The first half of the season has gone by and Calipari did it with only about six players actually playing major minutes. But now conference play is coming and even though the SEC is a bit down, you still have two games a week almost every week. The system cannot work forever because of A) teams are going to get you into foul trouble(Example North Carolina and Georgia) and B) the team could become run down and there is always the possibilities of injuries. So the six are Knight, Jones, Miller, Liggins, Harrellson, and Lamb. Who will be the Seventh?
Coming into the season I expected, much like the fan base, that Eloy Vargas would be the starting center with Kanter not being able to play. He is a junior college transfer but coming out of high school he was ranked 26th nationally by scout.com and was 9th at his position. He spent his first year at Florida and then transferred to Miami Dade College where he played in 25 games and was 47% from the field. He also averaged 14 rebounds, 2 steals, 3.4 blocks, with only 2 turnovers per game. His efforts earned him Conference Player of the Year. He looked like he could be better than Harrellson but so far I thought wrong.
Now I understand that the competition at the JUCO level is different that the top division I schools that Kentucky plays. But I thought Vargas would do better than what he has shown so far. He is only in for about 11 minutes per game and lately it has been less. Against Louisville he came in to give Harrellson a breather and had two very easy shots and he could not finish and one was blocked. He looks like he is a bit weaker than the competition. Eloy’s not awful from the field shown by his 46%fg but is only getting 2.9 rebounds a game and only 2.9 points per game. His productivity must go up because Eloy is the only replacement for Josh. No one else has their size. His defense does show signs of improvement with 14 blocks and 4 steals, using all of his 6-11 frame and 250 pounds.
The potential is there. Its now up to Calipari to develop it. He even admitted after the UL game that he sometimes just focuses on the best players. But the depth is going to help take the load and pressure of the team come tournament time. Josh has gotten into foul trouble before, and the only player on the bench that can do what Harrellson can is Vargas. It is now his time to step up and be the seventh man