It’s a problem that any college basketball coach in the country want to have and the Kentucky Wildcats basketball team will be loaded at every position. With Andrew Harrison returning to Kentucky, you can pencil him into the starting lineup, but what if he struggles? John Calipari has a pretty good freshman coming in by the name of Devin Booker and if we learned anything this year, it’s that Cal will not be afraid to sub his players freely.
But could Booker press Harrison for playing time if Harrison struggles? Eamonn Brennan took a look at some of college basketball’s top position battles and he thinks that UK’s shooting guard battle could be one to watch.
Kentucky: Aaron Harrison versus Devin Booker
Kentucky’s most fascinating positional intrigue will come from the frontcourt, where John Calipari has approximately 754 NBA-prospect forwards to parse into some recognizable rotation. It’s harder to imagine him shaking things up in the backcourt after March’s runner-up run, especially now that the Harrisons seem to have figured things out. But Booker is absolutely a player to watch, especially if one or both of the Harrisons regress.
Keeping with the ESPN ranking players theme, the Worldwide Leader ranked Willie Cauley-Stein as one of the top five shot blockers in college basketball. And although it will never be ranked, I do give WCS credit for having the best shirt ever worn on the college sidelines.
Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky Wildcats
I don’t know how many minutes Cauley-Stein will average next season because the Wildcats have the nation’s deepest frontcourt, but I do know that coach John Calipari will utilize his shot-blocking ability to anchor his defense. This past season, Cauley-Stein blocked 12 percent of Kentucky’s opponents’ 2-point field goal attempts, good for 12th in the country.
The 7-foot junior is already the sixth all-time shot-blocker in Kentucky history, blocking 166 attempts. Another season like 2013-14 and he could be the Wildcats’ all-time best at protecting the rim. He’ll likely utilize this summer to improve his offensive game and get stronger, but he’ll hang his NBA hat on his defense around the rim.
The LA Lakersrumors have died down, but John Calipari sent out a series of tweets yesterday just to let us know that he is not pursuing any other jobs but is still recovering from hip replacement surgery. Like 99% of all people who recover from hip surgery, Cal is recovering in Florida.
Calipari said he is in Florida and he’s humbled by the support hes received. The 55 year old coach said he did some walking yesterday and the physical therapist reminded him he can’t skip any steps.
That hit home with Calipari, who has coached a young basketball team every season hes been at Kentucky. “It reminded me about what we have to do every year with a young team and what we – even with eight scholarship players returning – will again have to do this upcoming season. It will be no different than the last five years. It will be a process.”