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Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes?


As Kentucky fans, it is never too early for us to start looking ahead. Others may think it is, but others don’t matter. They are not us. We are going to be GREAT next year. That is a fact. But have you thought ahead to the 2014-2015 season? If you’re like me, I bet you have. The turnover for next year’s team is unpredictable at this point but let’s take a look at the class of 2014 and see who may be stepping on the floor to join the returners and take the place of the record breaking number of draft picks we’re expected to have. It’s not a sure thing, but I assume we’ll lose not all but most of the following players to the NBA draft:  both Harrisons, Willie Cauley Stein, Julius Randle, Marcus Lee, James Young, and Andrew Wiggins (hopefully).


That’s a lot of turnover and we’ll have a big need for guys to join Poythress (maybe), Wiltjer, Johnson, Hawkins, and Willis to take the place of the departed. In honor of the late George Jones, let’s call this post “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes?”


Current 2014 Commits:


Karl Towns- As you probably know, Kentucky has already received a commitment from the five star big man. It is the only commitment John Calipari has received in the class of 2014 so far, but it is a good one.  Despite being 7’1”, Karl is not just an inside threat. Take a look at what the big man can do.


Who’s Shoes Will He Fill?- Towns and sophomore Dakari Johnson will likely fill the shoes of Willie Cauley Stein and Marcus Lee.


Current 2014 Recruits:


Tyus Jones- This 6’0” point guard from Minnesota has an offer from Kentucky and is very high on the priority list. He is ranked in the top 4 players in this 2014 class by every major recruiting service. Take a look at what he can do.

Who’s Shoes Will He Fill?- Jones and sophomore Dominique Hawkins would be filling the shoes of Andrew Harrison, who is projected as a top five pick in next year’s NBA draft.



Emmanuel Mudiay- The most likely future point guard for your Wildcats is this 6’4” PG from Prime Prep in Texas. He fits the physical mold of other Calipari point guards (John Wall, Tyreke Evans, Andrew Harrison). He likes Calipari’s coaching style, saying Cal “Brings the dog out of you.” Take a look at him doing what he does.

Who’s Shoes Will He Fill?- He would take over for Andrew Harrison and likely be backed up by sophomore Dominique Hawkins. It’s exciting to think what the Big Blue Nation could do with a name like Emmanuel.



Devin Booker- This 6’4” shooting guard from Mississippi recently received a UK offer and is very interested in coming to Lexington. He called Kentucky a “powerhouse.” He is ranked as high as 19th in the class and as low as 28th. Here’s how he gets it done on the floor.

Who’s Shoes Will He Fill? Booker would most likely step in for Aaron Harrison at the 2 guard.


stanley johnsonStanley Johnson- Known most of all for playing hard every game, this 6’6” small forward from California is ranked anywhere from 12 to 17 in the class of 2014. He has an offer from UK, and although Cal has had some success recruiting the West coast with Terrence Jones and Kyle Wiltjer, he has also fallen short with Aaron Gordon and Anthony Bennett. When it comes to recruiting, though, I trust in Cal. Here’s a video of Stanley Johnson playing basketball.

Who’s Shoes Will He Fill? Johnson will join senior Kyle Wiltjer and sophomore Derek Willis in filling the hole left at the small forward position by James Young and (hopefully) Andrew Wiggins.


cliffCliff Alexander- A 6’9” power forward from Chicago ranked anywhere from 5th to 12th in the 2014 class, Alexander reminds me a lot of Demarcus Cousins. Not a high flier, but athletic. He has very good hands and clears a lot of space by using his massive frame.  Watch this video and you’ll see what I mean.

Who Shoes Will He Fill?- Mrs. Tyler joked that Cliff is so big he’d fill everyone’s shoes. It’s assumed he will be choosing between Kentucky and Michigan State. If he chooses Kentucky, he would likely join already committed Karl Towns and sophomore Dakari Johnson in filling the shoes left empty by Julius Randle, Willie Cauley Stein, and Marcus Lee.



Trey Lyles- Another guy who could be included in the group with Alexander, Towns, and Johnson is this 6’9” power forward from Indianapolis. He had originally committed to Indiana but has since backed off that commitment. I guess Sweet 16’s aren’t really his thing. Lyles is a top 10 guy because he makes good basketball plays. Watch them.

Who Shoes Would He Fill?- Apparently not anyone’s at Indiana. As I said earlier, Lyles would step into what would most likely be a three or four man rotation at the 4 and 5 spots.




Rashad Vaughn-  This 6’5” shooting guard holds an offer from UK, but has yet to trim his list down from almost every major program in the country. He is a top 15 guy and even better depending on who you ask and is likely one of the top priorities for UK in the 2014 class. From Minnesota, he is considered one of the best shooters in this class. See why in this video of him shooting and dunking the basketball.

