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How deep is too deep when it comes to your backcourt?

Sam Jackson says, “Not deep enough, mother ….”

Lately, Calipari has been picking up wings like it’s Tuesday at B-Dubs.  Not only does he have elite recruits Archie Goodwin and Alex Poythress to play off the ball this year, but in just seven days he’s picked up the top two shooting guards in the 2013 class to play in the same backcourt next year.

Mike DeCourcy (of Sporting News) wonders, “Exactly how many elite wing players does one team need?

It’s a fair question.  With the Harrisons and Young signed on already, and the ever-present possibility of Andrew Wiggins reclassifying, what would Cal do should Archie or Alex decide to stay?  Realistically, they probably won’t.  That’s the nature of the system: perpetual turnover.  But what if they did?

It would get crowded in the wings (mostly I don’t mind).  But Mr. DeCourcy wonders the same thing:

It would not be shocking, though, if Poythress and Goodwin were to require more than a single year at Kentucky to become NBA-ready. Goodwin, for instance, was only the No. 14 prospect in the Class of ‘12 as rated by Scout.com. No. 14 the previous year was Branden Dawson, who is currently preparing for his sophomore year at Michigan State after a solid freshman year averaging 8.4 points and 4.5 rebounds.

Player development has been extraordinary at Kentucky, but it’s not magic. That said, Goodwin has been among the Wildcats’ most impressive players in UK’s sessions to date.

The solution to both of the concerns presented by the potential backlog is where Calipari’s genius becomes most apparent: First, in spite of all that could happen with the roster this year, Calipari is in great shape with scholarships.  Operating under the assumption that Nerlens Noel is the only freshman to leave early (and that’s pretty much a given), there’s still room for a four- or five-man class next season.

In addition to just a scholarship crunch, there’s also the concern that this sort of talented player will want the minutes to go along with their ability.  If three people play your position, that’s hard to do.  One of the beauty’s of Cal’s offensive and defensive systems, though, is that most of the pieces are interchangeable, and every position does a lot of the same things.  With the exception of the point guard, and possibly the center should Cal decide to play one the traditional way, the Dribble Drive asks the same of the five on the floor: drive, score, or kick.  There’s no reason that Aaron Harrison, James Young, and Andrew Wiggins couldn’t all be on the court at the same time to do that.  Same for Poythress and Goodwin.  And defensively, because all these guys are super athletic and ridiculously long (Goodwin has a wingspan of 6’10”?!), they can play a sticky man, and switch on virtually everything.  Again, the pieces are functionally interchangeable.

Mike DeCourcy wonders if Cal is getting too many wings, when the beauty of the system is that, with Cal… you really can’t have enough wings.  And don’t worry about multiple guys playing the same position; Cal’s first team here proved that he’ll take the best players regardless of redundancy.  John Wall and Eric Bledsoe, paired with Demarcus Cousins and Daniel Orton, pretty well display that.

So, to respond to the possible concern that folks may have about the crowded 2 and 3 positions, I’ll quote the late, great Chris Farley:

“Tommy likey.  Tommy want wingy.”

Article written by Corey Nichols

22 Comments for How deep is too deep when it comes to your backcourt?



  1. UKFanInCincy
    9:08 am October 12, 2012 Permalink

    Vote UK your Preseason #1!!

    http://dickvitaleonline.com/



  2. Rich
    9:12 am October 12, 2012 Permalink

    What big man wouldn’t want to play with all those great wing players spreading the court?



  3. Bob Sugar
    9:13 am October 12, 2012 Permalink

    What about harrow staying another year? What about Archie playing point? What about the possibility of some of these guys staying 3 years? What about the goal of an undefeated season where you win every game by at least 20? What about foul trouble, you could play insane defense if you had a replacement for everyone? What about a full game full court press? Better get the best players available and worry later



  4. T.J.
    9:14 am October 12, 2012 Permalink

    Tyler Thompson followed by Corey Nichols….That’s like being a Reds fan, experiencing the joy of watching your team go up 2-0, only to have it immediately followed by 3 straight losses at home…



  5. Gay Ryan Lemond
    9:18 am October 12, 2012 Permalink

    Go to http://www.dickvitaleonline.com and vote UK your #1 preseason pick. Apparently, the Tard fans have heard of the poll and they’ve jumped over IU for 2nd place.



  6. Gay Ryan Lemond
    9:20 am October 12, 2012 Permalink

    #4…LOVE IT!!!



