Feb 20, 2013; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) shoots a three pointer in the game against the Vanderbilt Commodores in the second half at Rupp Arena. Kentucky defeated Vanderbilt 74-70. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Losing Kyle Wiltjer Could be Addition by Subtraction for the 2013-2014 Season

ESPN’s Myron Medcalf seems to think that Kyle Wiltjer’s transfer to Gonzaga is the third (3rd) biggest SEC story line this off season, and I don’t understand how.  It doesn’t make sense when we have the greatest recruiting class in history coming in to focus on our one (1) voluntary detraction.  I certainly can’t see how this story line is bigger than Willie Cauley-Stein and Alex thress coming back or Vanderbilt losing both their leading rebounder, Kevin Bright, and leading scorer Kedren Johnson.

3. Kyle Wiltjer leaves Kentucky: John Calipari assembled one of the greatest recruiting classes in NCAA history. Perhaps you’ve heard about it. Julius Randle is one of six McDonald’s All Americans who will join UK in 2013-14. There’s plenty of talent in Lexington, enough to place the Wildcats atop many lists of national-title favorites. But leadership and experience could be concerns — much like they were in 2012-13 — with Wiltjer transferring to Gonzaga. The process began with a pair of letters from both Calipari and Wiltjer that conveyed some uncertainty about the Canadian’s future. But when he officially announced his decision last month, Kentucky lost a player who can stretch the floor (10.2 PPG, 37 percent from beyond the arc in 2012-13) and its only link to the 2011-12 national championship squad. The Cats still have more talent than any other team in college basketball without him. But inexperience could be a problem again.

If losing Wiltjer is worthy of being included on this list at all, it should be five (5).

Listen, I know that Wiltjer is our only holdover from the 2012 National Title team but do you remember how many kids we had with National Championship experience on that 2012 team?

Zero.  That’s right, none.

What we did have were some incredibly talented sophomores, Doron Lamb and Terrence Jones, along with Senior Darius Miller.

While we don’t have that senior presence, we do have those two incredibly talented sophomores, Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein.

Alex and Willie are of the same value as Doron, Terrence AND Darius.

That’s crazy talk, right?  Wrong!

Yes, we don’t have a legit senior on this squad (Jon Hood), but Alex was a certain NBA lottery pick and Willie was a certain first rounder, a lottery pick by many, but they opted to return.  What makes their frosh experience equal to that of a junior or senior is they went to the NIT after being ranked #3 in the preseason.

John Calipari admitted that he lost control of the team and vowed to not let that happen again.

Rest assured that it won’t.

Considering that we have two of the best sophomores in the country returning and the best recruiting class in history coming in, do you really thing losing Kyle Wiltjer will make that big a difference?  Seriously?

Not a chance.

Listen, losing Wiltjer will cost us experience and an outside shooting presence but what we lose with a 6’10” 3 point shooter, we gain with Andrew Harrison and James Young to go with a bevy of unguardable post and midrange guys (Randle, Lee and Cauley-Stein.

The Kentucky Wildcats are literally in a “pick your poising” situation at every position.  Is it any wonder why they are a favorite to hang Banner #9?

The sum of their parts is much greater than the loss of Kyle Wiltjer so why is this #3 of Medcalf’s list?

I guess just to grab the interest of the Big Blue Nation.

Medcalf lists the loss of Marshall Henderson as #1 and I completely agree because he was all Andy Kennedy could rely on on a nightly basis, and the loss of Trae Golden due to oversigning, by Cuonzo Martin as #2 and Vanderbilt losing everyone significant to their program, having Alex and Willie back is much more vital impactful to the Kentucky Wildcats program than the loss of Wiltjer.  As such, I don’t understand why people over value a loss over retaining Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein.

They clearly make is better than the loss of Kyle Wiltjer hurts us.  Yes, we’re losing around 10 PPG and 37% 3 point % but we are adding pure scoring and mass potential.

The pure scoring and potential is much more important and 10PPG scored and poor defense, which is what Kyle gave us.

Don’t get me wrong, but losing Kyle isn’t greater than gaining our recruiting class and shouldn’t be ranked as such.


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