Desperate times call for (somewhat) desperate measures

Marc DaleyAnalyst IFebruary 29, 2008

No doubt you have heard the cries from Bluegrass Nation as super-stud and young Buck (Williams) Patrick Patterson announced he would be out for the season with a stress fracture in his foot. Considering the 'Cats dancing shoes had just begun to be polished this was a stunning blow to their improving fortunes. A big part of the recent success (save for the Vandy debacle) was the twofold offense where Patterson regularly put up 15 to 20 points inside the paint area while Ramel Bradley and Joe Crawford re-discovered their outside strokes. While the 'Cats have also gotten re-acquainted with stifling defense the most striking question is painfully obvious.

So I suggest the following lineup:  Bradley, Crawford, Derrick Jasper, Ramon Harris/Mark Coury, Perry Stevenson.

Harris and Coury are pretty much the same player - they could give you 15 minutes a piece, and mediocre stats with the occasional strong play. They're both fundamentally sound but athletically limited. Stevenson has improved numbers, but has benefited greatly from Patterson's presence. At best, he is a jumping jack with a taste for sending shots back to the bar and put-backs that draw oohs and aahs.

Jasper is an interesting wild-card though. Last year he seemed so petrified to do anything but pass, that some fans who were stuck in the 1980s, wondered when Mark Wade grew eight inches, transferred from UNLV, and got 20 more years of eligibility. This year he still seems reticent but at least he's hitting his attempts. At 6-6, he creates match up nightmares for opposing guards and he even rebounds well from the point-guard position.

Also, consider your other options.

Jared Carter - A 7-2 center who came to Kentucky with bloated stats thanks to a lack of size in the greater Central Kentucky high school ranks.
A.J. Stewart - Defensively sound but doesn't show much offensively.
Michael Porter - Not SEC caliber. Never will be.
Morakinyo Williams - A destitute man's Michael Olowakandi. Enough said. Has fallen out of favor with Gillispie.
Jodie Meeks - Who knows if he will be healthy the rest of the year?

Before the 'Cats faithful fans totally fret, this team should still make the tournament. South Carolina looks like a win and Florida is a home game. That gives them 12 SEC wins, which is plenty. But the first team with multiple pressures will escort them from the ball - even with Jasper's added threat.