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Next Year’s Team will be Defined by Versatility

Caleb Downs | Commonwealth-Journal

Caleb Lowndes | Commonwealth-Journal

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.”

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

10 Comments for Next Year’s Team will be Defined by Versatility

  1. leon singleton
    2:12 pm March 29, 2017 Permalink

    The one and done program is just a good junior college team and you can’t expect to much against major college teams.

    • runningunnin.454
      3:34 pm March 29, 2017 Permalink

      LOL, you want to go back to recruiting 2* and 3* players that hang around for four years and losing to teams like Miami of Ohio and Gardner-Webb.

    • Booby Petrino
      3:35 pm March 29, 2017 Permalink

      true. you can only expect to be in contention for the championship every 4 out of 7 years. Pitiful.

    • catsarerunnin
      4:22 pm March 29, 2017 Permalink

      Noel knows his stuff..

  2. kjd
    2:27 pm March 29, 2017 Permalink

    The predictions for next year’s team have begun.
    We heard plenty of talk about our current team. I’m tired of the hype about freshmen. I am not going to allow myself to take a ride on the KSR hype train. No, I’ll wait for next season. I’ll take it a week at a time. I’ll watch as the team develops, and hopefully, as they come together, genuine excitement builds for our tournament run. Go Big Blue!!

  3. goblue3578
    2:40 pm March 29, 2017 Permalink

    They lost on a last second shot or arguably the best team in college basketball. They beat back to back teams with 30+ wins, one of which was favored by some outlets to win the title but your right, they can’t compete against “major” teams.

  4. E Cat
    3:32 pm March 29, 2017 Permalink

    First, UK is one of its best three runs in program history (late 40s/early 50s, 1990s and now). And it’s not over.

    This year’s team was great, but didn’t really fit what Cal would love to do defensively … effectively switch on all 5 positions. I think this incoming group is well set to accomplish that. If we get Bamba, that’s a *potentially really good defense. Would have two shot blockers in Bamba and Richards, a true PF in Washington and a very versatile swingman in Vanderbilt. So young next year, but lots of potential. Plus, think quite a few return in 2018-19, which would set up for another monster team like 2012 and 2015.

    • BigBlueMeade
      4:09 pm March 29, 2017 Permalink

      I agree. I wish people would understand that Cal knows that he needs upperclassmen and has been recruiting those players for years, but those who hate one and done close their eyes to it.

  5. Sentient Third Eye
    3:35 pm March 29, 2017 Permalink

    The only thing remaining is we need a few key, effective upperclassmen coming back, and we have several possibilities to fill that role. It’s shaping up nicely.

  6. NotChuckNorris
    4:40 pm March 29, 2017 Permalink

    I hear versatile and think “athletic, but not great shooters.”