The closer we get to Big Blue Madness and the basketball season, the more apparent it becomes that Kyle Wiltjer is going to be expected to carry a big role for the Kentucky Wildcats this year. There has been some speculation that John Calipari may go with a “twin towers” lineup of Nerlens Noel and Willie Cauley-Stein at times this year. The Sporting News Mike DeCourcy thinks that we will see that some, but that the play of Wiltjer is essential to the long term success:
Kentucky’s best lineup will feature sophomore power forward Kyle Wiltjer. It has to. Somebody must bring balance to the attack and stretch the defense, and Wiltjer shot 43.2 percent on 3-pointers last season. He also has a nice, old-school low-post game.
Of the new players who’ll compose most of the rotation, Alex Poythress has a rep as a solid long-distance shooter, Archie Goodwin is more of an attack-the-goal player and point guard Ryan Harrow shot 22.2 percent from deep as a freshman at N.C. State. So having two mobile, shot-blocking bigs on the floor at once might sound sexy, but with this group it likely won’t be a regular feature.
Even Dick Vitale thinks that Kyle Wiltjer needs to step up this year. Vitale took a break from his beloved Tampa Bay Rays and dancing to tell us that he thinks Wiltjer is up to the task:
At Kentucky, experience is at a premium. John Calipari is reloading after losing so much talent to the NBA. One player who is back from last year’s squad is Kyle Wiltjer and he will come through big-time. He scored 24 points in a win over Loyola, showing what he is capable of. Considering he ended up averaging under five PPG, there is one way to go — up, baby!
Kentucky has a big basketball visitor on campus this weekend as James Young will be taking an unofficial visit to Lexington this weekend. This comes on the heels of an in-home visit by John Calipari and most pundits think that Young is down to Kentucky and Syracuse. Despite that, Young’s Godfather, Sean Mahone does not expect a commitment to happen this weekend. In the past though, Mahone has had some interesting comments about Young and the possibility of playing with other greats at UK:
“You play with Wiggins, you play with the Harrison twins, you play with Julius Randle, I would envision an up-and-down game and an opportunity for people who pose a threat from the outside to be able to given that opportunity,” he said earlier this month.
“Simultaneously, if you have an opportunity to get to the bucket and create some things, I think it just presents a very interesting scenario, I really do.”