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Looking ahead to next season

I just can’t get over the fact that basketball season is over. I was having too much fun, enjoying this team way too much to see it end… and see them leave. But that’s the nature of the program now — and something I know we’re all willing to deal with. Players come and go, and a new flock of youngsters will be on campus before you know it, ready to go for No. 9. What do we have to look forward to next season? A lot, actually.

At the point guard spot, the best case is Marquis Teague returns for another year. If there’s one guy who could use the extra year in college it’s Teague. That’s not to say he isn’t ready to make the leap — because the NBA drafts on potential — but he would certainly have the most to gain from a second season under Calipari.

Unlike the few seasons past, Calipari isn’t targeting a point guard this time, because he’s still got NC State transfer Ryan Harrow who is a stud in his own right. We heard during the preseason how quick Harrow was, and his ability to finish at the rim (in some cases, I think people said he could have started over Teague). Well now is his time to show the world what he can do. He’s going to be so far ahead of the game starting next season, even if Teague decides to go pro, the Cats will have an experienced point guard running the show from day one.

The shooting guard will most likely see Doron Lamb exit and Archie Goodwin enter. Goodwin is very much like Lamb in his pure scoring ability from outside, and he’s ranked the second shooting guard in the class. He committed way back in September of last year and has played a few games in the Bluegrass with his team from Arkansas already. Goodwin is going to be a fan favorite in Lexington (as most every player is) — he seems to have a very likable personality and has a desire for fan interaction that the Wildcat faithful loves.

But you can’t forget about Shabazz Muhammad. He’s said he wants to play shooting guard, despite having a body big enough to play the wing. The way he plays his game, he uses the position as a way to draw a defender away from the basket easier, opening the lane for a drive. I don’t think putting him at the wing the way Calipari runs his offense will slow that development necessarily, because Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was a slasher all day every day.

Muhammad could benefit from playing the three by using his bigger body to post up on smaller defenders (but that might be what he doesn’t want to do). Keep an eye on this: with Goodwin as a pure outside scorer, and Muhammad a power player who can drive the lane; that is two contrasting styles looking for the same position. Ultimately, Muhammad will likely play a shooting-guard style in the three-spot if he were to come to Kentucky. Of course, he may decide on UCLA and this debate will never come to fruition.

Alex Poythress will come in to (hopefully) play power forward, replacing Terrence Jones. At 6-8, 215 he’s a little small, but who says he can’t bulk up this offseason? If not, Kyle Wiltjer will have to step up and be the starter down low. That would take this team away from the basket considerably and force them to rely on outside shooting. Poythress is a baller and a perfect scrappy Calipari-type player, and many recruiting outlet say he improved his stock more than any other player in this class over the last several weeks of all-star games.

While all of Lexington aches to see Anthony Davis leave, a new figure is poised to step in to replace him. Nerlens Noel and his high top fade seem like a match made in heaven here in Lexington, considering the hype over Davis’ facial fur all season long. Noel is a lanky shot blocking machine just like Davis, and is a perfect fit in Calipari’s new lobtropolis offense. Noels has narrowed his choices to Georgetown and Kentucky, but Calipari has made it perfectly clear to him, no doubt, that Anthony Davis is the mold for what he could potentially become. If you want some hardware, Nerlens, Kentucky has a spot for you front and center.

There is a long way to go, and a big day is coming on Wednesday when both Shabazz Muhammad and Nerlens Noel are set to decide their college choices. I bought a couple of shirts at the UK bookstore the other day, and it finally hit me: Kentucky is National Champions. Don’t you think that’s cool ‘Bazz? Nerlens? Let’s enjoy this ride as top dog in college basketball.

Two huge pieces still need to come together for this next season to be a big one — and of course there are a few other targets out there on Calipari’s radar — but how does this 2012-13 starting lineup sound?

PG: Marquis Teague

SG: Archie Goodwin

SF: Shabazz Muhammad

PF: Alex Poythress

C: Nerlens Noel

BN: Ryan Harrow, Kyle Wiltjer

Can’t win with freshman, you say? Watch us.

Article written by Stuart Hammer

B.S. Broadcast Journalism from the University of Kentucky. @StuartHammerKSR

56 Comments for Looking ahead to next season

    9:35 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    wasnt there a post earlier saying teague is 100% gone?

