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After an all freshmen starting line-up, Kentucky could start zero next year


Devin Booker tweeted it earlier… The Kentucky haters will criticize John Calipari/Kentucky for having “too many one-and-done” players, but will turn around and then criticize the same coach and program for returning too many players and having too “crowded” of a roster. If you haven’t checked Twitter today, a few national media members reacted to the return of Alex Poythress and Dakari Johnson by going negative– asking how can Cal keep that many players happy?

If we’ve learned anything from Calipari over the last 5 years at Kentucky, he will continue to quiet the naysayers. Just when you think you’ve got him pegged, you don’t. First, the argument was that he couldn’t possibly win a national championship with a team reliant on freshmen. Then  2012 happened. Next, the argument was that Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Anthony Davis were outliers, the exception to the rule. “Kentucky was spoiled by how good/mature those guys were as freshmen.” The narrative then became that Calipari could win with some freshmen–the exceptional ones like Davis and MKG– but certainly couldn’t win with a line-up of all freshmen. Then 2014 happened. Sure, Kentucky didn’t win it all– but they came within a single game.

Just one season removed from an all freshmen starting line-up of Dakari Johnson, Julius Randle, James Young, Aaron Harrison and Andrew Harrison… Kentucky could conceivably have a starting line-up next year with ZERO freshmen. Of course, this all depends on the upcoming decision being made by the Harrison twins. But it’s in the realm of possibilities.

A year after all freshmen starting, Kentucky’s starting line-up next year could potentially look like this:

PG- Andrew Harrison, Sophomore

SG- Aaron Harrison, Sophomore

SF- Alex Poythress, Junior

PF- Willie Cauley-Stein, Junior

C- Dakari Johnson, Sophomore


Of course there are other potential variations, which could include freshmen like Karl Towns or Trey Lyles– or even sophomore Marcus Lee. But there’s a good chance if the Harrison twins return that at least in some games next season, Kentucky could start all veteran players for the first time in John Calipari’s career at Kentucky. Just when you think you’ve got the guy figured out…


… But hey, John Calipari just shoos all of his guys out the door, right?

Article written by Ally Tucker

I once successfully requested "The Wobble" to be played 6 times at one wedding.

37 Comments for After an all freshmen starting line-up, Kentucky could start zero next year

  1. Wild Turkey 101
    9:06 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    Bless hsi heart but I can name 4 players I would start before Poythres.

    • jpg
      9:14 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

      Who at the 3 would you start over him? Most of our guys are 4 and 5’s. Willis is going to back him up with a possibility of Marcus Lee.

    • Carlton Banks
      9:15 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

      So can I. Aaron, Andrew, Willie & Dakari.

    • Mc
      9:24 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

      jpg-just because a player is listed as the 3 on the depth chart doesn’t mean they are the back-up. We will see 3 guard sets plenty of times next season. Also, because Towns can spot up from 3, you may see instances where a player like Lee attempts to guard a 3 on defense, while Towns essentially serves as the 3 on offense.

      There will be so many possible line-ups. If Booker is as good of a shooter as they say he is, he’s going to get solid minutes backing up the 2, and the 3 (at first).

      There are so many good mix-and-match possibilities. I think most line-ups will contain at least 2 players that are threats from outside to space the court.

    • jpg
      10:20 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

      Carlton, Willis or Dakari at the 3?!!!!! I guess you do not understand mismatches. Towns is great and all, but legit 3’s will blow by all of them.

      Mc, I am waiting for the twins to say they are coming back before I add them. Right now, UK has 3 guards total, that will get playing time, one of which can not hoot (Hawkins)

      Once again understand what a 3 does before saying a host of bigs would be a good fit.

    • Haha
      10:45 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

      jpg – I don’t think Hawks hoot. They leave the hooting to the owls.

    • Mc
      11:10 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

      I understand what a 3 does. I’ve played a lot of basketball. I’ve also been a coach for the past 10 years. What I’m saying is if you’re trying to get everybody minutes, you have to be creative at times. With Towns, and Lyles ability to play away from the basket, a player like Lee can still roam the baseline doing what he does. We can play a zone on defense in spurts.

      If the twins don’t return, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that AP is the 3. I would then expect UK to bring in a 5th year transfer that can play the 2/3 with decent enough handles.

      This blog post is all based on the twins returning. That’s why I said you’ll see 3 guard sets.

  2. jpg
    9:10 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    There is a lot of crow for the media to eat!

  3. Brad Carroll
    9:14 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    Awesome!!! It’s going to be a fun year.

  4. Bill E Klyde
    9:17 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    WCS won’t be in basketball shape until mid season, after he leads the SEC in receiving yards

    • dubowski
      9:24 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

      that would be so awesome.

  5. Jud
    9:18 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    Every year we talk about competitive practices – it will be war.

  6. Mc
    9:19 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    That line-up doesn’t have much shooting. A player like Lyles at the 4, since he can hit 15-18 footers, or Towns at the 5 will be much more likely. With the lineup you gave, teams would just pack in there zone and extend out when Aaron gets the ball.

