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Which Role Player Do You Want To See Make ‘The Leap’?

With next years team being so loaded with talent, it’s fun to discuss possible line ups.  And while we are a ways away from knowing what the starting five and first off the bench will be, there’s still a lot to speculate about.  Like what role players will make an impact next season – if any.  So let’s take a look at who could find some minutes in a role player position.

Kyle Wiltjer – I hesitate to put Wiltjer as a role player, because he very well may work his way into the starting line up.  None the less, I’m going to throw him in here because with the return of Terrence Jones, the front court has added some needed depth and most likely pushed Wiltjer to the bench.  He will definitely be the most valuable of those listed here, as his ability to score down low and from the perimeter will pay dividends against any team that tries to bully Kentucky.

Eloy Vargas – If you base your predictions off last year’s contributions… well most of these guys wouldn’t get the nod.  But we have seen what a difference a year can make in the development of a player, and Eloy is currently working hard over in China to get better.  Averaging just under a double double, if Eloy can become a more reliable ‘big banger’ down low, he could find minutes against some bigger front lines.

Jon Hood – Hood has yet to really hit his groove at Kentucky, and given the players on next years team, probably won’t for another year still.  Hood has never been quite as good a 3-pt shooter as some wanted him to be, but his ability to hit a jumper will make him a contributor at some point.  Most likely it will be during his senior season after the NBA draft exodus Kentucky is certain to experience once they win number 8.

Stacey Poole - Poole is another player I wouldn’t expect to see much clock until the 2012-13 season.  Still, Poole was a top 50 recruit out of high school and will likely be a legitimate contributor at some point in his career.  He can slash and score, which will fit well into Calipari’s system… I just don’t see it next year.

Twany Beckham - Beckham won’t be able to play until January due to the transfer rules, but with the lack of a true back up point guard, could find minutes if he develops and Teague gets in foul trouble.  Knowing Calipari’s reluctance to play players when he doesn’t feel they are ready, Beckham likely won’t see much time next season either.  But if he works hard and if he develops as a player, he could provide Teague valuable minutes of rest in March.

Some of the players could contribute next season, some probably not until 2012-13.  But that doesn’t matter.  Which player do you want to see make the Liggins leap from almost non-factor to solid role player?

Article written by Will Lentz

50 responses to “Which Role Player Do You Want To See Make ‘The Leap’?”

  1. bigbill992001

    I would hope that Vargas will step up, but my heart goes to Hood.

  2. Catsfoever

    I’m excited to see what Poole will do his junior and senior season. I think he’ll be a great player by then! Go cats!!!

  3. goboxoutorgogetinbox

    when Cal signs Turquois Bung all those scrap minute problems will be solved

  4. UK

    2, what you said! Really think he will makes strides over the next year!

  5. Emerson Biggins

    Eloy, we need beef.

  6. Cychologist

    I look for Cal to go with a seven player rotation: Teague, Lamb, Miller, Gilchrist, Jones, Wiltjer, and Davis. All but Teague can/will play multiple positions. Only with serious foul trouble or during a blowout do I look for Vargas, Hood, Poole, or Belkham to see the court.

  7. Skip

    I do not know the athletic ability of Beckham, but the advantage that he will have as a point guard is that he will have a semester of practice under his belt on the DDO.

  8. coldspringmike

    Let’s go with the double O’s—-Hood and Poole. Would love to see both of these guyd step it up.

  9. Mad Man

    Really need Vargas to step up the most. Davis and Wiltjer and more finesse, inside/out guys. Vargas would contribute big just by giving about 7-10 minutes of good rebounding.

  10. tdogg4033011

    gotta go with Vargas, come March we’ll need him to contribute a little more

  11. AKA cold buckets

    Wiltjer could be REALLY good, but I don’t see him starting a game this year. He’ll be second man off the bench though. I would like to see Hood step up, because in theory it would give us another shooter.

  12. Number 8

    Will need beckham to contibute 10 good minutes come January. And if poole and Vargas can give 5-7 then number 8 can go to the rafters. And as for hood, transfer please, that’s the only way your getting any playing time.

  13. shadowboxer

    Hood is hopeless. He has no shot to be a significant contributor ever. Cal can coach, but unfortunately, no one can coach confidence. Hood has none.

  14. Michael

    i think having another guard who can shoot would be a great boost to this team. not essential to win it all, but if hood could come play 15 min a game, we could run more and have another shooter to compliment lamb/miller on the perimeter.

    sadly i do not expect this to happen, but if he shows great improvement this year we will be able run and press teams to death.

  15. boyd crowder's bible

    if hood could come in a shoot 3s like lamb/miller than definitely him. 2-3 3pt shooters make the ddmo unstoppable. but chances are we can only hope for eloy & 8-15 min of a couple rebounds/blocks


    I don’t count Wiltjer as a role player, so I’ll say Beckham. He has the easiets path to the floor. I’d say Vargas, but I’m not sure they’ll be able to throw him out there next to Wiltjer or Davis, and they’ll get big mins.

