Kentucky Basketball: 5 Reasons Anthony Bennett Wouldn't Have Fit Anyway
Top 10 high school basketball recruit Anthony Bennett may have dashed some hopes of Kentucky Wildcats fans when he chose to sign with the UNLV Rebels.
The dreams of Bennett playing with Kentucky's other top recruits like Nerlens Noel are over, but it may not be as bad as it seems.
Bennett, number seven in ESPN's Top 100 high school recruits, may end up fulfilling the potential he holds, but him playing at Kentucky may have only deterred it.
Let's take a look at five reasons why the Wildcats are better off without Bennett.
5. Character Issues
There have been some rumblings recently about the University of Kentucky possibly pulling themselves out of the running for Bennett after reports of academic issues and character problems.
Although these are simply rumors and haven't been confirmed yet, if these are both real problems for Bennett, head coach John Calipari would not have been pleased.
Calipari is a coach known for producing NBA-ready players who are mature on and off the court. Though this likely would have been another challenge for Coach Cal, it would have been a distraction for him and the Wildcats, who are looking to repeat a successful championship season with a fresh recruiting class.
By going to UNLV, Bennett may have completely dodged the spotlight and scrutiny he would have faced should he have signed on at Kentucky.
There are high expectations for this squad every season, and those expectations will be especially high next season with top recruit Nerlens Noel leading the new-look Wildcats.
Bennett may not have performed so well under all the pressure, and maybe he knew it too. This also could have been a deciding factor for him to stay close to home at UNLV over signing with Kentucky or the University of Oregon.
Having to follow up a championship season on a team is no easy task. Bennett might have recognized that and shied away from the microscopic criticism that comes with the territory at Kentucky.
Standing at 6'7", Bennett isn't exactly the ideal height for a power forward, and that situation won't get any better as he transitions into the NBA.
Although he can somewhat make up for his height with his 7'1" wingspan and incredible strength, he still has a deficiency in this area.
Kentucky did add some good size in Nerlens Noel to make up for the departures of three of their biggest men (Anthony Davis, Terrence Jones and Eloy Vargas), but they could use some big bodies. Bennett may not have been the answer there.
A lack of size for the Wildcats would have remained somewhat of an issue if Bennett did sign on, but now that they have filled his spot with other big men like Willie Cauley-Stein, they may have addressed it.
2. Post Game
Running in a fast-paced offense and going up and down the floor could be considered a strength for Bennett, but he has been noted to lack a good go-to post move and general half-court offensive game.
This could have proved to be a problem if he played at the University of Kentucky, considering he would most likely get his number called a lot in half-court sets. Without much of an offensive game down low, Bennett would have struggled when playing against other top-caliber teams.
He does have a lot of versatility on offense with a great shooting touch and aggressive driving ability, but when it boils down to being a power forward in the post, Bennett is not quite yet a complete player in that aspect.
Kentucky could have used his scoring ability, but having a big man who can score at will in the post can be crucial late in games when legs start giving out and shooting becomes more difficult.
1. Immediate Impact
Even with all of Bennett's ability, it may have been hard to see it in the shadow of Nerlens Noel through the course of next season.
If Bennett was with Kentucky, having to be the number two guy may have meant that his impact could have been watered down a bit. With the spotlight on Noel, Bennett wouldn't have been able to shine as brightly as he most likely will at UNLV.
In his own best interests, Bennett may have made the right decision if he was looking to build his individual stock by going to a weaker basketball program. Instead of possibly hurting the Wildcats next season by trying to outshine Noel, Bennett will have room to be a star with the Rebels.
Overall, we may see more highlights of Bennett next year with him being the go-to guy at UNLV instead of Noel's sidekick at the University of Kentucky.