So what does it all mean? Well, at this point, I think that Nerlens Noel will have to test the NBA waters. If you are a top five pick you have to go and Chad Ford, who has the best read on this, has him at number one. I hate to see Noel go and think he could use another year to bulk up. But the allure of a top five draft pick is too much to turn up. Also I think that Archie Goodwin is probably out the door. As long as the NBA drafts on potential, Goodwin is a borderline lottery pick/mid first round guy. But here is where it gets interesting.
Two of the mock drafts have Poythress as a 2014 pick and one has Willie Cauley-Stein . Poythress is probably the most likely to go to the NBA. . Once again, the potential thing and let’s be honest. Poythress can improve his stock a good bit between now and the end of the season. Same for Willie Cauley-Stein. I think that Cauley-Stein came to UK seeing himself as more of a two to three year guy while Poythress and the others came with a one and done mentality.
So let’s assume that Cauley-Stein stays and the other three depart. That leaves us with six scholarships, enough to accommodate all the newcomers. But what if say Poyhtress and Cauley-Stein stay? Or if Calipari signs two more players. What happens then?
At that point, I would assume that the scholarships for the former walk-ons would not be renewed. Brian Long and Sam Malone are aware of the “one and done” nature of their scholarships and to be honest, some schools never offer walk-ons a scholarship. That’s the reality of being a walk-on.
Even if Poythress and Cauley-Stein stay, Kentucky is in good shape to add another player, with the walk-on scholarships. It’s a good position to be in.
So as it stands, Kentucky is in very good shape even if the unthinkable happens and lets say all four freshman stay. With the extra 2012 spot, the two seniors, and the two walk-ons, that would be five scholarships for six players. If that happens (and it will not), one of the players (maybe Polson) could get an academic scholarship.
Having all freshman stay and play with the six freshman is the unlikeliest scenario (and the one that most Kentucky fans want), and it’s good to see that scholarships will work out even if that happens.