Kentucky Basketball: UK Needs a Go-to Scorer—Who Should It Be?
Imagine that you are University of Kentucky head basketball coach John Calipari. You're coaching a game on the road in the SEC and you're down by one possession with the ball. Who do you want taking the last shot?
That's a question that still plagues the Wildcats as they begin conference play next week at Vanderbilt. UK has a wealth of offensive firepower at their disposal, but it also has yet to have one of those weapons consistently prove themselves as a scorer that can be counted on every game—and in the clutch.
The following is a look at a few of the Wildcats' best options for who should have the ball when they need a basket the most.
All stats via ESPN.com
4. Kyle Wiltjer
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Despite being a sophomore, Kyle Wiltjer is one of the most experienced Wildcats that sees extended playing time. He also has an incredibly pretty jump shot...when it's on. Wiltjer is an extremely streaky shooter, going days at a time when he seems to make everything he takes or can't find the bottom of the net to save his life.
Combined with a lack of good post moves and lack of mobility, Wiltjer is a great offensive option, but probably not someone who the Cats should count on as their primary scoring threat every game.
3. Ryan Harrow
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Ryan Harrow's doubters from early this season have begun running out of things to talk about, which in part is due to his excellent knack for protecting the basketball (along with the ability to dish out some highlight reel-worthy assists).
But where Harrow has really excelled in the last four games is in the scoring department. While his three-point shooting isn't anything to write home about (33 percent), his mid range jumper and ability to slash through the lane or lay up a floater has given the Cats a much needed offense boost.
But despite his ability to score, Harrow's great value to this team will be running the point. His scoring spurts are definitely welcome (and will keep his defenders honest), but it won't be what takes the the Wildcats back to the Final Four.
2. Alex Poythress
Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports
Alex Poythress is an opposing defender's worst nightmare. His combination of size, shooting and ball-handling skill makes him a mismatch for just about anyone.
Unfortunately, Poythress' confidence and energy level have yet to catch up to his offensive abilities. While he is, at times, the most dominating player on the court, he will also often fade into the background or seem unsure of whether or not he should shoot.
Poythress is an incredible offensive talent, but until he develops the killer instincts and confidence of a top-level scorer (which he will be one day), he is not the Wildcats go-to man.
1. Archie Goodwin
USA TODAY Sports Images
Archie Goodwin may seem like the obvious answer since he is currently the teams leading scorer (15.8 PPG). But his problem is the exact opposite of the one Poythress is currently experience; Goodwin is far too aggressive.
Even now that he is not having to run the point for most of the game, Goodwin still tries far too many times to push the issue, which ends up with turnovers and/or poor shots. But he also often ends up blowing by opponents and scoring or drawing fouls.
As the season goes on, there is no doubt that John Calipari can mold Goodwin's aggressive nature on offense from being hasty and out of control into that of a stone-cold shot maker. Goodwin is as good as anyone in the country once he gets into the lane and is a very good shooter, too.
If you're looking for the Wildcats' best option to have the ball in crunch time, than Archie Goodwin is easily the answer.
Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you'd like to sing my praises or tell me how terrible I am more personally, I can also be found on Twitter.