  7. bluecat
    9:25 am October 12, 2012 Permalink

    Versatility is the key to Cal’s success. His players all have the size, length, and athleticism to play multiple positions both offensively and defensively. He usually doesn’t have a real deep rotation, but because everyone can essentially sub in for anybody on the court he doesn’t need a deep rotation. His style of play is also versatile, changing year to year based on the strengths of his current roster. Why anybody would question Cal’s recruiting plans is beyond me, given his run while at Kentucky. Success speaks for itself.



  8. tom
    9:28 am October 12, 2012 Permalink

    #4 – Hilarious if it weren’t so true. Nichols lost me a long time ago.



  9. GoCats2
    9:33 am October 12, 2012 Permalink

    As I have said before, these are the problems that we WANT to have. How to utilize all these great players. Its a whole lot better than trying to decide if you are going to play Bobby Perry, Sheray Thomas, or Mark Coury. No offense to all former Cats.



  10. imjustsayin
    9:33 am October 12, 2012 Permalink

    And we cannot forget that with Kentucky’s frontload of the nations elite players, these are top players that Kentucky doesn’t have to play AGAINST!



  11. Labowski
    9:37 am October 12, 2012 Permalink

    What a horrible problem to have.



  12. FunJohnny
    9:43 am October 12, 2012 Permalink

    Love the Jayhawks reference!



  13. Coach Billy G
    9:45 am October 12, 2012 Permalink

    There is a difference between “signed” and “committed”. Players can commit anytime they want to but can’t sign until signing day. A commitment is not binding but a signed LOI is.



  14. Randy Marsh
    9:45 am October 12, 2012 Permalink

    Why do ppl get on here and blast the writer? If you don’t enjoy reading it, don’t read it. Also, it’s not like one can’t get through Nichols’ posts; they might not have the same humor as some other bloggers on KSR, but he gets the point across and the news, albeit often through an op-ed type piece, gets delivered. Ppl are simply too critical.



  15. Jay Wright NOVA
    9:50 am October 12, 2012 Permalink

    I played with 4 wing players for a couple of years, and we were pretty good!



  16. Straight Ryan Lemond
    9:52 am October 12, 2012 Permalink

    My wife’s name is A-Man-da!



  17. UKFaniac
    9:52 am October 12, 2012 Permalink

    And if we add Julius Randle? Wings Baby!!! Gotta love them wings!!!



  18. Billy G
    9:53 am October 12, 2012 Permalink

    This is not the University of James Young & Aaron & Andrew Harrison!!!



  19. BBN says
    9:55 am October 12, 2012 Permalink

    Assuming everyone stays, we actually have 6 scholarships assuming Polson doesn’t count. As Polson, Long & Molone are on scholarship this year, but necessarily next season.



  20. Cool
    10:42 am October 12, 2012 Permalink

    Would it not be cool to have all the top kids come back for another year? We could turn UK into a 2 and done place where your bench could theoretically start in the national championship every year. It’ll never happen, but imagine if this year we had:
    Davis
    Gilchrist
    Teague
    Wiltjer
    Cauley-Stein
    Goodwin
    Harrow
    Noel
    Poythress

    Then next year:
    Cauley-Stein
    Goodwin
    Harrow
    Noel
    Poythress
    Harrison
    Harrison
    Randle
    Young



  21. my abacus
    11:14 am October 12, 2012 Permalink

    thursday through thursday is 8 days, bro

    poythress already has an nba body, expect to go … goodwin is not really in the nba draft projections much, so … that would be pretty full if he comes back and wiggins reclassifies and comes aboard … that’s a lot of ifs to be worrying about, though … take any top talents that want the challenge of playing at uk, i’m down!



  22. Dave Ball
    11:56 am October 12, 2012 Permalink

    name one school (other than Kentucky) where a top 5 recruit says he won’t mind coming off the bench for a guy in his own recruiting class (JY on Andrew Wiggins)…hmm…I think Rathan-Mayes goes to Florida State and tries to lure AW to FSU…but in the end, playing with the Twins, Young, (assuming one or two of the following come as well Marcus Lee, Julius Randle or Aaron Gordon) is too much…but that would make 7 2013 recruits, A.Harrion, A.Harrison, J.Young, J.Randle, M.Lee, A.Wiggins, and D.Willis….hmm…lot of stuff to happen for that to occur…guess we’ll see in the spring…hoping Marcus Lee says yes at MMadness