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Kyle Wiltjer’s best option is to redshirt next season at UK

Wiltjer_Kyle_TV Head 12-13

Earlier this morning, Matt shared the Portland Tribune interview with Kyle Wiltjer’s father with you in which he said that his son hasn’t decided whether or not he wants to leave UK. In fact, Greg Wiltjer said that his son is considering three options: a) playing at Kentucky next season, b) redshirting at Kentucky or c) transferring.

The reason Kyle is reconsidering his future at Kentucky is that he wants more playing time. Based on the three options he has before him, which is the best solution? Let’s take a look:

A) Play at Kentucky next season

In terms of playing time, this is the worst option for Kyle. Kyle would get minutes serving as the squad’s outside threat, but that’s about the only role he would play. I love Kyle, but he is too slow to keep up with this group and in order to keep up with Cal’s system in general, he desperately needs another year to bulk up and change his game.

B) Redshirt next season at Kentucky

Let’s call this the “Jeff Sheppard option.” As Drew Franklin pointed out last week, Kyle’s best choice may be to redshirt next season, “get fit,” and then come back with a vengeance for the 2014 season. He would have two years of eligibility remaining, and, with most of the 2013 team gone to the NBA, could be an integral part of the 2014 squad. For Kentucky, this is the best option as well. As we’ve seen, Cal’s squads do best when they have at least one strong veteran presence. A year in the gym would allow Kyle to do what he needs to do to get his body in the shape it needs to be for his future, and at the same time, he could stay in #LaFamilia. Also, as we’ve discussed before, there’s the all-important girlfriend factor. Wiltjer’s dad said that Calipari has already approved this possibility, and that if Kyle does return to UK, he hopes he’ll exercise this option.

C) Transfer

Wiltjer visited Gonzaga last week and it seems the most likely destination if he does transfer. If that’s the case, Kyle will get minutes in a system more tailored to his style after sitting out for a year, which will give him a chance to rebuild his body. However, that would mean the end of his career as a Kentucky Wildcat, something he says has been near and dear to his heart. Also something to consider: if Kyle does go to Gonzaga, what will that mean for his draft stock in a few years? At UK, he has the tools, exposure, and the “Kentucky effect” to make the most of his stock, but he has to put in the work.

All in for Option B, say aye. Aye!

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

49 Comments for Kyle Wiltjer’s best option is to redshirt next season at UK

  1. marc
    11:20 am July 1, 2013 Permalink


  2. catfan
    11:27 am July 1, 2013 Permalink

    Friend of mine close to wiltjer told me that he asked to redshirt from the beginning but was denied the option and thats what started the whole transfer process. Dont know how true it is, but the original letter he released about working on his body is apparently what he had approached team about in first place. Hope he stays but I dont think the redshirt is an option.

  3. P
    11:28 am July 1, 2013 Permalink

    Kyle tried to redshirt, and Cal told him it wasn’t going to happen.

  4. Brad
    11:29 am July 1, 2013 Permalink

    Draft stock?

  5. tom
    11:29 am July 1, 2013 Permalink

    Bravo Mrs T. This is the article that should have been written instead of BTI’s this morning. Also glad KSR took that earlier one down.

  6. DH
    11:29 am July 1, 2013 Permalink

    2) If I read it correctly, Wiltjer’s dad said Cal has already approved the redshirt option.

  7. Jughead
    11:30 am July 1, 2013 Permalink

    He needs to chum up with Pete Rose Jr.

  8. valuemartchris
    11:33 am July 1, 2013 Permalink

    His body might change, but does that mean he will get quicker? If he is still too slow on defense after a year, what good will it do him?

  9. Champ
    11:34 am July 1, 2013 Permalink

    1) B
    2) A
    3) C

  10. tyson
    11:34 am July 1, 2013 Permalink

    The best option for Kyle is to transfer. I have never heard of a guy “bulking up” and getting FASTER. He is already too slow for Cal’s system. He can’t/won’t play defense. He would be better off in a system that plays to his strengths. UK is not that place.

    Now, what’s best for Cal is a different story. Transfers hurt image–yes they happen all the time but it still hurts the overall image. Cal wants bodies to practice with and threaten starters with (decreased playing time).

  11. bill
    11:36 am July 1, 2013 Permalink

    Maybe no one has noticed…he didn’t put any work in during last years off-season to change his body

  12. kentuckyjoe
    11:39 am July 1, 2013 Permalink


  13. Chuck
    11:40 am July 1, 2013 Permalink

    I hope he redshirts here ! I like him ! Go Big Blue !

