With a big commitment coming from Nerlens Noel this past Wednesday, the roster of the 2012-2013 Wildcats is starting to form. We know that Noel will man the middle of the starting five, and fellow 2012 signees Alex Poythress and Archie Goodwin will be at the wing positions. With Marquis Teague expected to declare for the NBA draft by the April 29th deadline, NC State transfer point guard Ryan Harrow looks like he’ll be inserted into the starting lineup as well. That leaves the power forward position as the only question mark for next year. Most will say that Kyle Wiltjer should be the starting “four” heading into next season, but it looks like Coach Calipari has plans to again bring Wiltjer off of the bench. I think this is the right move because it is a place that he has thrived at so far, and a role that he can get even better at next season. Bennett, the number seven overall prospect (Rivals.com), is expected to announce his decision on where to attend college relatively soon, and word is that Kentucky is in the lead for his services. On the other hand, UConn star Alex Oriakhi is also deciding where to use his last year of eligibility and Kentucky is definitely in play to land the former Huskie too. With Oriakhi having only one year to impress NBA scouts before his eligibility runs out and Bennett looking like more of a one-and-done type of talent, neither one of these guys want to come sit on Calipari’s bench. These guys want to start. So if you had to pick one who would be a better fit for our team?
From what I’ve heard from Big Blue Nation most fans covet Oriakhi’s experience as a national champion to go along with the youth on next year’s team. That’s completely understandable, but Bennett is top ten on every national high school rankings for a reason. I got a chance to see Bennett play up close at the McDonald’s All-American game in Chicago last month and I can see why Coach Cal would want to have him in Lexington. He’s an absolute beast. He’s a listed at 6’7 but he looks and plays much bigger than that. If I had to classify his game I’d say he’s Michigan State’s Draymond Green with more athleticism. Don’t believe me? Check out the Big Canadian:
As good as Bennett looks on that clip, he’s young like most of the other starters for next year. Every championship team at least has that one guy who has been through the ringer and can provide some stability down the stretch, i.e. Darius Miller. Oriakhi is proven and has hardware from 2010 that might make him a little more valuable, especially come March. I think Bennett will be a better pro and has a higher ceiling, but I also think this team could have either Oriakhi or Bennett and be extremely successful next year. So who ya got?