The Kentucky Wildcats are becoming a hotbed for dynamic freshman prospects once again. The Wildcats struck gold again by snatching many big name prospects for the second straight year. This recruiting class is led by big names like Brandon Knight and Enes Kanter.
They acquired three big men in Terrence Jones, Eloy Vargas and Enes Kanter, they also acquired Guards, Brandon Knight, and Doron Lamb and they picked up forward Stacey Poole.
Since you may be unaware of the talents of these players, I'll go into detail.
Knight is an explosive PG from Florida. He is ridiculously quick. That is pretty vital for a good point guard that lacks a jumpshot but his jumpshot isn't all that bad. He is great at getting to the basket and he is a quality finisher.
His jumpshot is not a highlight of his game but it isn't weak at all. If you leave him open he will take the shot and knock it down. A defender can't depend their style of D on just one aspect of his game.
What I also like about him is that he isn't just a kid that can only score and slacks on the defensive end. He is a pretty good defender too. He has great hands and normally comes up with many steals. He's fairly big too standing at 6-3. Just because he's fast, doesn't mean he's small.
Enes Kanter is the Euro player drawing a lot of attention right now. He was born in Turkey and has played in Turkey nearly his whole life. He transferred to Stone Bridge Prep in California to gain NCAA eligibility but there are still questions as to whether or not he will be able to play next season.
Well Kanter is being ranked as the 2nd best recruit in the nation behind Harrison Barnes by most experts and for good reason. He is a 6-10 or 6-11 big man, better suited to play at PF and the main thing that most people love about him is his jumpshot. A lot of people can compare him to Dirk Nowitzki with his amazing ability to shoot the ball at that height.
He could possibly be even better than Dirk, considering that he is seems like he will be a better rebounder than Dirk. I'm personally still skeptic about him though. He definitely seems like he has the skills but he is very inconsistent.
Some people compare Kanter to Demarcus Cousins which you can't do. It is hard to call one better than the other. They are two completely different types of players. Kanter may be able to be more successful in the NCAA level because he doesn't have a huge tendency to get in foul trouble like Cousins did.
Another thing is that Kanter has had knee problems in the past and if he injures his knee again he could end up like Greg Oden. He has a ton of potential and raw talent. I'm interested to see how he'll play in his freshman year of college. As long as he plays well like expected he should be a one and done player like Brandon Knight should be.
Enes Kanter can easily be the best player of the Kentucky Wildcats in the future. He has tons of raw talent. In the Nike Hoops Summit in April, Enes Kanter dropped 34 points while shooting 13-21 which is pretty damn impressive when he was playing against the American HS all stars which comprised of players like Harrison Barnes, and Brandon Knight.
Terrence Jones was the last player to commit to Kentucky. Jones is probably the 3rd best player of all of the Kentucky recruits. Terrence Jones is a 6-8 Forward who can play either small forward or power forward. Terrence Jones will definitely be a starter along with Brandon Knight and Enes Kanter. He will probably start at the 4.
Terrence Jones is a nice all around player who can get to the rim and he can knock down his jumpers. I'm not all that fond of his jumpshot though. I think he needs to improve upon that while in Kentucky because I see him playing SF in the NBA and his jumpshot wont cut it in the NBA as a SF.
What I love about him is that he is very much defensive minded. He brings a great defensive presence to the court which can be very key for Kentucky in terms of winning games and maybe even a championship.
One problem though. If he is going to play the Power Forward position effectively, he needs to develop a better post game. It is tough for a PF to work off of the dribble. If he improves that post game he could be a vital asset in the teams success.
Doron Lamb, in my mind is an exceptional player. He is a very overlooked player. Whether it was the McDonald's All American Game or any other high school showcase game, he always performed well and better than expected. Doron Lamb went to the prestigious Oak Hill Academy, one of the most highly regarded basketball programs in the country. Oak Hill has produced a ton of successful NBA players.
Lamb is 6-4 Shooting Guard who averaged 23 PPG for one of the nations top schools. Lamb possesses a nice shot and he can get to the basket as well. He is most known for his nice stroke. Luckily for Lamb, Darius Miller may move over to SF to make room for Lamb but he is still going to need to beat out Junior DeAndre Liggins for the starting job. Or he may need to fight Darius Miller for a starting spot if Eloy Vargas or even Stacey Poole steal a spot in the starting lineup.
Poole was the first player to commit to Kentucky about a year ago. Poole is the weakest of the 6 and probably wont start. He should find a way to get into the rotation a bit though. He can play at either SG or SF so that will sure help him to find minutes.
Poole is a dynamic slasher and he could come into the game, earn some points at the line by driving and drawing some fouls. That would be a nice help if he could consistently play 5-10 minutes and score about 4 PPG.
Eloy Vargas is a 6-11 big man out of Florida. I honestly don't feel that he will be a starter in Calipari's offense but he could if he really appeals to Calipari. It is very unlikely that he will start but Calipari does really like him already.
A lineup of:
Vargas - Kanter - Jones - Miller - Knight
could probably work but I think that Calipari would rather try this:
Kanter - Jones - Miller - Lamb - Knight
Either way, Vargas will definitely get minutes where ever he is put in the rotation. He possesses a great deal of length and he can finish at the basket. He has a somewhat weak post game but it will definitely improve.
This year, I think Kentucky will have four one and done guys (Knight, Kanter, Jones, Lamb). Doron Lamb could opt to stay but Knight, Kanter and Jones are definitely going to opt for the NBA. A key in the Kentucky team is going to be Darius Miller. Just like last year, they need at least one veteran starter. This year Darius Miller should be the lone non freshman in the starting lineup with the departure of Patrick Patterson to the NBA.
Only time can tell if this mainly freshman team can outdo the mainly freshman team of last season. Also, Kentucky fans, pray that Kanter and Vargas are approved by the NCAA to play in this season. Without them the Wildcats season can be very different.