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Predicting The Roster: Who will start inside?

With Hamidou Diallo’s return and the surprise commitment of Kevin Knox earlier this month, two of the five starting spots are pretty much locked up for at least the beginning of the 2017-18 basketball season, barring any unforeseen circumstances. Quade Green is also an overwhelming favorite to take the starting point guard spot over Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, so we can go ahead and proceed as if we already know three of the five starting positions in the Wildcats’ rotation.

But who will fill the other two?

That’s where John Calipari has a problem on his hands. It’s a good problem, one every program in the nation would love to have, but it’s one Cal will have to solve once he sees all of his weapons laid out in front of him.

Here’s the starting five equation:

PG – Quade Green
SG – Hamidou Diallo
SF – Kevin Knox
PF – Wenyen Gabriel/PJ Washington/Jarred Vanderbilt
C – Sacha Killeya-Jones/Nick Richards

Predicting what the roster will look like almost six months from now is nearly impossible, considering we don’t know the first thing about how the sophomores will progress from their first year to their second, or how the newcomers will perform right out of the gate. I’ll go ahead and take a stab at it, and then I’d like to hear what you think in the comments section:

PG – Quade Green
SG – Hamidou Diallo
SF – Kevin Knox
PF – P.J. Washington

C – Sacha Killeya-Jones

I’ve admitted my confidence in Killeya-Jones being a brand new man next season, so I give him the nod over Nick Richards at center. At the power forward spot, I lean P.J. Washington because it is his true position, with Jarred Vanderbilt coming off the bench as the go-to reliever for both forward spots. Wenyen Gabriel is the odd man out, although I could easily see Wenyen starting at the four over Washington or Vanderbilt, too. This team is so loaded at that spot, it’s crazy.

What do you think about it? And should Cal platoon the paint?

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

99 Comments for Predicting The Roster: Who will start inside?

  1. BigBlueMeade
    10:54 am May 25, 2017 Permalink

    Crazy how we went from an almost empty cupboard at the forward spots to an abundance in just a few months.

  2. UK Fan In Nashville
    10:57 am May 25, 2017 Permalink

    Green, Diallo, Knox, Vanderbilt, Richards.

  3. Sentient Third Eye
    11:01 am May 25, 2017 Permalink

    That PF position is going to have crazy competition, especially if Gabriel is truly improved. Vanderbilt is one of the three best impact freshmen in the country, but how do you keep a talent like Washington on the bench?

    At C, Richards is the likely breakout star, but what if SKJ can’t be slept on anymore? And what about Tai? His physicality will probably bail this team out during some physical SEC road games.

  4. Catsfan1715
    11:05 am May 25, 2017 Permalink

    I say in the beginning we will go “small”. Green, diallo, knox, Vanderbilt, Washington

    • Cmart0907
      11:09 am May 25, 2017 Permalink

      Yeah that’s a smart line up. I just don’t see Cal starting all freshman. His head will explode before Christmas.

  5. malikbuckets
    11:06 am May 25, 2017 Permalink

    Full platoon!!!!

    1st team: Alexander, Diallo, Knox, Washington, Sacha

    2nd team: Green, Baker, Vanderbilt, Wenyan, Richards

    • Cmart0907
      11:08 am May 25, 2017 Permalink

      Cal already said he will never platoon again.

    • Sentient Third Eye
      11:08 am May 25, 2017 Permalink

      Didn’t Cal swear he would never platoon again?

    • Sentient Third Eye
      11:09 am May 25, 2017 Permalink

      Cmart answered my question instants before I asked it!

    • malikbuckets
      11:11 am May 25, 2017 Permalink

      He doesn’t have to call it a platoon and hype it up.. but I could see it. Depends on baker but you got diallo and Knox as scorers on the first team with the better pg green(Luis) on second team with Vanderbilt and I think everyone is sleeping on second year Wenyan. Looks like his body is developing.

    • malikbuckets
      11:11 am May 25, 2017 Permalink


  6. Mc12
    11:08 am May 25, 2017 Permalink

    Tough question. There are multiple lineups he can use depending on match-ups. I am a little glad that we won’t have an untraditional 3 such as Briscoe, although he did his best, and played out of position to help the team. I’ll go Green, Diallo, Knox, Vanderbilt, and Richards. SKJ, I’ll have to wait and see. A close source told me Vanderbilt had his foot amputated so if he can’t overcome that, I’ll swap him out with Washington.

