Kentucky Basketball: Each Projected Starter's Ideal Role in 2013-14
The 2012-13 Kentucky basketball team looked lost the majority of the time it was on the floor. That can be attributed to no one understanding what his role was for the team, something that head coach John Calipari can be sure to fix for the upcoming season.
With a roster loaded with McDonald's All-Americans, veterans and talent, it will be up to Calipari to help define the role of each player if Kentucky wants to make its third Final Four in four years.
The following slideshow will take a look at the ideal role for each of the projected starters for the 2013-14 season.
Aaron Harrison: Scoring Leader
Aaron Harrison, at 6'5", has the ability to draw mismatches at the 2-guard position to either shoot over his defender or blow by him for an easy finish at the rim. He will be the easy option as the go-to scorer for wing players this season.
In fact, John Calipari recently said Aaron Harrison might be the best player on the team from what he's seen so far. Coupled with his ability to shoot from outside, Harrison also drives well using his left hand and can attack the rim with his opposite hand.
If he uses everything in his skill set and the benefit of opposing defenses unable to double-team, Aaron Harrison could easily lead the Wildcats in scoring.
Willie Cauley-Stein: The Fifth Starter
Willie Cauley-Stein's ideal role for the 2013-14 season is strictly an individual plan. The sophomore is the one projected starter who could lose his starting spot the easiest.
Freshman Dakari Johnson could take over for Cauley-Stein, or if John Calipari wants to go with a small lineup, he can play James Young and move Julius Randle to the center spot.
However, if Cauley-Stein improves on his game from last year, it will be hard for Calipari to pull him away as a starter. His athleticism to switch on guards and ability to block shots makes him strong defensively.
Offensively, Cauley-Stein scored most of his points last year simply by running the floor and crashing the offensive glass; as he becomes more polished, this will only benefit him and the Wildcats.
Most importantly, on an individual level, Cauley-Stein's draft status will only increase if he continues to be the fifth starter.
Alex Poythress: All-American
Last season, Alex Poythress was tabbed as a preseason All-American; however, he became his own coach's nightmare due to his up-and-down play throughout the season. While he never lived up to his potential during the 2012-13 season, Poythress had games where he looked like he could be an All-American and lottery pick.
This season, expect Poythress to find his groove with no pressure on him to be the star. He has a unique ability to play in the post or on the wing and be effective from the floor, connecting on more than half of his shots last season.
His body is already NBA-ready, and he will be a constant nightmare for other coaches to prepare for. They will have to decide whether to play him with a big guy or a wing player and choose their fate.
The role for Poythress this year should be that All-American player he is capable of being. A year of playing at the All-American level will leave Poythress with goodwill from Big Blue Nation and a recipe for success for the team.
Andrew Harrison: Leader of the Team
Despite being a freshman, it will be up to Andrew Harrison to be the leader of this team and make sure he keeps everyone happy while also looking for his own shot.
Expect Harrison to play a lot like John Wall did during Calipari's first year at Kentucky. At 6'5", he has the body to overpower any point guard who attempts to guard him and finish at the rim, but Harrison also has the ability to pull up and hit a jumper.
It will be up to Harrison to be the vocal leader while on the floor and direct traffic, something that Ryan Harrow struggled with last year in Kentucky, which ultimately contributed to the demise of the 2012-13 season.
Julius Randle: Player of the Year
Randle is a rare breed of a true power forward who can play that position but can also handle the ball, shoot outside jumpers and defend multiple positions. Randle is the definition of someone who is made of brute force but can play with the finesse of a guard.
He will be the star of this Kentucky team and the player who will draw most of the awards from this team. Randle will be the player who wants the ball in his hands when they need a basket.
Also, if Randle becomes the Player of the Year, Kentucky fans will immediately begin to forget the name Andrew Wiggins. Not that Big Blue Nation is upset with the recruiting class, but it would be bittersweet to see Wiggins win a national award.