  7. Shelby
    9:24 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    No way can WCS and Dakari start together. Neither is effective more than 4 feet from the basket, it’ll ge a logjam in the paint which makes penetration impossible. If twins return: start twins, dakari, poythress, and maybe lyles. I hink Towns can play with another big since he can shoot from deep, but i don’t think wilkie and dakari can be on rhe floor at the same time.
    A lot of options; how about twins, booker at the 3, poythress and towns. 5 guys on the floor that can shoot.

  8. LaQuita
    9:30 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    WCS will not start at the 4! Trey lyles will start before any freshman on the team.


  9. dubowski
    9:37 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    There are a lot of potential line-ups that may be utilized next year. I doubt this is one of them. Bill Stein and Strawberry Dakari will almost never play together. If the twins return, I forsee lots of “3 guard” sets. 2 SG/Wings with Booker/Aaron or 2 PGs with Ulis/Andy (much like bled/jwall). Poy Boy is going to need to work on his wing skills in the off season if he plans on playing SF. But then again thats what he needs to do to to increase his draft stock.

  10. Billy club
    9:40 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    Don’t really care who starts, I am dreaming of the 5 starters replaced at each tv timeout(4 minutes) by the other 5 starters, and rotating at every timeout. If the twins return, we will be that deep!!!!! Man, I love football, but can’t wait till madness begins all over

  11. LA
    9:45 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    Kentucky “IS” college basketball.

  12. Rambo
    9:47 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    Instead of a twin towers lineup, UK could have a triple towers lineup. and if the Harrison twins return, they could have a first ever triple twins lineup. 🙂

  13. BBNinSouthBend
    9:54 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    Shelby…c’mon. You sound like an idiot. “No way” we can’t start our best defensive player (WCS) and our best down low offensive player (Dakari).?? Especially when one can guard a 3, 4, or 5 (WCS)? Good point.

  14. Casper
    9:59 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    Karl and Trey will start as forwards. Poythress and Lee will back up.
    Dakari and WCS alternate at center.
    That should work out pretty well with or without the twins,
    but, if the twins return, #9 is in the bag.

    • Mark
      10:04 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

      I like your Altitude but #9 will take work no matter who we have.

    • In the bag
      10:14 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

      I just wish I knew you personally mr Casper. You’re the typical Uk fan that is easy to take $$ from! Did you know a line up of Patterson, Wall, Cousins and Bledsoe didn’t win it all? So you think this team has more talent than that one?

    • Peas and Carrots
      10:42 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

      @In the bag — Yes.

    • TD
      10:36 am April 24, 2014 Permalink

      I hate Caspar’s foregone conclusion, arrogant attitude. So much like last fall’s 40-0 baloney. #9, despite the tremendous talent level is not “in the bag”.

    10:03 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink


  16. Death from above
    10:08 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    I say we get us a nice 12 man rotation, run for 40 minutes, and DESTROY RIMS !!!

  17. Crazy
    10:15 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    For intelligent conversation go to Cats Illustrated. They filter.
    This is juvenile.

    • Chaz
      10:22 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

      It’s just a big bunch of fans enjoying the news and envisioning the future. It’s fun, isn’t that what amateur sports should be?

    • Don't let the door hit ya
      10:53 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

      Since you seem to be the only one complaining why aren’t you enjoying your “filtered” discussion elsewhere? Just needed to insult everyone here first? And aren’t you encouraging the “juvenile” to invade the hallowed halls of Cats Illustrated. In closing allow me to live up to your opinion of folks in these parts when I say bugger off.

    • KyKid
      11:28 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

      I find your lack of faith disturbing.

    • KyKid
      11:33 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

      * starts force choke *

  18. Jbb
    10:22 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    You guys are bludgeoning this topic. Cal is no damsel in distress needing you to defend his honor. The haters have been quieted. The relentless I told you so getting obnoxious

  19. SoCal Will
    11:00 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    It will be interesting to watch the kids sort themselves out on the Summer trip and in the fall. On defense Cal could experiment with some hellacious tall timber zones. Going to be fun….

  20. David
    11:11 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

    and what is really disheartening (but to be expected) is a rival coach telling a recruit that Calipari forced Willie to stay (something that WCS flat denied; even calling the recruit)…from pushing out players to forcing them to stay??? the narrative again is negative and incorrect…hmm…wonder if there is an agenda in the national media against Cal???….sheesh

    • KyKid
      11:32 pm April 23, 2014 Permalink

      Haters gonna hate. At this point I don’t really care what the national media says. Everyone seems to have an agenda so let’s just beat the snot out of everyone and take care of business on the court. It’s the best way to make them shut the **** up. Or make up new non-stories to report.

  21. Brian the Derpface
    12:25 am April 24, 2014 Permalink

    Cal’s biggest challenge next year is simply a change of style: going deeper into the rotation than otherwise. This team already proved it has the chops to run to the final game, swap in Lyles for Randle and 3-by-committee for Young and we’re set. You’ll see Poythress, Aa Harrison, and Booker all slide into the 3 this year depending on lineups. The second biggest challenge is hiring a coaching staff…