  2. Cat fan in NC
    9:35 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    Where’s Hoody Hood?

  3. Old Henry Man
    9:36 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    Do not cout out Bennett at the 4 spot

  4. catsfan1965
    9:37 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    A) Teague is gone, there is no chance he comes back
    B) Have you ever watched Goodwin play? If so, you would never think of comparing him to Lamb, they are totally different players. Goodwin is not a good perimeter shooter, but he is amazing at getting to the rim and finishing or drawing a foul. When Lamb drives it is usually for a pull-up jumper or teardrop. Goodwin is quicker and more athletic than Lamb, but Lamb is a way better shooter than Goodwin will likely evrer be.

  5. KOKO
    9:38 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    Teague is gone, and Oriakhi will be here.

  6. Old Henry Man
    9:41 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    UK will get Oriakhi or Bennett

  7. Ike
    9:41 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    Im a little unclear on the MKG situation. The draft rule states that you must be 19 to enter but MKG is 18. He wont be 19 until September, so does that mean we could potentially see Gillie back for a sophomore season?

  8. DuPont
    9:42 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    If you are playing hypotheticals, why not include Oriakhi (higher probability of being there than Teague)? Kyle will probably start over Poythress.

  9. Han
    9:43 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    7) No, you have to turn 19 in the calendar year of the draft or be a year removed from high school.

  10. Adam
    9:43 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    Poythress is more of a three than a 4.

  11. 00BBN00
    9:43 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    Teague is long gone. No mention of Bennett? The kid is a beast and plays bigger than he is.

  12. 00BBN00
    9:46 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    8. Wiltjer will not start over Poythress. Why? Defense.

  13. 44 Stitches
    9:50 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    #4 and #6 I agree.

  14. Wewant9
    9:50 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    Matt please have a come to Jesus with some of your writers and lack of basketball IQ-knowledge. Too good of a site for stories on top of same stories

  15. richie farmer's stache
    9:52 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    Whoever write this blog entry get a clue… teague is NBA bound and bazz is ucla bound. Revise your lineup cuz all I see in your entry is wishful thinking.

  16. Dr. Funke
    9:53 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    New Kentucky basketball song and video –

  17. WhatSheOrder?FishFilet?
    9:53 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    The chance of this happening is about 0.0001%

  18. richie farmer's stache
    9:53 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    #7, you have to be 19 or one year removed from college… MKG is one year removed from college.

  19. Jumpman78
    9:54 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    19 in the calendar year of the draft or one year from high school which basically means every freshman player is eligible to go to the draft after their one year in college.

  20. Doug
    9:55 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    I agree I read this site everyday, and content is weakening. When Matt posted or Drew Franklin or even BTI I read it and it was usually on point. So many of these newby`s write sooo “young”. The site is at its weakest content wise right now. Please throw NOT Jerry Tipton off, it was good and cute at first and now its just a waste of space.

  21. richie farmer's stache
    9:56 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    #2, sorry to break the news but Hood is done. Purely mop up minutes unless Cal signs 0 players this signing period and hood is forced into action.

  22. WorstCaseScenario
    9:58 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    How about this for a challenge? The starting five and Darius Miller are gone to the NBA. Oriakhi and all the currently undecided recruits go elsewhere. Now who are your starting five and main reserves? This would let the basketball world know for sure how well Cal can coach.

  23. manbearpig
    9:59 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    Don’t forget got Willie Cauley coming in to and he’s also a stud

  24. Big Blue 66
    10:02 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    correct me if Im wrong, but isnt tomorrow the last day to declare for the draft? All our guys waiting till the last minute? I know most if not all major players are going, so Im not delusional, just asking if tomorrow is the day and if anyone has officially stated anything yet,

  25. Kirbdaddy
    10:03 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    I’m kind of worried about PG. Lamb filled in for Teague when he got in foul trouble or needed a breater. Will Polson actually get some clock or can Goodwin fill in at point if need be?

  26. CatFan22
    10:03 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    Just a terrible story.

    10:04 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    Is Harrow really supposed to be that good? I went to the students open practice and wasn’t impressed with him at all. He had a hard time even bringing the ball up the court with Teague guarding him. I hope he was just having a bad practice, and that he blows up next year. But, I sure didn’t see anything remotely like that in the practice I got to see.