    • Cokely53
      11:38 am May 25, 2017 Permalink

      You put 6 people to start

    • Mc12
      12:35 pm May 25, 2017 Permalink

      I have a period after Richards. If SKJ develops I could see him starting over Richards, but from what I’ve seen of the two so far, I’d go Richards.

  7. nickobeazo
    11:08 am May 25, 2017 Permalink

    Could you make the argument that Wenyen could sub in for Knox when you need more of a perimeter shooter? I feel like Wenyen’s shooting will improve just as much as his physical strength, and we’ll need it when we need that “stretch 3” position, especially if Knox gets into foul trouble or is cold from the perimeter some nights.

    • Cabranton
      11:20 am May 25, 2017 Permalink

      That argument is fair to me. Gabriel played out of position last year as he’s not a true PF. He’s a 3 without a doubt.

      If I’m Cal I go

      1. Green/Gilgous/Alexander/Hami (I think that Green might be really overwhelmed to start off and will be frustrating, i.e. Teague)
      2. Hami/Baker/Knox
      5. Killeya-Jones, Richards, Washington ( I kind of think Richards is going to be really rough and struggle, uber athletic, doesn’t seem like a low post skilled big)

    • BBNDan7
      12:54 pm May 25, 2017 Permalink

      “Gilgous/Alexander” that’s one person his last name is hyphenated lol

  8. KYcats11
    11:09 am May 25, 2017 Permalink

    Crazy to think we could have had bamba too

  9. JTHinton
    11:19 am May 25, 2017 Permalink

    Doesn’t matter; we’ll platoon.

    • kenny
      11:37 am May 25, 2017 Permalink

      Shai Alexander may push green for the point spot. I believe Vanderbilt could be the best player on the team, but his injury could be serious. If he was fine I believe he would’ve given an update, how many athletes get a good diagnosis, but get a 2nd opinion? Either way cal has options with this roster, SKJ could be x-factor. Can’t wait to see what cal does.

  10. Shagaris Sock Puppet
    11:22 am May 25, 2017 Permalink

    We have way to many skilled players who can make plays to not start small.
    Green, Diallo, Knox, Vando and Washington to me can all put it on the deck, have high bball IQs and have pretty good jumpshots to be able to spread it out and attack the rim!

    • jrdh13
      11:26 am May 25, 2017 Permalink

      just no rim protector!

    • catsarerunnin
      11:44 am May 25, 2017 Permalink

      Oh no! No rim protector!!! I knew there just HAD to be something to whine about!!!

    • EdC
      3:52 pm May 25, 2017 Permalink

      Dude do you just keep hitting refresh until you can claim someone is whining for making any point that indicates the team isn’t perfect? Which team have we had or anybody had that WAS perfect?

    • catsarerunnin
      8:15 pm May 25, 2017 Permalink

      1953-54 UK was 25-0. UCLA was undefeated in 64,67,72,73. There ya go “dude”.

    • EdC
      8:32 pm May 25, 2017 Permalink

      Surely even you don’t think that undefeated is the same thing as perfect? You still didn’t address the real point. Your obsession that if anybody says ANYTHING that is the very slightest bit outside our your delicate sensibilities of what is acceptable about the team you can’t handle it and just HAVE to make a comment about them whining or being trolls or whatever. Someone pointing out an opinion that the team is less than perfect in a DISCUSSION doesn’t mean they are whining. It means they are trying to analyze far more deeply than a fan who just wants to believe everything is perfect. Is Calipari a whiner for pointing out shortcomings of his team?

    • catsarerunnin
      9:15 pm May 25, 2017 Permalink

      Well this is a discussion so yes I do HAVE to comment. You’re missing the point of somebody shouting “there’s no rim protector!” on a team they haven’t seen play and whose players are for the most part freshman. If next season proves there is no “rim protector” I will make sure to congratulate jrdh13 for his ability to correctly predict the future.

    • 4everblue
      8:26 am May 26, 2017 Permalink

      Don’t have to wait long to catch someone whining these days Ed, open your eyes and you will tons of whining on this site. I have been a fan for several decades and don’t remember it ever being this bad.

  11. shutupdonny
    11:25 am May 25, 2017 Permalink

    To me, Vanderbilt looks like the right choice at PF. I’m concerned about who is backing up Green at PG. Thoughts?

