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On the Issue of Talent

Much has been made in the last couple of weeks about the question of whether Kentucky has enough “talent” to compete in the SEC and whether, by the University’s standards, this team is the equivalent of the mighty Red Bird trying to compete in the 13th Region. While it has been generally accepted that the talent level at UK is down, I think that is an exaggeration, if not a complete falsehood.

As of now, Kentucky has 13 players either on scholarship or in the rotation. Three of those are McDonald’s All Americans:

Rajon Rondo
Randolph Morris
Joe Crawford

While these young men have at times been frustrating, all could play for virtually any team in the country and no one can question their ability. Another player has NBA potential and was a near-miss for the McD’s game

Ramel Bradley

Another two players are not necessarily guys that Kentucky would want coming out of high school, but they are from the state and have shown the ability to compete on this level

Patrick Sparks
Ravi Moss

Three more players are “glue guys”, players that over the years have excelled at Kentucky, and are essential to any winning team

Bobby Perry
Sheray Thomas
Rekalin Sims

One player is a bit of an unknown, but was recruited by UNC and Illinois and has the potential to be very good

Jared Carter

That leaves three players who I think, may not be “Kentucky caliber”

Shagari Alleyne
Brandon Stockton
Woo

Now as everyone knows, I love Woo and think he gives you all that he can, but is not an impactful player….however he could be the 10th man in a rotation.

Finally, there is one player who we know little to nothing about

Adam Williams

Now does that team not have enough talent to succeed? I submit that is simply a fallacy. There have only been a couple of teams in the last 25 years that have had the amount of talent at the top that this team has, and while much of the potential has not been reached, the “talent” is there. The problem for Tubby is not that there is no talent, it is that the talent is not spread out. Until Morris came back, there were no Kentucky caliber players at the 5 and the players at the 4 were usually out of position trying to play on the low block.

So what is the solution? I think the suggestions made recently by Larry Vaught and Gregg Doyel ring true. Go with four guards and Morris, with Perry, Sparks, Sims and Thomas coming off the bench. It opens up the court for our guards to penetrate and allows the team to use its strengths and hide its weaknesses. Rebounding will be weak, but it is already terrible, so what do they have to lose?

Article written by Matt Jones