  28. manbearpig
    10:05 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink


    PG: Harrow
    SG: Goodwin
    SF: Polythress
    PF: Wiltjer
    C: Cauley

    Hood, Polson, as reserves so this team would be severely undersized

  29. Big Blue 66
    10:05 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    dont forget twany either, I actually think he can contribute…nothing major but i think he will find the floor

  30. manbearpig
    10:06 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    #24 Yes tomorrow is the last day to declare their intentions, but can make a final decision on 4/29 so tomorrow expect everyone besides Davis to say they are coming back

  31. Fez Whatley
    10:06 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    This story is stu-pid.

  32. Jack
    10:09 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    24, you have until tomorrow to tell the university if you are returning or going, and right now most if not all players will say they are staying because once they say they’re gone, they sign an agent and are gone or you Terrence jones it and say you are declaring then come back. Most or all players will say they are staying, then waiting till the deadline for signing an agent to make their real decision. This is kind of a back way of getting more time to decide although I think most of the players minds are made up. Hope this clears up what you were looking for

  33. Big Blue 66
    10:09 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    30 thanks, so they have to state they intend to leave but if they dont hire an agent and get reviews that dont suite them, they can return by the 29th? Are there any pressers scheduled tomorrow for them to announce?

  34. Big Blue 66
    10:10 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    32, are you sure thats the way it is? why would they have a superficial date that doesnt mean anything?

  35. ty
    10:12 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    I am pretty sure you know nothing about who we have coming in. You are way off on almost this entire post.

  36. ukfan5
    10:13 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    PG: Harrow
    SG: Muhammed
    SF: Poythress
    PF: Wiljter
    C: Noel
    6th: Goodwin
    Most likely lineup if Noel and Muhammed commit to UK.

  37. manbearpig
    10:14 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    #34 Jack is right, the new rule is set up in usual NCAA fashion, with loopholes

  38. WhatSheOrder?FishFilet?
    10:16 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink


  39. Mr. Obvious
    10:18 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    When did Noel eliminate Syracuse?

  40. Big Blue 66
    10:20 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    cant take too much about Noels tweet, hell Cal may want to build hype of him announcing UK, you never know

  41. catsfan1965
    10:21 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    The NCAA deadline means nothing other than stopping potential draft entrants from getting the feedback they used to from NBA teams. There is no downside to waiting to declare until the 29th.

  42. Line four
    10:22 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    Better revise that line up boss, cuz we ain’t getting bazz-UCLA or nerlens-G’town.

  43. E
    10:24 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    We are getting Noel, Oriahki and Pollard. Bazz is gone and the staff like Oriahki more than Bennett because they feel he can be this teams Darius Miller.



  44. E
    10:28 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    We will be very very long and athletic, but less balanced. Next year we will be top 5, but 2013-14 will be even better than this year.

  45. Line four
    10:28 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    @43. better check twitter playboy.

  46. E
    10:30 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    Oriahki to the cats is a done deal, watch them back off Bennett.

  47. E
    10:32 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    45) You are silly if you think that means anything about his recruitment, Noel decided last weekend where he was going while in NO. You’ll see Wednesday.

  48. halls
    10:38 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    teagues gone no doubt.. he has a championship and is joining his fellow teamates in entering the nba draft

  49. yesterdays
    11:29 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    Pollard is not considering UK anymore. I am comparing Noel to Jon Henson, not Anthony Davis.

  50. Cking9698
    11:30 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    First off, ORIAKI, does not play power forward, only center.

    Second, he has no game outside of the post. Keep dreaming that he could play power forward. IT’S NOT HAPPENING.

    Third, BENNETT has a much better game. If you can’t see that E YOUR BLIND!!

  51. Cking9698
    11:31 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    Noel can’t hang, I bet he goes to Georgetown.

  52. Boogie
    11:34 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    Alex Poythress is a freak athlete and WILL be a better player than Terrence Jones. And he will play the 3 at the next level so he should play the 3 at KY. Hate to say it but Shabazz will be a bruin.

    1. Ryan Harrow
    2. Archie Goodwin
    3. Poythress
    4. Oriahki
    5. Noel

  53. Cking9698
    11:42 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    Ok everybody, just like everybody thinks Shabazz is a small forward, Oriaki is not a power forward!!!! Did anybody watch any UCONN GAMES THESE PAST THREE YEARS???? The kid has zero game out of the post, and was not effective. We don’t need a garbage man.

  54. emac
    7:38 am April 10, 2012 Permalink

    I agree with #42…we won’t be getting Shabazz or Noel. If Shabazz decides to go to Duke, I’m going to be on suicide watch! Feeling like next year may be a down year to our standards…top 15-20 during the regular season and sweet 16 in tourney.

  55. Brad
    8:30 am April 10, 2012 Permalink

    What about Amile Jefferson?

  56. yo
    8:42 am April 10, 2012 Permalink

    I know people have probably watch Bennet more then I have, but I’ve watched a couple Findley Prep games and i have not been very impressed with him at all. He seems lazy and talks a lot of trash to the other players. Just saying that from what I have seen, he doesn’t seem like a good fit for UK.