Who’s Shoes Would He Fill?- Considering his size, I would think Vaughn could play both the two guard and small forward, meaning he would help fill the shoes of Aaron Harrison, James Young, and (hopefully) Andrew Wiggins.


While some of these guys will certainly end up at UK and some of them won’t, it will be tough to know exactly who until we see what kind of season our guys have this year. It’s unlikely any high profile guys will commit until they figure out who is staying and who is going.  It’s the offseason though, a time for our minds to collectively wonder. And I, like George Jones, wondered “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes?” Now we have our answer. I’ll leave you with this classic song from The Possum himself. Rest in Peace, George.




Article written by Aaron Flener

John, I was first team All-State. I can put the ball anywhere I want to. I'll make it rain out here.

33 Comments for Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes?

  1. First
    2:49 pm April 27, 2013 Permalink


  2. Spenser
    2:54 pm April 27, 2013 Permalink

    What happened to the “Strickland is NOT” going to Depaul post? Also, Flener, I know you catch some flak on here for some posts, but this was real good. I hope Marcus Lee stays 2 years though.

  3. Loyal Blue
    3:03 pm April 27, 2013 Permalink

    Both Marcus Lee and James Young are and will be tremendous talents, however, predicting them to be one and done is not a well educated thought process. You can only assume this if they beat out Wiggins (if he comes), Aaron Harrison, WCS, Poythress and Johnson for majority minutes. Is it possible, yes, probable, no. Both are two year players and we would be fortunate to have them as two year stars.

  4. Country Boy
    3:04 pm April 27, 2013 Permalink

    Basketball players are a dime a dozen. George Jones is eternal

  5. Jen
    3:06 pm April 27, 2013 Permalink

    More like who will fill WCS and Johnsons shoes not Lee and WCS. Johnson will be a surprise and could start over WCS. Lee will back up Randle. And Poythress will play the 3 spot either behind Wiggins or starting. Poythress played out of position all last season, only if there is foul trouble will Poythress play the 4 spot. Another reason he probably chose to come back was to play the spot he will play in NBA! 2014-2015 season = 2012-2013 season. Too much talent to replace. Unless Lee, Young and 1 more maybe Johnson stays but don’t bet on that! We will be replacing the whole team again next year! Especially if we cut down the nets! GO CATS!

  6. SeaCat
    3:09 pm April 27, 2013 Permalink

    Great post Flener.

  7. mathias
    3:09 pm April 27, 2013 Permalink

    i grew up very much a rock and roll fan. after reaching adulthood, i began to listen to country music. what great singers i discovered: johnny cash, george jones, merle haggard,conway twitty,waylon jennings. george jones will be missed by millions of country music lovers!

  8. Jen
    3:09 pm April 27, 2013 Permalink

    James Young family needs the money from what I have read. So even if he is not ready he probably stills leaves.

  9. I.P. FREELY
    3:11 pm April 27, 2013 Permalink

    You sir have poor basketball IQ.

  10. whoops
    3:15 pm April 27, 2013 Permalink

    Okafor? Package deal with Tyus Jones?
    Guess you’re not reading the rest of the KSR posts??

  11. schwing
    3:22 pm April 27, 2013 Permalink

    gee, I don’t know. who is shoes will he fill? I guess we’ll find out.

  12. SupCats
    3:22 pm April 27, 2013 Permalink

    My top picks from 2014 will be Emmanuel, Cliff, and Trey.

  13. Austin
    3:22 pm April 27, 2013 Permalink

    I think there is a good chance Dakari, Lee, Poythress, James Young, Dominique Hawkins, Wiljter, and Willis are back for the 2014-2015. I think there is an outside chance the twins could be two year players. Aaron is not likely to be a lottery pick next year. It is possible the Twins might want to both be lottery picks and choose to come back. I am not holding my breath on that end, but it isn’t a lock.

    Randle, Willie, and Wiggins would all be one and done for sure.

  14. Jeff Richardson
    3:29 pm April 27, 2013 Permalink

    How do we know George is really dead? He may be playing possum.

  15. Spenser
    3:29 pm April 27, 2013 Permalink

    I doubt the twins are 2 year players, BUT it would be interesting to see them go at separate times. They would have a better chance of winding up on the same team that way. That is, if that is important to them.

  16. Bleed Blue
    3:50 pm April 27, 2013 Permalink

    Did he really say that Wiltjer would help fill the shoes of the SF spot? Also Lee is not a one and done player. He is very very limited offensively and he isn’t on the level of defensive standards like Noel was to make him a quality pick, he would be a project pick for a playoff team if he was to leave. Like the one guy said Johnson is the better candidate to leave, not Lee. Young has the ability to be a one and done, the kid can ball. If we don’t get Wiggins (which won’t happen) he could very well beat Poythress out of the 3 spot. His family also isn’t struggling for money, they aren’t rich, but they aren’t poor either. The only players I see as locks to leave are Randle, Wiggins, Willie, and Andrew. Aaron I could see staying, but I don’t see one twin leaving and one staying, they will either both leave or both stay.

