Kentucky Basketball: Does John Calipari Need to Add Torian Graham?

Matt Overing@@MOveringContributor IIIAugust 4, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 25:  Head coach John Calipari of the Kentucky Wildcats reacts against the Baylor Bears during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball South Regional Final at the Georgia Dome on March 25, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

It's official: Torian Graham has classified for the 2012 class. Justin Byerly tweeted the news on Friday, Aug. 3, also saying that "Kentucky was mentioned in the conversation."

Back in April, Kentucky Sports Radio reported there was mutual interest between Graham and the Wildcats. However, according to most ESPN.com recruiting experts, Graham was expected to go to a junior college because of academics.

But now that Graham is (seemingly) in the clear, should John Calipari and the Wildcats once again resume their talks with the top-100 player?

On one hand, Graham is just that: a top-100 player that has received scholarship offers from Louisville, Memphis and North Carolina State—he previously committed to NC State, but backed out. Most scouts consider Graham an athletic scorer, but his intensity has been known to waver.

So, how would Graham fit into the Kentucky lineup? The Wildcats already have three guards that are slated to see a majority of the playing time—Archie Goodwin, Ryan Harrow and Julius Mays. 

After that trio, guard depth become cloudy. Twany Beckham and Jon Hood have put in work this offseason, but Calipari isn't a coach that delves deep into his bench. Both are upperclassmen, but neither have seen significant minutes as a Wildcat.

What this decision tells is whether the Kentucky coaching staff considers Graham to be an upgrade over Beckham and Hood. 

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Both sides of the argument have valid points. 

Some would claim Graham would only chew up a scholarship, one that could otherwise go to a 2013 or 2014 recruit—two classes that are full of top recruits considering Lexington as a college destination. Plus, what is wrong with Beckham and Hood?

Others would say Calipari should go for it. Adding Graham shouldn't affect the decision of top 2013 recruits, and he's ranked for a reason. His talent could be a much-needed addition to a roster loaded with question marks. 

I tend to side with the former. Eric Lindsey of CoachCal.com wrote in his practice report that Beckham "could see some minutes as a lockdown defender" in 2012-13, something that is a necessity with smaller guards like Harrow and Mays in the fray. 

Graham would bring scoring off the bench, but how much? Would it be significantly more than what Beckham or Hood could contribute?

The fact is, we don't know just how well Graham would fit into the 2012-13 Kentucky Wildcats. Why take a chance on a player with academic issues when you are already considered a top-five team for next year?

The risk may be worth it. Graham could be a role player for years to come, and with roster turnover a common occurrence, a familiar face could provide stability.

What do you think?

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