Kentucky Basketball: Pros and Cons of Every Wildcats Commit

Matt OveringContributor IIIJune 7, 2012

Kentucky Basketball: Pros and Cons of Every Wildcats Commit

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    Five players make up the class of 2012 for the Kentucky Wildcats basketball team. All five bring key attributes to John Calipari's roster, but they all have weaknesses too.

    Calipari has meticulously put together this roster. Each player compliments the other, characteristics that will be compounded by March. Calipari knows what each player brings to the table and will be looking to improve these young men with each game in the upcoming season.

    Not on this list is Ryan Harrow. He sat out last season as a transfer from North Carolina State and will take over as point guard for Calipari. He's a scorer at heart, but don't be surprised to see Calipari turn him into a facilitator for the Wildcats.

    Here, we'll take a closer look at the five incoming Kentucky commits. 

Willie Cauley

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    Pros: Lengthy, runs extremely well for a center, solid shot-blocker

    Cons: Still needs to add weight, doesn't have much of a low-post game

    It isn't hard to forget about Willie Cauley in this class loaded with 5-star recruits. But Cauley, at 6'10", is just as important as the other guys on this list.

    The Wildcats will lack depth down low next year. Cauley is the only player that could spell Nerlens Noel if he goes down with foul trouble or an injury.

    Cauley won't bring much on the offensive side of the ball, aside from beating his man down the floor in transition. His contributions will come on defense, where he'll block and alter shots on a consistent basis.

Archie Goodwin

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    Pros: Ultra-athletic, excels at beating defender off the dribble, lanky

    Cons: Needs to improve three-point shot, add weight

    If you think Archie Goodwin will come in and replace Doron Lamb, you're wrong. They play the same position, but that's where the comparisons end.

    Goodwin is much better off the dribble. You'll see him looking to drive to the basket instead of pull up, but he's comfortable with the latter all the same. 

    He'll likely play some point when Ryan Harrow is out of the game. He may turn out to be the most versatile player in this class, with the ability to play all three perimeter positions. 

Julius Mays

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    Pros: Above-average shooter, experienced

    Cons: Not quick off the dribble, may struggle defensively

    Julius Mays will serve as a mentor for these younger players, particularly Archie Goodwin. He'll most likely be a bench scoring option for John Calipari.

    The biggest question about Mays is how he will play defensively. As a transfer from Wright State, he may be in for a "culture shock" of sorts, coming from the Horizon League to the SEC. Will he be able to stick with quicker SEC guards like Kenny Boynton? 

    Mays will provide coach Calipari with a reliable shooting threat off of the bench. 

Nerlens Noel

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    Pros: Has experience playing center, great timing on blocking shots, agile defender

    Cons: Still not great offensively, needs to add weight

    "Has experience playing center" and "still not great offensively" should raise some red flags if you're looking for instant offense from Nerlens Noel. He averaged 12 points per game in high school, a number that should be higher considering his imposing stature.

    But scouts don't rave about Noel's offense. His defense makes him the number one prospect in the nation, and it will be his defense that makes an instant impact for the Wildcats.

Alex Poythress

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    Pros: Lanky, great rebounder, active on both sides of the ball, great at cutting to the basket and finishing strong

    Cons: Can be passive on offense, inconsistent jump shot

    As the only true small forward on the Kentucky roster, Alex Poythress stands to gain the most playing time out of anyone on this list. Versatile may be the best way to describe him because he does everything well.

    On offense, Poythress' game reminds me of Terrence Jones. Poythress is a bit smaller, but that makes him just a step quicker. You can say the same defensively. Both are lanky and both can make opposing coaches sweat because of the matchup problems they create.

    The dribble-drive motion offense should be a perfect fit for Poythress. Defensively, he'll be asked to defend multiple positions, from shooting guards to power forwards.