  17. zebra
    4:05 pm April 27, 2013 Permalink

    May God grant you rest, George.

    That’s too much video to consume from a single post, but I did watch Karl T. Saw him live at Rupp last summer, he and AD had some talk going on, it was fun. Us zebras get off on calling offensive fouls more than defensive and that clearing out with your free hand on the drive is gonna make my life fun. Not to worry though, Cal’s got that too.

    Maybe it’s just human evolution, but how does a 7′-1″ teenager do that?

  18. grammar nerd
    4:35 pm April 27, 2013 Permalink

    Flener did you pass ENG 101 at UK? Who’s means who is…the word you are looking for is whose…WHOSE shoes will he fill??

  19. SeaCat
    5:11 pm April 27, 2013 Permalink

    Bleed Blue, glad you are back commenting!
    How much longer will Wiggins make us wait?
    Didn’t we expect something before May?

  20. holler baller
    5:30 pm April 27, 2013 Permalink

    RIP Possum. Ole George had to do 50 takes to lay down White Lightning because he was so loaded. My hero

  21. mudcreekmark
    6:12 pm April 27, 2013 Permalink

    Towns will be the man. Judging from the clip, he plays like his hair is on fire. Very aggressive. Every time he touched the ball he meant business, kind of like Randal does when he is playing.

  22. Marcus Lee
    6:16 pm April 27, 2013 Permalink

    Pretty sure I’m not gonna go to the NBA after my first year.

  23. James Young
    6:18 pm April 27, 2013 Permalink

    I might pull a Russ Smith and come back after winning the championship. Except, of course, I’m actually going to go higher in the 2015 draft than he could dream of going in the 2014 draft, lol.

  24. Boogie
    7:04 pm April 27, 2013 Permalink

    Tyus Jones is softer than ryan harrow….let that sink in. Why not teach a bigger, stronger home grown guard (dominique hawkins) how to play over a 165 pound wanna be mike conley. Mudiay on the other hand can play with anybody…very explosive. Cliff Alexander is body in the paint.

  25. Scooby
    8:39 pm April 27, 2013 Permalink

    Mudiay over Jones every day of the week. Mudiay’s athleticism is out of this world and he is rugged and strong. This was bullied at the peach jam last year…

  26. This Is It...
    8:45 pm April 27, 2013 Permalink

    Hey George…Running out of the great ones like you to fill their shoes like you did…Now with this younger generation of so called “country music” singers, I think country music is almost dead…Listen to George Strait and Alan Jackson “Murder on Music Row” and you’ll see…Really sad…

  27. CountryMusicHighway
    9:23 pm April 27, 2013 Permalink

    due for “awaiting moderation” but here goes:

    Pinkard and Bowden” sang: I’d rather hear a fat girl fart, than a pretty boy sing.

    George, I’ll not see the likes of you again. You lived the life.

    10:07 pm April 27, 2013 Permalink

    Flener are you retarded? Cliff Alexander reminds you of DeMarcus Cousins?! LOL. What are you smoking? Terrible analogy. This was like reading a leaflet of poopstains.

    10:10 pm April 27, 2013 Permalink

    Oh and another thing… Marcus Lee is 100% not a one and done player. He has said getting an education is more important than being a one and done and he wants a degree. Plus he’s just not going to be good enough in his first year to be a one and done.

    10:12 pm April 27, 2013 Permalink

    I will take bets with anyone who thinks Marcus Lee is going to the NBA after this season. Sorry folks it’s just not going to happen.

  31. Hicks
    11:25 pm April 27, 2013 Permalink

    Concept of the post, ok….execution, poor.

  32. UKBlue1!
    9:24 am April 28, 2013 Permalink

    Young and Lee will probably be two year players. Two you left off are Johnson and Poythress. Johnson is the real deal. Alex will have a huge season for the cats. He is already working very hard and with the talent we have coming, the best player from the other team will not be guarding him. He will expose a lot of players this year. He has taken a lot of crap on this board and others. I think we all know who the problems were from last year team now that the dust has settled.

  33. Mark
    4:19 pm April 28, 2013 Permalink

    Really enjoy reading all your posts. The only thing I really don’t agree with is most of your opinions on James Young. I think unless he just stays for his love of UK and the love to win, he is a one and done player. He can shoot from anywhere and he is fast with a great skill set. I can see him ready in one year.