Earlier this summer, we went over Kentucky's starting lineup for the 2012-13 season. John Calipari, the master of media, has consistently thrown us tidbits of information to keep us guessing about the roster for next year.
First, it was the "Twin Towers" lineup, one that featured Willie Cauley-Stein in the lineup beside Nerlens Noel. If this were the case, one would think that sophomore stud Kyle Wiltjer would be the odd man out of the starting five.
Now, Calipari has us questioning the starting five yet again. He recently told Andy Katz of ESPN.com that "he expects two freshmen" to start—Archie Goodwin and Alex Poythress.
Past those two, we know nothing.
Well, not really.
We know the players that will receive significant minutes. Goodwin and Poythress are locks. Noel, WCS and Wiltjer will man the paint. And Ryan Harrow and Julius Mays will control the backcourt. We might be able to throw Torian Graham into the mix later on.
Five (potentially six) players will be vying for three spots on the roster. Harrow and Mays are battling to play guard beside Goodwin, and Calipari has a trio of big men to choose from.
This is clearly a flexible (although a bit shallow) lineup situation for the Wildcats. An interesting note is that Noel doesn't have to start. Cauley-Stein is, by all reports, a more than capable replacement.
Of course, Noel and Wiltjer were the consensus starters before the "Twin Towers" lineup idea materialized. Noel provides the defense that Wiltjer lacks, and Wiltjer's offensive game is expected to swell. But WCS is much more athletic than Wiltjer and is not such a liability on defense.
Fortunately for Wiltjer, his shooting stroke should be enough to keep him in the starting five beside one of the lanky freshmen—most likely Noel.
As for the guards...
Could Calipari be using these media messages as motivation? In the aforementioned ESPN article, he states that "Harrow and Mays could be coming off the bench."
That would mean the starting five would consist of Goodwin at the point, Poythress at shooting guard, Wiltjer at small forward, Noel at power forward and WCS at center (unless, of course, Graham came to town).
Talk about a huge lineup. Average player height: 6'8".
Chances are, Calipari won't take that extreme route. Harrow is predicted to be the next Calipari point guard, and Cal's quote is the first to question that line of thought. Harrow has one year of playing experience (at NC State) and one year of experience under Calipari's guidance.
Mays has experience as well. He'll be a senior next season after playing two years at NC State and one year at Wright State. But he's considered more of a shooting guard, and his assist average from last year (2.5 per game) reflects that.
One major development could change the guard situation: Torian Graham. If he is in Lexington for the 2012-13 season, Harrow and Mays will have another player to contend with for the second guard position.
I stand by my previous roster prediction of Harrow (PG), Goodwin (SG), Poythress (SF), Wiltjer (PF) and Noel (C). However, the point guard and power forward positions are two that could change by Nov. 9.
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