    • KYcats11
      11:34 am May 25, 2017 Permalink

      Shai gilgeous alexander, pretty good player to have as a backup

  12. ukcamel
    11:35 am May 25, 2017 Permalink

    I’m guessing at the beginning of the year Gabriel and SKJ will start. Cal typically only starts freshman at the beginning of the year that are the obvious choice. Darius Miller started over Doron Lamb basically until Miller told Cal he was ok coming off the bench. When they platooned, Lyels, Ulis and Booker came off the bench while Poythress and the twins started.

    • WatchutalkinboutWillis
      1:10 pm May 25, 2017 Permalink

      I agree. Green, Diallo, Knox, Gabriel, and SKJ will start to begin the year. Later Gabriel will shift to more of a 3 position backing up Knox and Washington will play the 4. Vanderbilt will be playing the 2,3, and 4 at times depending on the lineup and his health.

  13. damage_control
    11:44 am May 25, 2017 Permalink

    Since I have only seen one of the PF actually play, I’ll go with Gabriel to start game 1. I don’t know if those other dudes are any better defensively than Gabriel (although I hope they are), and I also don’t know how well they can shoot. At least Gabriel at times looked like a great option as a stretch 4.

  14. CatBlue in LR
    11:46 am May 25, 2017 Permalink

    Platoon the Paint!

    Make a hastag out of it.

  15. Sentient Third Eye
    11:53 am May 25, 2017 Permalink

    It may be as simple as playing the best personnel for the game. Cal can finally embrace true positionless basketball. We may start ten different lineups this year depending on what the other team has.

  16. bdmnky81
    11:55 am May 25, 2017 Permalink

    Honestly, i think this “problem” means cal can have these guys be agressive on defense and let the foul situation sort out the minutes. Would also be a sink or swim lesson for these guys on how to properly defend AND be aggresive without fouling.

    • EdC
      3:53 pm May 25, 2017 Permalink

      Good take.

    • Angelo
      1:42 am May 26, 2017 Permalink

      i like your idea!

  17. binarysolo
    11:56 am May 25, 2017 Permalink

    I wouldn’t get too caught up on specific positions: Cal talks about positionless basketball and he’ll really have to work that in next year.

  18. babbus
    11:57 am May 25, 2017 Permalink

    Like this a lot

  19. Capurnicus
    12:02 pm May 25, 2017 Permalink

    I wouldn’t put it past Cal to take a page from the NBA and play a bit smaller lineup.

    My starting 5 picks are:

    1 – Green
    2 – Diallo
    3 – Knox
    4 – Vanderbilt
    5 – Washington (possibly Wenyen)

  20. Shagaris Sock Puppet
    12:17 pm May 25, 2017 Permalink

    Something to look out for as a possibility is I remember that it was said that Hami played the point in practice a lot last year, anybody think thats a possibility at least for some period of time in certain situations? That leaves the door open for a huge lineup possibility. I love this lineup:
    PG- Diallo
    SG- Knox
    SF- Washington
    PF- Vando
    C- Kileya Jones

    • Saul T. Nuts
      12:49 pm May 25, 2017 Permalink

      ^^^^^^^^^ This is the best lineup

    • Aar
      1:48 pm May 25, 2017 Permalink

      Regardless of the starters, I think the 2017-18 Cats will be very strong at the 2 through 4 positions. The biggest questions I have about this team today are:
      1) Is Quade Green at least 90% as good as Tyler Ulis? If so (and I think he will be), BBN will be happy
      2) If Green is not as good as BBN expects, who does Cal go to at the 1?
      3) Can we get 40 quality minutes per game out of the two natural 5s? This is a real concern to me given how raw Richards looks and as foul prone as Killeya-Jones was last season. For the last two seasons the Cat’s post presence has been compromised by foul challenges of some kind, including tentative play to stay out of foul trouble.

      I still want Cam Johnson. I know he will provide shooting depth and could start on the wing. Further, I can’t foresee any school or coach helping him reach his dreams the way Cal and UK will. Then again, I am biased.

    • damage_control
      1:55 pm May 25, 2017 Permalink

      ….FOR ME TO POOP ON!!

