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Keith Clanton, you say? Could be a great fit.

Some interesting news broke yesterday as we shared that University of Central Florida’s Keith Clanton planned to transfer, and was considering UK and Florida State.  With Julius Mays and Ryan Harrow on board, would Cal be willing to add a third transfer?  After looking at how he could benefit the Wildcats, he’s definitely worth a look, at the very least.

As mentioned yesterday, Clanton would be able to play immediately due to UCF’s current, ahem, penalized situation.  That gives Cal plenty of motivation to go out and add the big guy to the roster; we had to wait a year for Harrow, we wouldn’t have to wait a game for Keith.  But because he’s immediately available, he’d add a fourth body to the frontcourt, and especially add depth at the power forward position.  Currently, Nerlens Noel and WCS play more like 5s, at least in the college game.  Expect to see them hover around the rim, blocking shots and generally wreaking havoc.  Unless one of them has a killer jumper that we don’t know about, don’t plan on seeing them get too far outside the paint offensively.  Cal’s mentioned playing them both together, but that might not happen as frequently as we suspect.  Conversely, Kyle Wiltjer plays almost exactly opposite.  A smooth shooter and scorer when he’s not crowded, Wiltjer will see plenty of time on the wing, spacing the  floor for penetrators and catching kicked out passes for open looks.

One of the good things about Clanton is that his game is slightly more versatile than those three.  He can certainly be a banger inside, at 6’9″, 245 lbs., but he also shot 34% last season from three, on 3.5 attempts per game.  Is that life-altering?  Well, no.  Certainly Kyle does that better.  But it’s a touch of the unexpected for an otherwise scripted frontcourt.  His FT% is about what you’d expect from a big man not named Wiltjer at 59% (it got as high as 68% his sophomore year), but his blocks, rebounds, FG%, and points per game all look pretty good.  As Drew mentioned, he was UCF’s leading shot-blocker, and playing a few minutes with him and Nerlens on the floor would certainly give opposing teams flashbacks to this past year.  While Clanton doesn’t necessarily do one thing phenomenally, he does a lot of things very well.  That’s a perfect spot for a 6th or 7th man, because there are multiple positions he can sub in for in the rotation.

The best thing about Clanton, though, is that he is going into his senior year.  And that’s not just great because the team could use more veterans, it’s great because that means we’ll have plenty of scholarships available for 2013.  That sounds callous, but it’s really not.   The top group in next year’s class is being hailed as the best since 2007, and if Wiggins decides to reclassify, you can move that date back a few years.  With 75% of them interested in Kentucky, Coach Cal needs every scholarship he can get.  Talented transfer players like Julius Mays, and Clanton should he pick UK, give us exactly what we need: capable players that can help us win now, but still leave a lot of flexibility for next year.  As Cal plans ahead, and is looking at the inevitable logjam at the scholarship line with the 2013 group, that Clanton has just a year before getting his degree has to be a very big positive.

So who knows what Clanton will decide; it may be easier for him to stay close by and attend Florida State.  But should he want to play for, and help the title chances of the Wildcats, I think we’d really be glad to have him.  We know Cal likes a small rotation in the spring, but having depth during the early part of the season will help the team grow and find its strengths without floundering a whole lot out of the gate.  Clanton has the potential to be a great asset to this team, with no apparent downside.  Count me among those ready to see him in Blue.

Article written by Corey Nichols

35 Comments for Keith Clanton, you say? Could be a great fit.

  1. Stu D. Baker
    9:14 am August 8, 2012 Permalink

    So you guys have to rely on transfers from Wright State and UCF? That’s cool… LOL.

  2. Rxwildcat
    9:16 am August 8, 2012 Permalink

    He’d be a great addition to warm the bench and/or pick up 3-4 hard fouls a game…

  3. Kidnut
    9:18 am August 8, 2012 Permalink

    Leader Desslock does not like a man who laughs at his own jokes.

  4. Prick Latino
    9:27 am August 8, 2012 Permalink

    I wanna wash Cal’s car.

  5. Get Real
    9:29 am August 8, 2012 Permalink

    #1–We rely on Cal. Seems to be working ok don’t you think?

  6. Azubuike's Bicep
    9:30 am August 8, 2012 Permalink

    1- Eight Championships with the most recent being this past year, is ALSO cool. Don’t you think?

  7. Justin
    9:33 am August 8, 2012 Permalink

    1. Don’t sleep on the guys talent level. I will happily fill our bench with D-1 standouts. Who cares if he is at UCF? If he can play, he can play. Guys fly under the radar out of high school all the time. Kids don’t develop at the same pace. If Cal takes a look at him and thinks he is a fit… Then he is likely a fit. There is no question he can be a strong role player on a National Championship team.

    He wouldn’t have been the worst player on the bench last year and look how that season turned out.

  8. Han
    9:34 am August 8, 2012 Permalink

    If he’s willing to be a 6th or 7th man in his senior season for a chance at a title and perhaps improving his draft stock, sounds good.

