Skip to content

Kentucky has some questions to answer this offseason

Apr 8, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

source:

Getty Images

Under John Calipari the equation’s been a relatively simple one for Kentucky: after one highly regarded freshman class completes its season, another rolls in with the expectation of immediately competing for a national title. This year’s group, in spite of some struggles over the course of the season, nearly accomplished that goal before losing to UConn 60-54.

Now the question of who returns to Lexington and who decides to enter the NBA Draft hangs over the program, with Randle and Willie Cauley-Stein both being seen as lottery picks by Draft Express. But what about the Harrison twins? Will their improved play during the NCAA tournament result in the twins deciding that it’s time to get paid as opposed to spending another season in Lexington? James Young will have the same dilemma to address, with the NCAA’s withdrawal deadline less than two weeks away.

But if anything has been learned during Calipari’s tenure, it’s that with the notable exception of the 2012-13 campaign the Wildcats don’t rebuild so much as reload. And with one of the nation’s top recruiting classes heading to Lexington this summer, that may very well be the case.

While big men Trey Lyles and Karl Towns will help Kentucky address the possible departures of Randle and Cauley-Stein, it can be argued that the backcourt tandem of point guard Tyler Ulis and shooting guard Devin Booker will be the freshmen whose performances have the greatest impact on Kentucky’s 2014-15 title hopes.

Can Ulis be the distributor this group that should be loaded with front court talent needs in order to punish teams in the paint? Can Booker live up to his reputation of being a dead-eye shooter, thus punishing teams who choose to double the post? Those will be two important questions to answer, but if anything was learned from the 2013-14 edition it’s that those answers aren’t guaranteed to come immediately.

Another question to consider: how much better will Alex Poythress, Marcus Lee Dakari Johnson be with another offseason of work? Johnson emerged as a consistent starter as the season wore on, Lee was productive when given a specific task (see his performance in Kentucky’s win over Michigan) and when aggressive Poythress can be an impact player. However that’s the issue with Poythress, as he doesn’t always bring the effort that makes him an even tougher player for opposing teams to account for. If that changes, Kentucky becomes a tougher team to slow down.

As with any offseason there are a number of questions for Kentucky to answer, beginning with those regarding the players considering making the jump to the professional ranks. And with the season now completed, the focus for Calipari goes from the team to each individual player, with the idea being to help them make the best and most-informed decision they can make.

“I’ll sit down with each young man individually, probably have their family either with us or on a speaker phone and get them information and say, ‘If I can help you with anything, let me know,’” Calipari said following Monday’s loss. “‘Tell me what you want to do; what do I need to do to help you?’

“I kind of stay out of the decision-making. I just get them information. So we’ll see.”

Latest Posts
  1. Mixtape of 2016 five-star guard Malik Monk (VIDEO)

    Jul 22, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    (USA Baketball) (USA Baketball)

    Is this the best high school mixtape since Seventh Woods?

  2. DePaul forward DeJuan Marrero to transfer to Chipola College

    Jul 21, 2014, 11:43 PM EDT

    marrero

    DePaul redshirt freshman forward DeJuan Marrero will play his sophomore season at Chipola.

  3. Malik Newman, Ivan Rabb, Jayson Tatum, Malik Monk among 33 members battling for USA U17 roster spots this week

    Jul 21, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT

    Malik Newman (Getty Images) Getty Images

    The USA U17 tryouts have a lot of big names and it will also be important for the last week of the July live evaluation period.

  4. Peach Jam mixtape for five-star 2015 guard Isaiah Briscoe (VIDEO)

    Jul 21, 2014, 9:00 PM EDT

    (Scott Phillips/NBCSports.com) (Scott Phillips/NBCSports.com)

    Isaiah Briscoe helped lead the New Jersey Playaz to a title at Peach Jam.

  5. Four-star Class of 2016 guard Bruce Brown gave up football to focus on basketball

    Jul 21, 2014, 7:45 PM EDT

    (Scott Phillips/NBCSports.com) (Scott Phillips/NBCSports.com)

    Bruce Brown was a promising two-sport athlete, but gave up football to focus on basketball.

  6. Four-star recruit Cameron Walker commits to Stanford

    Jul 21, 2014, 6:10 PM EDT

    adidas adidas

    Walker is the second commitment for the Cardinal this spring.

  7. Seven (more) Takeaways from Nike’s Peach Jam

    Jul 21, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT

    NikeEYB NikeEYB

    Seven additional thoughts on Nike’s Peach Jam, including Ben Simmons’ one weakness, Malik Monk and how college coaches look at parents

  8. Peach Jam mixtape of top 2016 recruit Jayson Tatum (VIDEO)

    Jul 21, 2014, 2:54 PM EDT

    Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 2.45.41 PM

    Tatum is the best player in the class.

  9. Indiana’s summer workouts look intense (VIDEO)

    Jul 21, 2014, 12:28 PM EDT

    Tom Crean AP

    The Hoosiers will be in shape come September, that’s for sure.

  10. CBT Quotables Part IV: The Lawsons, Stephen Zimmerman, Malik Monk

    Jul 21, 2014, 11:26 AM EDT

    NikeEYB NikeEYB

    The latest in our series of anonymous quotes from coaches on the players they recruit.

  11. Kansas’ Landen Lucas hopes summer work results in more playing time

    Jul 20, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT

    Aaron Ross, Landen Lucas Aaron Ross, Landen Lucas

    After playing sparingly last season, Lucas is hoping to take a significant step forward in 2014-15.

  12. Name aside, Gary Payton II will be an important player for Oregon State

    Jul 20, 2014, 10:10 PM EDT

    JucoRecruiting.com JucoRecruiting.com

    Fans may look to compare Gary Payton II to his father, something both hope to avoid this season, but his role as point guard is an important one.

  13. Reports: Former Clemson forward Ibrahim Djambo transferring to Hofstra

    Jul 20, 2014, 7:46 PM EDT

    Jeff Laidig, Ibrahim Djambo AP

    Djambo’s playing time was unlikely to increase had he remained at Clemson, where he played 9.2 minutes per game last season.

  14. Report: 2015 shooting guard Matt McQuaid de-commits from SMU

    Jul 20, 2014, 6:46 PM EDT

    Larry Brown AP

    McQuaid’s de-commitment leaves SMU with one verbal pledge in its 2015 recruiting class.

  15. Report: 2015 phenom Ben Simmons fully committed to attending LSU

    Jul 20, 2014, 5:39 PM EDT

    Ben Simmons (Kelly Kline/Under Armour) Ben Simmons (Kelly Kline/Under Armour)

    Apparently there were some questions at the Peach Jam regarding the possibility of Simmons returning to Australia in 2015 to play professionally instead of attending LSU.

  16. Stanford guard Anthony Brown looks to take another step forward in 2014-15

    Jul 20, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT

    Chasson Randle, Anthony Brown AP

    Brown won Pac-12 Most Improved Player honors last season, helping lead the Cardinal to the Sweet 16.