All this week, the SportingNews has done a position-by-position rundown of the top college players in the country. Unsurprisingly to a team that hoardshigh-level talent, this compilation has given Kentucky fans plenty to consider: some good, some bad, some confusing. But author Mike DeCourcy at least gave reasons for his picks, and whether we agree or disagree with them, it’ll be up to the players themselves to prove him right or wrong. So who made the list(s)? Allow me.
Andrew Harrison, #2 Point Guard
“Harrison is an elite talent who’ll be surrounded by elite talent. One of the few real questions in where to rank him is how much of the glory will be directed his way.”
Andrew was ranked the highest of all his teammates in getting tabbed as the number two point guard for next season, finishing only behind Marcus Smart. And that seems about right; he’s going to be the most important player on the nation’s pre-season #1 team.
Alex Poythress, #6 Small Forward
“Poythress still averaged 11.2 points and 6.0 rebounds and shot 58 percent from the floor? Those numbers were almost by accident. What if he returns for his second season with confidence and wisdom and a better sense of how to impact the game from the perimeter?”
Poythress at #6 was actually a little surprising, but I gotta say, the argument is pretty convincing. Poythress was an efficient scorer, even though he had his frustrating patches, and motivational lapses, last season. I doubt this team’s attitude will be as lackadaisical as last year’s. That should help Alex. Plus if P.J. Hairston isn’t able to play, that’d make Poythress the de facto #5 Power Forward. So there’s that.
Julius Randle, #3 Power Forward
“He will be one of the most important components of their championship drive, a physically overwhelming force along the baseline who remains versatile enough to step away from the basket and make a few jump shots.”
Randle was topped at the PF spot only by Doug McDermott and Jabari Parker, neither of which are keen to play as physically as Randle would want to. But I’m not complaining; #3 isn’t a bad place to be. And I can only hope we play Duke or Creighton in the NCAA tournament.
Got Left Out:
A couple of top-ten recruits, and one returning McDonald’s All-American, got left off the list. For the most part, that’s understandable; in one instance, it’s unexplainable.
Leaving Aaron off the list, while his brother is ranked #2, is probably the greatest travesty of this whole thing so far. It might have been more understandable if the Top 10 shooting guards didn’t include names like Spencer Dinwiddie (Colorado), Sean Kilpatrick (Cincinnati), and Semaj Christon (Xavier). No disrespect for any of them, it’s just hard to imagine that Aaron Harrison doesn’t at least deserve a spot alongside those guys. It’s not like the list shied away from freshment, so the discrepancy between Andrew’s #2 and Aaron’s complete omission is a little baffling. DeCourcy had this to say as justification:
– Michael DeCourcy (@tsnmike) June 12, 2013
Not sure if he means on the UK team (which is understandable) or at the SG position (less understandable), but I can only agree to disagree.
James Young’s biggest strength going into next season might be how underrated he is. That’s a little uncommon for a top-ten recruit, but with so many writers (and likely, coaches) keying on the Harrisons, Randle, and others, Young might sometimes get overlooked. And that’s fine, especially when teams have to scramble at half time to stop the bleeding they never saw coming from this guy.
We know and love Kyle, but the now-elder statesman needs to be more well-rounded before getting top-ten PF consideration. Put on a good show this year, and next year is not at all out of the question, though.
The only position left to run through is Center, which might have some promise for some of our Wildcats.
Dakari’s the most-improved player in the incoming class, and has shot up to #7 (#2 C) in ESPN’s rankings. Plus, “center” isn’t really a popular designation in college ball these days, with a lot of players preferring the more versatile “forward” tag. But Dakari is a center, one of maybe only a few elite centers, and could find himself on the list tomorrow. It doesn’t hurt when you measure in at 7’+.
Returning starter (for the second-half of the season, at least), promising defender, and emerging offensive weapon. And, like Dakari, 7-feet tall. The dearth of centers n the league, and wealth of talent and opportunity for WCS, could put him on tomorrow’s Top 10 Centers list with Dakari. Not bad, right?
So there’s one perspective for you. Other than leaving Aaron Harrison off, I think it’s pretty fair across the board. Thoughts?