  17. Wildcat Willie says

    Vargas will play and contribute 6 to 8 points and 4 to 6 rebounds per game. That might be a little high on the rebounds. Lets make that 6 points and 4 boards per game.

  18. Will

    Wiltjer cant rebound, cant defend, and is weak. I dont see him playing much at all this year. He can shoot but s way overrated at this point. He may be a good player in a year or two.

  19. Rick Pitino

    I like role playing… Like when kids try to keep of certain tiles on the floor bc they are “hot lava”… Except I gotta get my load off in under 20 seconds or else the world ends

  20. Cat Fan 9

    Put me down as a John Hood fan. I would like to see the Kentucky product step up and lead our team in three point percentage next year.

  21. JBR

    12 & 13…idiots. You know nothing about basketball.

  22. uk1996

    There is no way Kyle Wiltjer is going to be a role player. It will be hard to keep him out of the starting line up. You can not judge his play by watching him in all star games.

  23. WeejunsofBass

    I agree that 12 and 13 are without a clue.

  24. rich

    22. agreed.

    i want to see Poole step up just because i genuinely like the kid, his cheering from the side every game was contagious and he knew he wasnt ever gonna see the floor… and i think if he sees some quality minutes UK would have to be the favorite to pick up Pooles brother

  25. Theghostofbillspivey

    Vargas will be a contributer this year n hood Poole n poison will be ready fir significant minutes in 2012

  26. Andy

    Should be Hood.least depth at his position

  27. UKIreland

    Will go back to your UL message boards!

  28. Theghostofbillspivey

    22 Kyle will be a role player till he learns to score over a 6’6″ guys who s a better athlete such as when he couldn’t score against better in the md s all American game or out at the summit in Oregon. Kyle has all the moves for a low post guy but not used to playing against really big fast strong black guys : a la John hood

  29. Roy Williams Tie

    I’d love to see Hood step up and contribute since he’s a Kentucky kid and grew up a UK fan. He definitely has the talent, just needs some confidence.

  30. UKIreland

    Hey anyone know where I can listen to the a podcast of Brandon Bender’s “tell all” interview on 740? I hope he stuck it to loserville.

  31. wildcatmma

    Mike Linnig’s Restaurant in Louisville is having Cats Fan Day this Saturday, the 28th. Kenny Sky Walker will be there to speak and sign autographs. All proceeds from the event go to charity. Starts at 7:00.

  32. Marcus L. Owens

    28. I hope you are wrong. But that was funny, “a la John Hood.”

  33. STEVE!

    I hope Eloy and Poole improve as much in their second year under Cal as Josh, DeAndre, and Darius did. We won’t need much scoring from them, but if Cal could convince them to play defense and dive for every loose ball the way he convinced Liggins, they would both play valuable roles and give the starters a few minutes rest each half.

  34. STUART


  35. shadowboxer

    21 – Really? So, I guess he has been tearing it up, huh? Your appraisal of basketball is watching Junior in Upward.

  36. Yorktown Cat

    Tony Woods

  37. STUART


  38. Maxwell

    I find your lack of Polson disturbing.

  39. jason ryan

    would like to see Vargas make the jorts “leap” and poole or hood make the liggons leap

  40. Ukeith26


  41. ashley judd

    38. i would love to see polson get the backup pg minutes this season, and i honestly think he has a chance. smart, hard working, and was a stud in hs. maybe he will show up beckham and get some minutes. definitely not a headcase like hood.

  42. Megan

    What, no one is going to comment on the picture? Who are you guys?? It’s like I don’t even know you anymore.

  43. final 4 ticket

    Two players jump out at me…Poole and Vargas. Poole can play multiple positions and we will need Vargas to come into the paint and provide some power.

  44. what

    will poeple please realize that hood was nuver a three point shooter, just a good mid range jump shooter. Just because you are white doesn’t mean you automatically can hit threes.

  45. Luke Winston

    Yes #36, TONY WOODS

  46. Nutwrap

    I see Vargas making the biggest contribution next year, just because he might improve his game enough that he can defend a powerful center better than Jones. I’ld say Hood will see about 7-10 min a game this season and 15-28 his senior year (depending on who leaves or is recruited). And I would expect to see Poole getting 5-8 minutes a game this year and possibly much more next year.

  47. Vince

    Edge to the Kentucky kid in this discussion…the more KY kids contributing on this NBA team, the better. Therefore, Jon Hood.

  48. bung

    Hood is good

  49. rodney

    i hope Eloy brings some momentum back from China. I think we could really use him. Poole probably has a better chance to show some major improvement, just based on potiential. Wiltjer will have the biggest impact on this list and I don’t really consider him a role player. Hood is probably hopeless, as bad as I may hate to say it. I wouldn’t hold my breath on him.

  50. Rick Garr

    Two words; two BIG words: Tony Woods. Huge key to No. 8 if he can provide what Harrellson did, plus a bit more offense.