Remember Kyle Wiltjer? Of course you do. Wiltjer was a member of the 2012 National Championship team, then decided to leave Kentucky for Gonzaga. In his time at Kentucky, the then sophomore forward was best known for his three point shooting, as well as his strong leadership role within the WBA, and his friendship with Jarrod Polson. When he decided to take his talents elsewhere, I was sad to see him go, but wanted the best for him, which I believe many Wildcat fans also wanted. Well, Wiltjer is now reciprocating those feelings for the Cats.
Gonzaga claimed the NIT Preseason Tournament Championship on Friday night against St. John’s, 73-66. Wiltjer scored a combined 40 points throughout the two games played, and is averaging 16.8 points and 5.2 rebounds on the season. In the post game press conference, Wiltjer answered several questions about his time at Kentucky, and his relationship with those still at Kentucky, as reported by Zagsblog.com. Wiltjer told the press that he stays in touch with Alex Poythress, Willie Cauley-Stein, and several other walk on players here in the Bluegrass. He commented on Kentucky running the platoon system, saying that, “It’s cool that they can do that… it shows that they’re a deep team as well.”
When it came time for the media to fish for Wiltjer to throw sour notes at Kentucky, he showed nothing but class and support for the Cats, saying “Of course, those are my friends so I want them to do well until the time comes when we face each other…I’m a competitor, I want to win, but those are my frinds so I wish them the best.” Pretty classy thing for a guy to say after parting ways, but it really isn’t too surprising. Considering a picture of Wiltjer in a UK uniform playing in the 2012 Tournament is still his headline picture on Twitter.
The Zags will tip off against SE Louisiana on Tuesday night at 9:00 P.M, and quite honestly, it’s nice to see him finding a place on a team that will be a NCAA Tournament team. He has developed as a player in many ways, including his speed, which seemed to always be an issue when he was at Kentucky. Best of luck to Kyle, until we play Gonzaga, of course.