    But if he wants playing time, he probably goes somewhere else.

    1) Because no one from non-elite teams ever ends up being a good player.

  9. DavenderCatTheSequel
    9:37 am August 8, 2012 Permalink

    1) Why are you laughing? Your team is UK’s concubine. See: Champions, National. We “LOL” collectively @ you.

  10. ktmiln2
    9:39 am August 8, 2012 Permalink

    I don’t see why we wouldn’t take him, assuming his academics and all that jazz are in order. He has one year left, we have an open scholarship. What’s to lose?

  11. good fit
    9:43 am August 8, 2012 Permalink

    Just watched his player profile from UCF, seems like a good teammate, hard worker and a high character guy. If he is willing to sacriface personal stats, he could be a real asset and a banger down low with real toughness. Interested to see how his story unfolds. Has Cal/staff been in any contact wiht him?

  12. SMLEKU23
    9:43 am August 8, 2012 Permalink

    Really Corey? – He was just the leading shot blocker on a team that played in the CUSA. He is a second tier player at best in the SEC. He is also from Orlando and Mama comes to every home game.

  13. Scottydee
    9:44 am August 8, 2012 Permalink

    As we are seeing with Cal’s teams, we are almost always going to be young. Why not grab a senior or 2 transfer every year to provide experience and leadership. We probably don’t win that title without Darius Miller. Perhaps this is the new formula. Elite youngsters with some experience sprinkled in. If he and Mayes can fill the departed Miller’s shoes we have to take him.

  14. Corey Nichols
    9:46 am August 8, 2012 Permalink

    12 – Really. Talent is as talent does. And wouldn’t mama be proud that her son is playing for the reigning National Champs?

  15. Head Bussa
    9:49 am August 8, 2012 Permalink

    I clearly see what Cal is doing. He noticed how a mix of mostly youth with some good experience won a national championship last season. He is gonna try to do the same this year. He’s got the fantastic youth, so now he is bringing in some good players who are OLDER guys (in Mays and Clanton) who will be wise and knowledgable about how to play at the D-I level. These guys will carry our youth with their knowledge and our youth will carry them with their freakish talent. It works both ways. Hopefully, it works so well that UK gets #9!

  16. Head Bussa
    9:51 am August 8, 2012 Permalink

    13 — You are thinking how I am thinking. ^^^

  17. RUPPS_rhetoric
    10:09 am August 8, 2012 Permalink

    12) You know who else were leading players in CUSA? Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans, Chris Douglas Roberts, Kenyon Martin, etc… Not saying that this kid is anywhere on those guys levels, but that’s absurd to dismiss him because he was in CUSA. Hell even Francisco Garcia, Taquan Dean, and Reece Gains were CUSA players. I know they were Cards, but calling a spade a spade, they were pretty good players.

  18. Smyrna_Cat
    10:10 am August 8, 2012 Permalink

    So Corey, how many times have you actually seen Clanton play? It must be a lot to be qualified to write an op-ed like this. Otherwise it would be silly … like writing a movie review without actually going to see the movie.

  19. Cats
    10:36 am August 8, 2012 Permalink

    Has anyone here realized that the SEC stinks of ass. They do not recruit many top players. Just because we get top 25s all of the time does not mean he cannot provide us with quality play. I beleive someone said he was All-Conference USA and UCF was a top 20 team almost all last year. I believe the top five players in every mid major conference could make any roster in the country, see Isiah Cannan, Jimmer Fridette, Doug McDermott etc. Yeah, those guys were POY candidates, and I know this guy isnt that good, but we shouldn’t sleep on him because he is from UCF. I honestly think he would be much more of an asset than most people on here believe. We are not as strong a team this year. We will drop 5-7 games and I do not necessarily think an Elite 8 is a lock. Duke, Notre Dame, and Louisville can easily easily easily easily beat us early. The latter two probably will. We need more older guys on the squad who would not freeze when we find ourselve in a minor deficit. Don’t be picky guys, as quickly as Cal has transformed our program it can explode as well. Give the guy a chance.

  20. Cats
    10:37 am August 8, 2012 Permalink

    Oh and get your heads out of your asses

  21. UKBlue1!
    10:57 am August 8, 2012 Permalink

    Clanton could be the missing piece. If there are no character flaws why not offer him a chance to play?

  22. Go Deep
    11:32 am August 8, 2012 Permalink

    Wonder what that does to our APR if transferring seniors come in and then leave without graduating. Just because he’s a senior eligibility speaking doesn’t mean that he’s a lock to graduate next May. But I’m sure Cal has all that under control, just wondering.

  23. Will S
    12:04 pm August 8, 2012 Permalink

    I don’t see a guy that’s an all-Conference USA player and senior, settling to be the 7th man. He will go to FSU where he could start and get immediate playing time. He’s not going to improve his NBA stock coming off the bench for 10-12min/game at UK.

    But I’m sure as soon as he decides to stay at UCF or go to FSU, the “Cal didn’t want him anyway”, or the “he’s overrated” chants will begin to rain down from the BBN.