  14. KyISourGuy
    11:43 am July 1, 2013 Permalink

    Kyle needs to do speed and agility drills, strength training, lose body fat, do some churchills, practice against the best HERE, then be Jeff Shepherd upon return. Same as I said 3 weeks ago.

  15. Musehobo
    11:44 am July 1, 2013 Permalink

    Why would Cal care if Kyle redshirts? One less scholarship in 2 years? Not a big deal to Cal. Experience, is something he knows he needs.

    BTW, thanks TT for not being a total idiot like BTI and posting about why we don’t need Kyle. Total asshat.

  16. Wildcatsteeler
    11:45 am July 1, 2013 Permalink

    C. Get lost confused baby.

  17. Biglaw Dawgin'
    11:49 am July 1, 2013 Permalink

    Kyle definitely needs a year to get bigger, stronger, faster. Work on upper and lower body strength while also doing a LOT of work on plyometric type quickness drills. (#10, it is possible). Kyle is a little too young to start putting on real strength. Most kids don’t until they’re at least 21.

  18. JortJort
    11:49 am July 1, 2013 Permalink

  19. cracka
    11:51 am July 1, 2013 Permalink

    any opinion coming from someone with “steeler” in their name i’m going to disgree with automatically on principle … but i don’t understand why he just now understands he needs to get in better shape after all this time … what did he do between the end of last season and now? get to work, kyle, and practice against the best here at uk if you want to play ball after college.

  20. Sam
    11:54 am July 1, 2013 Permalink


    I’d miss him this year, but 5 years in college would do him wonders. Plus, that means he’ll probably get 25 minutes a game his last two years, assuming he gets quicker and can guard somebody.

    Quick question: if he does redshirt this year, and we win it all, would he get a ring?

  21. ajh
    11:56 am July 1, 2013 Permalink

    I agree with #20. and yes he would get a ring. No doubt about it.

  22. dude
    12:05 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    he gone

  23. thats budda
    12:07 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    Adios muchacho

  24. Mc
    12:12 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    Would he also face an issue with minutes in next year’s class? If we have Towns, who can play this role, and also land Lyles and Alexander, and say Dakari or Lee returns, then what? After his freshman year he had a great opportunity to work on these issues, and improve his game. Maybe he put too much pressure on himself, and it hurt his game IDK. However, he didn’t show much improvement when he had the opportunity to lead by example. I guess if he does take a year and work on these issues it’s better late than never, but I believe if he wants minutes Gonzaga is the place to go because next year’s class is loaded in the front court too.

  25. catfan
    12:18 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    6) If that is true then maybe coaching staff has changed their mind realizing that if it ever came out that they would deny his redshirt, it would look bad publicly and for future recruits. If they preach player first program then they need to follow through, even for players who aren’t future lottery picks as sustaining the recruiting these 5 yrs will not continue forever. Best of luck to Kyle whatever he decides.

  26. Lenerd
    12:26 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    #18: You just made the sting of the possibility of Wiltjer leaving seem somewhat amusing for me.

  27. JBazz
    12:28 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    Don’t kid yourself–we want and need Kyle back for 2014-15. I think the light went on this year about working on his body when he struggled a lot more than he thought he would. A guy with his size and skills is hard to come by. Just give him a year off to work out and mature more physically while playing against elite players and then lace ’em up 15 months from now and kill it. Foot speed will always be an issue, so he’s got to add 15-20 pounds of bulk to play the 4 spot and be a guy you can pick-and-pop with or post. EVERY system can use a guy like that.

  28. steve
    12:31 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    Mr Wiltjer,
    To both father and son. I love having Kyle at Ky. He will always be a part of our BBN (family). I don’t believe we have ever done any of our family wrong. I look forward to you on the court for us in the future.

  29. Patty San
    12:33 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink


  30. Katfan
    12:47 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    We want you back Kyle. Stick with us. You’re a championship Cat.

  31. 66CATSFAN1948
    12:58 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    Aye! Redshirt and do the work. BBN loves some Kyle Wiltjer. Playing time will come with improved body and speed. We saw the skills at times, and we will need him more in 2014 and 2015. Think of this, improvements made will translate to MONEY at the next level!