    • Shagaris Sock Puppet
      2:09 pm May 25, 2017 Permalink

      Im so glad you said that Aar, about Richards. I also see a lot of rawness in his game. Looks to be vulnerable to foul trouble and definitely looks like he needs some strengthening in the lower half to be able to stay balanced in the post. Hes got great upside, fans just need to be patient and let him mature into the season, because hes not going to be ready from day 1.

      7:02 am May 26, 2017 Permalink

      I was scrolling down to make this very comment, Diallo , if skilled enough, make an unstoppable point

    • Ridge Runner
      9:25 am May 26, 2017 Permalink

      Nice point Puppet

    • CatBlue in LR
      2:12 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

      Shagari, I think you’ve got to switch Vanderbilt and Washington at the 3 and 4. My impression is Vanderbilt is a little more comfortable out on the floor, and Washington is a little stronger inside player (though he also has some perimeter skills).

    • Aar
      4:35 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

      INCALWETRUST, the NBA’s big knock on Diallo, other than his shot, is his feel for the game. I agree that Diallo’s physical gifts would make for an excellent Point but suspect he’s a few years away from that in his ability to read the game.

  21. Mc12
    12:41 pm May 25, 2017 Permalink

    Another question will be, who will John Higgins get into foul trouble first? I’d sort of lean that he’ll try calling two quick ones on Knox since he will be a SF that is most likely the biggest outside threat on the wing. Then I’d guess he goes after Richards if SKJ hasn’t developed as much as I hope. I don’t see a lot of drop-off from Green to Alexander. Maybe he goes after Diallo too who knows. Otherwise, it will be tricky for him to impact the game with a roster such as this. I enjoyed him in Magnum PI, but as a ref, he can F himself.

  22. BigBlueMeade
    12:46 pm May 25, 2017 Permalink

    I’m really excited about this team. I don’t think we have ever had so many players that we really have not seen play. Wenyen is the only guy with a decent amount of college playing experience, and all the possible combinations with the lineup have me almost giddy. This team is long and athletic just like Cal prefers, and with SGA rising the ranks he could be the X-Factor. His wingspan is 6′-10.5″ and there are 7 guys with a larger wingspan on the team. Lots of blocks, lots of steals, lots of defense creating offense. The only thing that would take this team to ridiculous levels is a trip like the Bahamas for the 2014-15 team. Would really help out this team fod the early season. They’ll get it figured out though.

  23. BBNDan7
    12:54 pm May 25, 2017 Permalink

    No way that Johnny David doesn’t start for this team

  24. CVL123
    1:17 pm May 25, 2017 Permalink

    It will be the one that proves to be the better rebounder/defender

  25. natelee21
    1:18 pm May 25, 2017 Permalink

    Vanderbilt is starting. Not even close… problems gunna be at PG and the 5 spot. Diallo coming back was huge.

    • bosshogg24
      2:10 pm May 25, 2017 Permalink

      No problem at PG or Center, well covered! Green, Alexander, Richards!

    • natelee21
      6:00 pm May 25, 2017 Permalink

      Guess you’re going off of the espn rankings…. Should watch them actually play.

    • gobble gobble
      3:09 am May 26, 2017 Permalink

      Nate, I’ve watched them all play in person… there’s no problem at point or center. Green is UNDERRATED. His game is a lot like Tyler Ulis’. I’m not saying he’s as good, but green *is very good. He’s a true point guard, which is exactly what we need with all this talent.

    • Shagaris Sock Puppet
      10:00 am May 26, 2017 Permalink

      Quade Green and Shai will be a very very solid back court, a lot of fans are going to be surprised how good both of them are. Both will bring a unique look to the position and compliment each other well. Shai reminds me of Andrew Harrison how he bodies down smaller guards and Quade is a Ullis clone with the ball and his passing abilities. Im def not saying hes as good or better than Ullis, but he def will remind fans of the quick lobs at half court and the textbook dribbles off pick and rolls getting into the lane and being comfortable making decisions.

  26. CVL123
    1:20 pm May 25, 2017 Permalink

    Not to question Cal, but platooning worked. We lost when we went away from it in the NCAA TOURNAMENT. They were flat wearing teams out.

    • RexRox
      4:20 pm May 25, 2017 Permalink

      Amen. The 2014-15 team played with unbelievable energy when Cal had the platoon system going. In my opinion, they were not as good defensively when the platoon system went away. Of course, this happened when Poythress went down. I will always wonder what would have happened had Cal subbed Willis for Poy and kept the platoon system going. Suspect the real reason for getting away from it is he felt it could hurt recruiting, not that it wasn’t super effective.

