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?