  32. Chief_cat
    1:05 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    Hard to say what is the best option at this point. We won’t know for sure until all this plays out. Until then we can only speculate. Selfishly though, I want Kyle to stay. He’s got a unique skill set and when he isn’t distracted he is one of the best shooters at the college level. He has size and if he can gain some strength and agity can be a much more effective offensive player in the paint.

    Most of all, I think his heart is here. I believe he totally embraces the BBN and wants to remain a part of it every bit as much as most of us want him to stay. I’d love to see him redshirt, gain some strength and really blossom his last two years. It would be awesome to see him at center court with his parents on Senior Day in 2016!

  33. dustyblues77
    1:05 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    Stoops called and wants Kyle back in blue. He wants to here a YAHTZAAAAYEEEE!!!!!

  34. brain
    1:25 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    A or B for me.

  35. Delk for 3
    1:30 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    I’m telling you all, Cal wants Kyle to go. Cal knows Kyle is a player that deserves some playing time at the D-1 level due to his unique skills, but he also knows Kyle just doesn’t fit into what he wants to do with his program. Kyle just slows down the team on the offensive and defensive ends. If you are going to be slow in Cal’s system, you better be able to rebound and defend the rim like a beast — Kyle can do neither. In the end, Cal really cares about the kid and doesn’t want him rotting away on the bench, but at the same time he will rarely play this upcoming season. Therefore, Cal wants Kyle to leave and do what’s best for both parties.

  36. Huh???
    1:37 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    Rebuild his body over a redshirt year? What the heck has he been doing during the off-season over the past two years?

  37. Kevin C.
    1:42 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    Kyle’s a good kid…but he needs to figure out that the time he’s spending “chillin’ wit da Goonies”, making silly Youtube vids, is time better spent in the weightroom, shooting, etc. If he really wants to make it in the NBA, he has to dedicate himself to the sport.

  38. jpizzle
    1:43 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink


  39. b
    2:30 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    Aye for A or B!!

  40. Mack
    2:34 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    Kevin C. nailed it!

  41. J in Orlando
    2:45 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    35 No he doesn’t…Cal hasn’t run an identical offense any 2 years he has been at UK. What he wants is for Kyle to put in the work to develop physically. He wants him to learn to be more effective closer to the basket on both ends of the floor. He also wants his shooting to break zones so teams have to guard our players one on one. Its really up to Kyle what he wants to do. If he is willing to work his best chance to become a pro is at UK, but like Cal says he cant hide a player…all the exposure the next few teams will get will only help Kyle’s prospects if he improves.

  42. Bringith
    3:18 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    Sounds like Cal needs to hire Tony Horton for some P90X. I hate it but I love it.

  43. Stan
    4:22 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    Well said #37!

  44. Delk for 3
    4:30 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    41 — I disagree. Sure he would like a more in-shape and athletic Kyle, but he hasn’t got it yet and therefore he doesn’t want to make exceptions to what he wants to do with this year’s team for a slow perimeter player and a liability on defense. Kyle just hasn’t panned out to what was thought of him coming out of high school. Sure, Cal will be happy to have a player of Kyle’s caliber to sit on his bench, but Cal knows Kyle can go somewhere else and play a ton.

  45. soggyUKgrad
    6:25 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    I really like Wiltjer and would love to see him be successful at UK….but he has been working with Rock Oliver for TWO years and his body has changed very little!! Why hasn’t he put on any muscle already?!?

  46. UK Joe
    6:58 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink


  47. backpack
    9:12 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    Why wouldn’t he redshirt this season at UK and then review his options wouldnt he be able to play right away if he redshirts and then transfers somewhere else?

  48. kwd
    10:43 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    Who was the training-guru that Patrick Patterson and Blake Griffin both used for one off-season? IIRC, the guy has some unconventional training methods, but works wonders. I think it’s clear that PP and BG both benefitted. Perhaps KW would, too?

  49. Megan
    1:17 am July 2, 2013 Permalink

    Option B doesn’t make a lot of sense. Why do we assume the 2014 class won’t be as good or as deep as 2013, particularly at the forward positions?

    Kyle could redshirt and find himself in exactly the same position he does now. Then he’d lose a year of eligibility if he transfers.

    No, it’s going to take some concession from Calipari to keep him here. We saw Cal give Patterson a chance to develop his outside game. Maybe he can help Kyle develop the game he wants to develop. But I don’t see him promising not to recruit over Kyle. That’s asking too much.