      And in case anyone is wondering, no, I do NOT question Cal. Ever.

  27. HarlanMan
    1:22 pm May 25, 2017 Permalink


  28. bosshogg24
    2:07 pm May 25, 2017 Permalink

    No one starts over Nick Richards, a future NBA star, he is also the rim protector. Don’t sleep on Alexander, he is a future Pro!

    • Shagaris Sock Puppet
      2:21 pm May 25, 2017 Permalink

      Alexander looks like the player that will definitely turn some heads and fans will really start to like. Theres no tricks to his game, hes just very skilled and plays the right way! He definitely will fill the void of a back up PG and could even crack the starting lineup some games in my opinion.

  29. Shagaris Sock Puppet
    2:20 pm May 25, 2017 Permalink

    For $hits and giggles lets play the platoon game here.
    Platoon 1: Green, Diallo, Knox, Vanderbilt, Jones
    Platoon 2: Alexander, Baker, Wenyen, Washington, Richards
    That really is a legit platoon system! Having Tai as a back up big man is definitely going to pay dividends as well. Aint forgot about ya big fella.

  30. chrisg18
    2:28 pm May 25, 2017 Permalink

    Don’t agree that Green is an overwhelming favorite at PG as of right now. Green is good but not sure he has shown he is far and away better than SGA. If anything SGA has had the better “All-Star season” and is actually more of a Cal PG. I think those two will battle it out a good amount of the season to be the starter.

    As for center, who knows. Richards will probably struggle with fouls at first. He did in high school and it is even tougher in college. Hopefully he adjusts quickly. And with SKJ who knows. Based on last year Tai should get the nod over him.

    Other than Diallo and Knox, how can you pencil in any of the other incoming freshman? None of them are guaranteed stars right now. Have we not learned from SKJ or even Gabriel last year? They were both ranked about as high as all our freshman not named Knox or Diallo.

  31. Bill in Vegas
    2:40 pm May 25, 2017 Permalink

    NO way PJ Washington doesn’t start. Kid will average 10-12 points and pull down 10-12 boards a game. Everybody on the floor will be better when he is in the game.

  32. TheMaxCat
    3:34 pm May 25, 2017 Permalink

    I like Knox and Vanderbilt at the forwards, SKJ in the middle with Hami and Green out front. I want experience in my 6th man so that is where I have Gabiel. Richards gets minutes as the other side of the two headed center and Washington the other man end. I look for Gabriel to play some backup two as well as on the front line. Alexander gets a few minutes just because Green is a frosh and thats how Cal rolls with young PG’s and he will simply need a blow now and then and Baker will find spottime because I expect this team will face a lot of zone

  33. natelee21
    6:04 pm May 25, 2017 Permalink

    I’m not understanding people who r up on Green and SKJ??? Have you guys not watched them play or just going to espns recruiting rankings lol?? Probably the same people who thought humphries was a breakout star for breaking 10 points against UNC

  34. TBW3011
    6:53 pm May 25, 2017 Permalink

    I’d switch Washington out and Vanderbilt in. My guess is Cal starts Gabriel though. He was dead set on trying to do that this year. Finally stopped starting him 4-5 weeks after it was clear he shouldn’t be.

    7:33 pm May 25, 2017 Permalink

    This IS without a doubt John Calipari’s best class. I mean they are STACKED! I know he is not going to say it like he said it last year. But this class is even better than them.

    Wenyon is NOT going to start. Common, this is a guy that always fell down on basic line drives last year, he is not as good as PJ OR JARRED and that’s not close. We need to put more respect on PJ Washington’s game. He will start at the 4, no way he sits. Jarred can be that 6th man that comes off the bench but still no drop off. Heck it might even be a upgrade some nights. We still need Wenyon, SKJ & SGA … just listing first 6. Starting 5 below


    6th man: J.Vando

    • Angelo
      1:53 am May 26, 2017 Permalink

      you are correct. idiot John Wooden convinced Cal to only play 7-8 guys… Wooden was a crooked recruiter!!

    • Shagaris Sock Puppet
      9:54 am May 26, 2017 Permalink

      PJ is one of the guys im looking for to be a consistent player you can count on and will get better every week. I love his game, hes very very skilled for is size and can really really shoot it.

