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Ryan Harrow, Kyle Wiltjer, and the Art of the Pick and Pop

Depending on how the Montrezl Harrell situation plays out, its possible that John Calipari could end up missing out on every elite power forward prospect in the 2012 class. If you told me that Calipari, possibly the greatest recruiter ever, would struggle finding players coming off of his first national title, I would simply call you a liar. But it has happened, and no one could have seen it coming. Wiltjer is the lone player left from the championship team that played significant minutes. He is also the most logical starter at the four spot next season, even with a Harrell commitment. What Wiltjer brings to the basketball court is special. He is a lengthy, 6’9 forward, that is deadly from beyond the arc. Its a lethal combination, and teams are going to struggle to guard him. You can’t put a smaller guy on Wiltjer because he can just shoot over them, and usually the power forwards that would have to guard him, aren’t comfortable playing defense at the perimeter. Perfecting a pick and pop play for Wiltjer and point guard, Ryan Harrow, would not only give him a signature way to score buckets, it would also be a play that Coach Cal’s offense would be able to rely on when the offense stagnates.

So, how does a pick and pop play work? Well here is a tutorial that I found:

It’s been a long time since Calipari had an experienced point guard running his show. From what I’ve seen of Harrow, he’s an explosive, heady, point guard that will thrive in the dribble drive offense. There won’t be a learning curve for him after a year of participating in Kentucky practices. With Harrow knowing the offense, it will help ease the freshmen into their collegiate careers as well. There will be no doubt that at some point Calipari will have to rely on the experience of Harrow and Wiltjer, and the pick and pop is the perfect play to cater to the strengths of both these players.

Article written by Rashawn Franklin

45 Comments for Ryan Harrow, Kyle Wiltjer, and the Art of the Pick and Pop

  1. Somervillain
    9:40 pm May 21, 2012 Permalink

    I think Poythress counts as an elite PF, even if he spends most of his time at the three.

  2. Huh?
    9:42 pm May 21, 2012 Permalink


  3. UKMike
    9:45 pm May 21, 2012 Permalink

    what’s being left out of this discussion is Wiltjer’s obvious defense liability. Kyle just doesn’t have the brawn, quickness, or hops. Cal’s teams start with defense. In each year he’s been at UK, coach has had an athletic defense stud at PF. Harrell could be that piece if he committed.

  4. Roland
    9:48 pm May 21, 2012 Permalink

    Could be the bar is set @ UK. If you can’t rock, don’t roll. 17, 18. or even 19 years old. You have to ask yourself, can I do that? Dark Shadows.

  5. Bleaker
    9:57 pm May 21, 2012 Permalink

    3- you are forgetting that Kyle is a true freshman. Jesus, what do you expect of him? Give him some time to develop defensively.

  6. Bob Day
    10:01 pm May 21, 2012 Permalink

    I predict this will be the year it is revealed that Kyle Wiltjer is the “World’s Tallest Six Year Old.” Just kidding, Kyle…drop the jewels, grow some hairs, hit the weight room, and you’ll be fine. 😉

  7. bmac
    10:07 pm May 21, 2012 Permalink

    The most logical conclusion here is that Cal cheats and the recruits are becoming more ethical.

  8. C'mon Guys
    10:13 pm May 21, 2012 Permalink

    Kyle will never be quick. That being said if he hits the weight room he will not be as big a defensive liability. You need quickness or strength to offset on defense. That being said Cal will have him ready to go by next March and Kyle will probably be in the NBA next season because of it.

  9. intheknow
    10:13 pm May 21, 2012 Permalink

    Hearing the tards are going to sign two players for this year. Buckles is headed to fiu and marra will walk on. His family is loaded and they will pay his way. That rick sure is sneaky.

  10. Bob Day
    10:14 pm May 21, 2012 Permalink

    #8, I agree on both latter points.

  11. Roland
    10:17 pm May 21, 2012 Permalink

    7, is that what your “Time” front page momma told ya?

  12. BigBlue
    10:24 pm May 21, 2012 Permalink

    Wiltjer will be great offensively but #3 is dead on. His defense is no where near where it needs to be…not his fault, he just takes a little longer to develop. He will be a great scorer but I do not believe he will be able to handle that position full time unless his defense has improved drastically. The other thing is…we need more than one guy that can shoot from outside. Pick and pop doesn’t work so well win you only have ONE guy that can shoot from outside.

  13. Hicks
    10:29 pm May 21, 2012 Permalink

    When exactly did Harrell become elite? When we started recruiting him? Cal only missed out on Bennett and I guess you could say Bazz. And you say he’s struggling to find players? The number 1 recruiting class begs to differ. Sometimes I feel like a really bad informed UK fan is telling you what to write in your posts Mr. Franklin.

