Thanks to my esteemed colleague, Matt King, who came up with the idea to pick a $15 all-time John Calipari Kentucky team, my mind began to wander. What about the rest of college basketball during that five-year run by Calipari?
The idea is pretty simple. Design your best team by picking one player at each position and stay below the $15 salary cap. What you determine as the best team is up to your discretion; imagine you're the GM or coach and have the opportunity to sign five big-name players. Do you want a team made to score? Do you want a defensive-minded team? Do you believe in being able to stretch the floor with your forwards or pounding it in the paint? Regardless, the choice is completely up to you.
Sure, there's been plenty of talent at Kentucky—there are four Wildcats on the list—but putting together this list really opened my eyes to some names who have been forgotten. People like Scottie Reynolds and JaJuan Johnson, who were both All-Americans, with Reynolds leading Villanova to a Final Four and Johnson averaging 20 points and eight rebounds.
The two toughest parts of this list were making selections on people like Nolan Smith over Nick Johnson and Cody Zeller over Cole Aldrich. Remember, this is only about college basketball success and has nothing to do with the NBA, so you won't see people like Kyrie Irving on here.
The second toughest part was debating what order to place the players, especially at the point guard position. But, overall, I feel good about where everyone is on here. Shabazz Napier gets the bump ahead of Kemba Walker due to winning American Athletic Conference Player of the Year (Walker never won a conference Player of the Year award).
What about a team comprised of Walker, Nolan Smith, Cleanthony Early, Doug McDermott and Anthony Davis? Four of the five players made it to at least one Final Four, with three of the guys winning a national title. The only one not to is McDermott, who just happened to score 3,150 points in his career at Creighton. Not to mention this team is athletic enough to run the floor and has the capability to stretch the defense and allow players like Walker and Early to attack the paint.
Defensively, there is only one liability in McDermott, but having a shot-blocker like Davis and perimeter defenders to keep guards in front of them will make it tough to score.
I'm curious to see what everyone thinks and what teams everyone comes up with. Put your best starting five in the comments or tweet me at @uklefty22.
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