  36. Cals Hoverboard
    10:18 pm May 25, 2017 Permalink

    I’ll opt to wait and see if any of these freshman can defend. Wenyen already showed that he is challenged when it comes to defending a straight line drive. PJ Washington and Vanderbilt both have excellent athleticism and could prove to be excellent defenders. It’s hard to say who should be starting or getting the major minutes at this point. Sacha showed early last year that he’s not afraid to get inside and “mix it up”, only problem is he’ll foul out in the first 10 minutes. Richards appears to have good skill set to start at the 5, kinda reminds me of Dakari but can actually jump. All in all, too many questions that need to be answered before I could make an informed decision, but I’ll say….Green, Diallo, Knox, Washington, and SKJ. Would have listed Vanderbilt at the 4 but I was watching live when he went down with his injury. Too quiet on what the injury was but it looked like an Achilles to me. Hope he makes it back for October because he looks phenomenal.

  37. AmazzzingLarry
    10:58 pm May 25, 2017 Permalink

    Don’t sleep on Vanderbilt. He may start over Knox or Washington. Kid is electric.

    • CVL123
      11:59 pm May 25, 2017 Permalink

      He may start but not over Knox. I think he may be the best player on the team. I was really excited when he committed

  38. hweathers
    11:33 pm May 25, 2017 Permalink

    Why don’t we wait till practice starts and see how it plays out. I bet Calipari can figure it out.

    • Angelo
      2:01 am May 26, 2017 Permalink

      party pooper! that is no fun… all we humans care about is 1) the unpredictable future… and 2) other people and 3) their relationships…

    • catsarerunnin
      7:22 am May 26, 2017 Permalink

      We also care about pizza,beer and ice cream.

  39. ThreeGoggles
    3:01 am May 26, 2017 Permalink

    I just say we put Quade at PG and then put all the other 5 stars in a hat and randomly pick the remaining 4. Eww, we nasty.

  40. davidpat
    7:20 am May 26, 2017 Permalink

    We may be seeing the Lumber Jack, chopping wood this year? He is a bruiser!

    • jdarren1963
      9:19 am May 26, 2017 Permalink

      I agree. A few have mentioned Tai on here, but not many. I don’t think he starts but could play some minutes. I think Winyard will be a lot like Willis, if he stays 4 years. More playing time each year.

  41. Mjones32
    9:15 am May 26, 2017 Permalink

    Jared Vandeebilt will end up being one of the best players on this team. Not sure why he gets no credit.

  42. Ridge Runner
    9:17 am May 26, 2017 Permalink

    I feel good as many of you do with Green, Diallo, Knox. After that… the spots are unknown right now. points can be made and justified for those 2 slots with many.

    • jdarren1963
      9:20 am May 26, 2017 Permalink


    • Ridge Runner
      9:22 am May 26, 2017 Permalink

      This could be a very interesting team come February and I am stoked!

  43. PG: Johnny David
    SG: “BEE-Rad” Calipari (after all it’s earned, not given and BEE-Rad gets buckets!)
    C: Tai Wynyard
    SF: Dillon Pulliam
    PF: 🤷‍♂️

    • Ridge Runner
      9:28 am May 26, 2017 Permalink

      Chris…. a team like that don’t need no damn power forward my man!

    • Ridge Runner
      9:30 am May 26, 2017 Permalink

      Couldn’t ya just see the lumber jack knocking some dude out and screaming.. ok it’s fair now 4 on 4

  44. jdawd34
    11:22 am May 26, 2017 Permalink

    I think with the way basketball is moving to a space and pace game. Having a playmaker like Vanderbilt at the 4 will be so helpful. And I think SKJ and nick Richards are fighting it out for the 5 spot

  45. BCO
    11:50 am May 26, 2017 Permalink

    Ill go with Green/Diallo/Knox/Vanderbilt/Killeya-Jones. But Shai Alexander will push Green for that spot, he’s a lot better than his ranking from what Ive seen. Gabriel could also easily start at the 4 over Gabriel, and so could PJ. I went back and forth on the PF position. But with all the zone we’ll most likely face this year, I like a big with great handles like Vanderbilt. Really hope the injury didnt set him back because he was looking like one of the best players in the nation the last few weeks of the summer all star games. Richards will get a lot of clock too and if he can be a defensive presence without fouling too much he could start over SKJ. Be a fun year to see how it all plays out and IMO its setting us up well for a monster 2018-19 season and beyond. But people are under-estimating the SEC this year. Should be a 6 team bid year. Lot of talent spread across the conference, winning the regular season or tourney title definitely not a given this year.

