It’s pretty much understood that there is going to be some significant turnover from last year’s Kentucky roster, even though only Jared Carter is the only player that we can be sure will not return.
Let’s take a look at the players who are scheduled to return to UK next year and how they are impacted by the arrival of John Calipari in order of their certainty to survive “try-outs”.
Patrick Patterson, Jr., PF/C-This guy is a fit for any college roster. If he decides to return to school (which, by all indications, he seems likely to do), he will be a major part of what UK does next year. You can go ahead and pencil him for a double-double most nights next year.
I think Patterson has perhaps the most to gain from playing under Calipari. Out of necessity, he has played the 5 for UK since he arrived on campus, but next year, UK figures to get at least one other post presence which will allow him to move to his natural position (and the one he’ll play at the next level), the 4.
Coach Cal’s offense calls for four guys with the ability to take the ball to the basket and hit shots from the outside. If Patterson can grow into a 4 that has that inside-outside ability, his NBA stock will soar. I can’t wait to see Patterson play on next year’s team.
Jodie Meeks, Sr., SG-Obviously, the Second Team All-American has a ride and a starting spot if he makes the decision to return. The spacing that Calipari’s offense (as well as the help he should get from newcomers) should generate a lot easier looks for Jodie next year.
He may not get the chance to score 24 a night like he did in 2008-2009, but I think he stands to have a much better all around season.
I also look for Jodie to show some significant improvement in taking the ball to the basket in Calipari’s dribble drive offense, simply because he will need to. Jodie, last year, even though he was tremendous, was still not strong with the ball in traffic. He needs to get better to thrive next year and for the next level.
Darius Miller, So., SF-There is no doubt Darius will be on next year’s roster, barring some unforeseen occurrence. I can’t wait to see how Darius plays with the weight of Billy Gillispie of his shoulders. He seemed encumbered by him all year. He was the best guy on last year’s team off the dribble, which bodes well for his role next year.
Also boding well for Darius is the fact that when Rob Bromley asked Coach Cal in his interview with him after the presser on Wednesday what he knew about the players he was inheriting, the only other player besides Jodie and Patrick was Darius. I look for Darius to win a starting spot next year, even if UK brings Xavier Henry.
Perry Stevenson, Sr., PF-Perry is the one guy besides the above three that I would be SHOCKED not to see on the roster next year. He’s certainly earned the chance by dealing with three coaches in four years and always acting with class.
I don’t expect Perry to start, but he will be a moderate contributor off the bench who can find some space on offense, grab a board, and block a shot.
On the Bubble
Matt Pilgrim, RS Jr., PF-I have heard raves about Pilgrim in terms of rebounding and athleticism. I have also heard he can face up a little bit, which is a must if he wants to play next year.
Transferring is not an option, because he has but two years of eligibility left and has already burned his redshirt. I’m not completely sure what to expect out of him, but expect to see him on the team.
Kevin Galloway, Sr., PG, SF-Kevin has only one year of eligibility left, so transferring is not an option for him. Really the only way I think he is absent from the roster next year is if he fails to qualify academically, which, given his past, is not out of the question. We know Kevin has talent.
He’s a big time athlete and he pretty much took over the Florida game in Rupp. His game seems pretty well suited for the dribble drive motion, provided he improves his decision-making. I also look for some improvement simply because I expect him to have a more defined role.
DeAndre Liggins, So., PG/SF-I think Calipari is a much better coach for DeAndre than Gillispie, and he has a much better chance to be a success at UK because of him. However, I do not think it is out of the question that he decides to transfer.
If he does not show Coach Cal what he wants to see out of him, you can be sure Calipari will recommend a transfer.
Ramon Harris, Sr., SF-This is another guy who has probably earned his spot for his senior year, and it would be a shame if he does not get a chance to play it out. I would put him in the “lock” category, but with his medical issues, I think it could go either way for Ramon.
If he does play, I think his role will be significantly diminished from last year. His ball-handling is mediocre at best, his shooting is mediocre at best, and while he has shown the ability to be a solid rebounder and glue guy, he wasn’t the same after his injuries.
He played well during the NIT, but then had another setback against Notre Dame.
Michael Porter, Sr., PG/SG-The last of the UK seniors, and, in my opinion, the least likely to return. He is married with a child on the way, so life is moving on past playing basketball for him, not to mention the fact that he is on track to graduate in May.
The prospect of a merely playing a role next year, mixed with the fact that he has coaching aspirations, may drive him to seek a graduate assistant role next season. It’s also possible that he could find an academic scholarship or aid, because that process is much easier as a grad student.
Josh Harrellson, Jr., PF/C-I don’t think Jorts fits in the dribble drive at all. Also, UK looks to be deep (and getting deeper) in the front court next year, and Harrellson doesn’t figure to see the floor much. I think he can be a nice player somewhere, but I don’t think that place is UK.
AJ Stewart, JR., SF/PF-AJ could be better suited for Calipari’s style of play, but I don’t see him sticking under Calipari. He needs to go to a smaller school where he can showcase some of his offensive skills (which have developed nicely) and play a bunch his last two years of school. AJ is a likable kid, but I think he’s out the door.
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