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?