  14. UKMike
    10:35 pm May 21, 2012 Permalink

    5 – I expect a PF that has strength, speed, and can rebound ala Patterson, Jones, Cousins – all had quicks and hops to help your other big haul in some boards. Nerlans will be a board eater, but there’ll be teams where the beef down low will keep him from rebounding. Kyle cannot help in that regard. He’s a great shooting freshman, but his frame and speed suggests he won’t be what we need on the defensive or offensive glass.

  15. Voice of Reason
    10:36 pm May 21, 2012 Permalink

    News flash: you can play PF without having to be a thug. Kyle will be fine. We will just need our SF and C to be good rebounders. AD and MKG anyone?

  16. Voice of Reason
    10:37 pm May 21, 2012 Permalink

    Add this to 15:

    Be good rebounders AND defenders. Jorts and DeAndre too.

  17. flatahousum
    10:37 pm May 21, 2012 Permalink

    #12- insert Julius Mays

  18. Jim
    10:39 pm May 21, 2012 Permalink

    @9, if the Tards run off Buckles because he is injured and sign other players, then every coach in the nation, including Cal, needs to use that against Louisville when recruiting. That is pathetic. Did Cal run off Jon Hood last year? Heck no, and we could have used a few extra players, especially with Poole leaving. If a coach runs players off because they are injured, that player should make a public spectacle out of it. I can’t believe Pitino would risk everything to push a few players out because he thinks he has a chance at a title this year. That ain’t going to happen. But I sure hope the recruits take notice of how he treats his players. He is a genuine POS.

  19. jaaaaaayyyyyy
    10:53 pm May 21, 2012 Permalink

    Not sure why you aren’t counting Alex Poythress as an elite PF. He is not a center, and he seems more of PF than a wing.

    I do think it is strange we missed out on the other forwards we recruited.

  20. poopie pants
    11:01 pm May 21, 2012 Permalink

    why did that remind me of Uncle Rico’s football videos ?

  21. UK Freshmen
    11:01 pm May 21, 2012 Permalink

    What??? Did we run out of cold, hard cash already? Hint: Good ole’ Kyle can’t play defense worth a lick.

  22. Bluebeard
    11:05 pm May 21, 2012 Permalink

    How much does Wiltjer look like Phillip Phillips on American Idol?

  23. UK Freshmen
    11:05 pm May 21, 2012 Permalink

    Also….’develop defensively’?? You can’t develop leaping ability, quickness, and overall talent. Sorry.

  24. Wiltjer
    11:10 pm May 21, 2012 Permalink

    21. watch this (sophomore season)_hit.

  25. 3 Goggles
    11:14 pm May 21, 2012 Permalink

  26. bmac
    11:17 pm May 21, 2012 Permalink

    11, no but my momma did teach me about sarcasm.

  27. Roland
    11:24 pm May 21, 2012 Permalink

    26, did she tell ya, Sarcasm doesn’t play well in forums. and especially if you don’t have vid link. Hats off to your Mom.

  28. Parker
    11:27 pm May 21, 2012 Permalink

    Rashawn Franklin is without a doubt one of the best writers for this website. You’re doing a great job, I can’t wait for when u get to talk about football more in the fall. Keep up the good work

  29. Roland
    11:35 pm May 21, 2012 Permalink

    We now return you to the programming network.

  30. BigBlue1976
    11:55 pm May 21, 2012 Permalink

    Did Marra start out his career with a scholly? If so, he cannot go to walk on. Its a rule. Look it up.

  31. cracka
    12:20 am May 22, 2012 Permalink

    yeah, missed on a few big guys, from ksr 1/16/11: “As for the 2012 class, I was again told by a source this week that UK has a list of 8 players that are its major targets at this point. Archie Goodwin, Perry Ellis, Shabazz Muhammad, Andre Drummond, Alex Murphy, Dejuan Coleman, LJ Rose and Kaleb Tarczewski represent the eight players that I am told have UK offers and are the primary targets for the class.” – matt jones

  32. Marcus L. Owens
    8:32 am May 22, 2012 Permalink

    Kyle Wiltjer can play 3 and Alex Poythress can play 4, they are interchangeable. With Noel guarding the basket along with Poythress’ long arms and leaping ability we wont have that big of a problem guarding the rim or playing physical. The 3 headed combination of Noel, Cauley and Poythress upfront is more than most team will have, along with Wiltjer’s length we will be fine. I agree that Kyle will need to hit the weights and so will the other 3 big men. Wiltjer will be on the court he is to good of a player not to be. With or without Harrell our front line will be top notch.