  24. Will S
    12:09 pm August 8, 2012 Permalink

    FSU only returns 1 player from their frontcourt, Okaro White. This guy would be a starter and have an instant impact there. It’s also closer to home, and a step-up in the ACC from Conference USA.

    If you were a senior and this was your last shot at college basketball, would you want to back up 2 freshman or start alongside a junior?

  25. cracka
    12:10 pm August 8, 2012 Permalink

    “planned to transfer” … you sure about that? everything on ksr yesterday said he might decide to transfer and if he did he may consider uk and fsu

  26. BigBlue
    12:26 pm August 8, 2012 Permalink

    Who cares if he comes from UCF!? If he can help the team win and has no off the court issues..sign him up if he is open to transferring! Let Cal make the recruiting calls…he is doing ok so far.

  27. SeoulCat
    12:39 pm August 8, 2012 Permalink

    #1. Let’s see, Damian Willard from Weber St. was drafted #6 overall in this year’s draft. Andrew Nicholson from St. Bonaventure went #19 overall this year, as well. Jorts came from Southwestern Illinois, and Isaiah Canaan from Murray St. is a lock for the first round in 2013. Any doubts that NBA talent exists on the mid-major level? Do keep in mind that neither Mays nor Clanton would start for UK, but simply fill out the bench and provide depth.

    #23 If Cal got a guy like Jorts into the league, and sent bench/role players like Liggins, Orton, and Miller into the draft, why would A). playing for a national title at a blue blood program that gets great exposure B). for a coach that has a proven track record of getting his guys on NBA rosters be less appealing than playing for a second-tier program (i.e. Florida St.) that has lesser chance of achieving either A or B?

  28. Musehobo
    1:06 pm August 8, 2012 Permalink

    Scout had him as the 19th best PF in 2009, a 4 star recruit. I say if he’s got a good attitude, good grades, and doesn’t mind riding the pine…sign him up. But I trust in Cal. Whatever he decides will be the best decision.

  29. Will S
    1:45 pm August 8, 2012 Permalink

    27) Again, why would he choose to come off the bench rather than start? And FSU has a great program with plenty of ACC-esque exposure. We’ll see if the Senior wants to play 2nd fiddle to Freshmen, or start.

  30. Will S
    1:46 pm August 8, 2012 Permalink

    27) Also, the dude went to UCF. I don’t think he was aiming for a national championship with that decision. And I’m sure you’ll be the first guy standing up saying “Cal didn’t want him” if he doesn’t choose UK.

    See: Shabazz, Amile, Bennett, Oriakhi, and every other recruit that chose a school other than UK.

  31. ukhemingway
    1:49 pm August 8, 2012 Permalink

    This guy will probably start for UK if he comes. He is a true power forward who can do everything. He will not be some guy buried on the bench. 25 min a game and playing evrey day in practice with 6 other nba players and coached by the best in the country. And a chance to win it all while playing on the biggest stage. If he chooses FSU, he chooses to be less. Seven months away from mom might turn into NBA money and he’s 21 now, not some young kid. Bring him on board Cal.

  32. CATS
    1:50 pm August 8, 2012 Permalink

    #24 – I don’t know, why don’t you ask Julius Mays. He was a transfer senior also and decided to come to Kentucky and be the 6th or 7th man instead of going to Purdue and becoming a starter. He chose the best team over the most playing time. Plus, Purdue was closer to his home and was his favorite college team. He continued to watch their games even when playing at NC State. Every player’s goals in college basketball are different. Some want to go where they know they will start, get plenty of minutes, and can improve their stats. Some go where they know they will have to sacrifice their own personnel gain for the good of the team. They go where they will win. That’s Julius Mays. The question is, which one of those two types of players is Keith Clanton going to be.

  33. CATS
    2:02 pm August 8, 2012 Permalink

    #31 – I’m with you on this. I think he will start too unless Kyle Wiltjer becomes 10x stronger, a better rebounder, and a better defender. We all know Kyle can score, but it really doesn’t help if he’s scoring and then allowing his man to come right back down the court and score on him. I really hope Kyle does prove everyone wrong. He still has a few months to bulk up, but it’s not likely he’ll become the all-star we all want him too until his junior year at least. I think Clanton is pretty much competing for WCS for the 4 spot if he comes. I feel like he might have a slight edge over him too, just because WCS is more of a 5 man. He’s 7ft tall after all!

  34. wbguitar08
    3:34 pm August 8, 2012 Permalink

    know its been said – many times, many ways…In Cal We Trust. You think Cal & Kenny can’t coach him up? Have you seen what he’s done in 3 seasons? My question is – there is speculation about this guy – anyone know if he is actually considering UK? Are the coaches actually considering him?

  35. justafan
    5:38 pm August 8, 2012 Permalink

    I’d be surprised if Clanton ended up at UK. He quit looking at Cincy and a couple other schools because he would have to compete with others for playing time at the 4 and 5. At FSU, he would be a go to guy from day one. Wouldn’t get too excited about this one.