wasn’t sure he could coach him. After ast night’s game, Calipari reportedly was non-commital about the return of former State guard Ryan Harrow, which brings up an interesting point: although Kentucky’s Web site doesn’t identify walk-ons, at the moment, they are committed to 17 players for next season.
For the sake of argument, let’s assume that Nerlens Noel takes advantage of a very weak draft and leaves despite his knee injury. Let’s also assume that Sam Malone, Tod Lanter and Brian Long are GPA vitamins and walk-ons. That’s down to 14.
As you know, Kentucky’s recent success is built around the idea of getting really good players, but briefly: freshmen are more or less expected to leave and make room for the next class.
After the Robert Morris game, Goodwin said that “[i]f any of us were saying we think we should leave, then we’d all be delusional. None of us need to leave. I just feel that’s going to help us in the long run because next year we have a strong group coming in and we’re going to continue to get better.”
Well, perhaps. First, though, Calipari will have to sort through his commitments and get down to 13 – easier if Noel leaves, obviously, but one or two guys have to go, one way or another.
And even after two guys get kicked off the island (or one, depending on the final numbers) or “encouraged” to apply for the draft (we can’t remember whose mom it was, but a couple of years ago someone’s mom was very upset that, she said, the basketball office announced her son’s departure for the NBA without discussing it with him first), there is still the potential problem of too many players for the minutes available.
Who starts? Who sits? You’ve got four very talented guards at around 6-4 to 6-6, but the Harrisons are essentially a set and will expect to play together. So what happens to Goodwin and James Young?
Will Marcus Lee take Alex Poythress’ minutes? Where does Kyle Wiltjer go?
As problems go, too much talent is not necessarily a bad one, but it can become one. This year’s kids weren’t happy even with a lot of minutes. What happens when six talented kids show up to compete?
One thing seems likely: given the logjam at his position, if he wants clear minutes, Julius Randle will pick a different school later Wednesday, particularly since Andrew Wiggins has not made his decision yet either.