  33. beard_brain
    8:36 am May 22, 2012 Permalink

    Cal gets the 2nd ranked recruiting class in the nation and you think he’s struggling to get players?

  34. Marcus L. Owens
    8:58 am May 22, 2012 Permalink

    31. Bennett didnt qualify and the Mountain West is one of the few major conferences where a partial qualifier can play as a freshman. Coleman was destine for Cuse, his home town school all along same for Drummond who reclassified and obviously wasnt coming to UK to sit behind AD and Terrence Jones. Perry Ellis is from Kansas and was their main recruit, we got Poythress the more explosive and more talented player, I will take that. Tarczewski how bad did we really want him? He isnt a PF and he wouldnt play over Noel the #1 player in the nation and the #1 center so we didnt loose much there either. Lj Rose is a 6’0 foot 3 star PG that we didnt even offer a scholarship to. As for Shabazz we missed, it happens. #1 Recruiting class, returning a 5 star 6’10 sharp shooter and a 5 star PG, bringing in a class that includes 2 6’11 players one of them the #1 player in the class along with 2 of the most explosive athletic wings in the nation, and we are struggling? I dont agree.

  35. Nashkat
    9:04 am May 22, 2012 Permalink

    Poythress will play the 4 a lot next season with Harrow, Wright, Goodwin, and Noel. This may be the best defensive lineup.

  36. Doug in Ft. Thomas
    9:24 am May 22, 2012 Permalink

    We could really use Harrell. Wiltjer is a “tweener”. Not big and strong enough to play the four. Not quick enough to guard the three spot. I can see a platoon system with Wiltjer and Harrell at the four spot depending on the opponent.

  37. JPhelps
    9:44 am May 22, 2012 Permalink

    I see Wiltjer developing in the role of Scott Padgett, albeit, a faster curve. His defense improved tremendously from start to finish last year. You forget, he was playing beside an athletic freak in AD, anything he did looked clumsy compared to AD.

    Contrary to popular belief on this site, you can develop quickness, he may be a 4-year project in doing so, but thats fine with me, he’ll see another banner raised. The jumping ability, eh, I’ll give you that, but you can make up for lack of jumping ability when rebounding with good footwork, positioning and effort. I don’t think anyone would question Kyle in these three attributes. Watch and learn boys. He may never be the athletic monster that the centers we are getting are, but I wouldn’t mind seeing a better shooting, taller, higher IQ Scott Padgett out there for 4 years!

  38. JPhelps
    9:46 am May 22, 2012 Permalink

    If Kevin Durant can look at Kyle and say, “that boy can play”, I think I’ll trust him over any one of you jokers on this site!

  39. Will S.
    10:05 am May 22, 2012 Permalink

    Seriously? You guys are relying on “Kyle Wiltjer” next season?!? I can’t wait until November 13th. Amile is about to put Kyle on a poster

  40. Will S.
    10:13 am May 22, 2012 Permalink

    Bigger, stronger teams are going to bully Kyle and Nerlens down low. UK will struggle to rebound and defend athletic PF’s. Also, you have zero team chemistry. With Mizzou joining the SEC, I’d put you guys 4th behind Missouri, Florida, and Vanderbilt. Probably a 5 or 6 seed, maybe sweet 16 appearance.

  41. JPhelps
    11:01 am May 22, 2012 Permalink

    40. I’m glad uneducated guys like you make bold predictions like that. Missouri lost half its starting lineup and picked up the UConn kid, they should be decent. UF lost half of their line up and Vandy lost EVERYONE who played to graduation or NBA (Jenkins). Our team last year “supposedly” had no chemistry to start the year. Champions… We’ll be the team to beat again in the SEC. Our 4 seeds go to the Final Four… How about yours?

  42. JPhelps
    11:04 am May 22, 2012 Permalink

    Amile??? As in Amile Jefferson, perhaps the only 4 in the NCAA that is skinnier than Kyle… It’ll be hard to posterize him when he’s being made into a poster by Nerlens…

  43. Holo
    11:38 am May 22, 2012 Permalink

    Shagari alleyne was noted for his rendition of the less heralded pick n poop

  44. Flabbergasted
    11:55 am May 22, 2012 Permalink

    40. You put us behind Vandy, which could be the worst team in the SEC next year. I have lost all respect for your opinion

  45. Digger? I hardly know her
    3:48 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    Since when does best available equal elite?