This year’s Kentucky team was a carefully-crafted puzzle. Each piece complemented the other’s game, fitting into clear roles. Next year’s Kentucky Wildcats will not have clearly defined roles, or even clearly defined positions. Calipari’s position-less recruiting approach works well for the skills of this year’s class.
“I am position-less. Wherever Cal needs me, where everybody needs me, one through five, I’m there,” Jarred Vanderbilt said yesterday. “I can do it all. I’m versatile. Whatever position I need to be at to help my team win, that’s what I’m going to do.”
Vanderbilt is not alone. P.J. Washington is a more physical small forward, who can also extend the floor with three-point range. Nick Richards is an athletic center with a midrange game. Their ability to cover the floor will be beneficial on defense. Calipari prefers to switch everything, which shouldn’t be a problem for these guys.
“I think we can switch one through five next year. Everybody can pretty much guard multiple positions,” Vanderbilt said.
Once they get the stop, it’s off to the races. Richards runs the floor like Willie Cauley-Stein. The other three can all lead the fast break. Quade Green doesn’t hesitate to throw baseball passes across the court. If they can’t get Green the ball, it’s no problem. Washington and Vanderbilt are both comfortable with the ball in their hands and they’re excellent passers.
“It’s kind of scary is you ask me. One through five, we can all grab the rebound and we’re gone. We’re going to be a transition team,” Vanderbilt said. “We got so many options in transition, it’s crazy.”
Calipari loves length and athleticism, something that is will not be in short supply next season. Each player provides multiple options on offense and defense, something Vanderbilt believes they can exploit next season.
“We’re going to be a mismatch problem for some teams.”