    • BCO
      11:51 am May 26, 2017 Permalink

      *Gabriel over Vanderbilt, rather.

  46. GroundControlToNumber9
    1:43 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

    I love the discussing… but only if it’s framed as ‘what would our best lineup be’ at any given moment.

    To make the discussion ‘the best starting lineup’ makes ‘that matter’ more than it does… because it doesn’t. The best starting lineup is the 5 players who ‘start’ a game the best (meaning the 5 who can play cold).

    Not only do we not know this (because we haven’t see them) but even if we had it also doesn’t tell us anything because:
    1. They will now be playing in front of 24,000 in a huge arena instead of 100 in a tiny gym
    2. They will be playing with new teammates (and the chemistry that forms between any 5 is an unknown entity at the present time).

    All these kids will get playing time in the 20 – 25 minute ballpark. They will all get a chance. We will have some injuries and that will open opportunities as well. We are deep and will be able to sustain injuries at every position as we have more ‘go-to’ guys than any year in the past.

    The final shot should be taken by Knox at the beginning but we will learn that most of them will have that ability. Over the course of the season we will learn who can hit their free throws too… which is the guy I want to have the ball in the final seconds (a guy who can score even if fouled).

    Even when talking about ‘best lineup’ we have to admit that changes based on opponent (individual matchups).

    So now that we’ve cleared up the nonsense… here’s the ‘my lineup’ based on ‘the difficulty it poses the opponent to beat’:

    PG: Hamidou Diallo (6’5″ 195)
    SG: Kevin Knox (6’9″ 206)
    SF: Jarred Vanderbilt (6’9″ 213)
    PF: P.J. Washington (6’8″ 230)
    C: Wenyen Gabriel (6’9″ 213)

    I’d use the bench excessively Green, Alexander, Killeya-Jones each averaging 20+ minutes per game. Wynyard would be used against big body centers and should see 10-15 minutes per game.

    Keep in mind there’s plenty of playing time to go around here.

    Depth Chart: (Natural Positions)
    PG: Quade Green (6’1″ 177) / Shai Alexander (6’5″ 175) / Hamidou Diallo (6’5″ 195)
    SG: Hamidou Diallo (6’5″ 195) / Kevin Knox (6’9″ 206) / Jemarl Baker (6’4″ 185) / Shai Alexander (6’5″ 175)
    SF: Kevin Knox (6’9″ 206) / Wenyen Gabriel (6’9″ 213) / Jarred Vanderbilt (6’9″ 213)
    PF: P.J. Washington (6’8″ 230) / Jarred Vanderbilt (6’9″ 213) / Wenyen Gabriel (6’9″ 213)
    C: Nick Richards (7’0″ 239) / Sacha Killeya-Jones (6’10” 230) / Tai Wynyard (6’10” 254) / P.J. Washington (6’8″ 230) / Wenyen Gabriel (6’9″ 213)

  47. GroundControlToNumber9
    1:55 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

    Additional Note: Nick Richards would also see 20 minutes per game.

  48. GroundControlToNumber9
    3:10 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

    Minutes Per Game Breakdown (per position):

    PG: Diallo (10m), Green (20m), Alexander (10m)
    SG: Knox (10m), Alexander (10m), Baker (10m), Diallo (10m)
    SF: Vanderbilt (20m), Knox (10m) Gabriel (5m), + 5 minutes to give to the 1 who deserves it
    PF: Washington (20m), Gabriel (5m), Killeya-Jones (10m), + 5 minutes to give to 1 who deserves it
    C: Gabriel (10m), Richards (20m), Killeya-Jones (10m)

    Minutes Per Game Breakdown (per player) & jsutification for court time:
    – Knox: 20m+ (Shooter w/ handle + transition… think Jamal Mashburn)
    – Vanderbilt: 20m+ (Glue guy, rebounds + strong D + transition… think MKG)
    – Washington: 20m+ (Scorer + Paint Enforcer + transition… think Chuck Hayes)
    – Diallo: 20m+ (athletic freak w/ handle + rebounds + transition… think Derek Anderson/Brandon Knight without 3pt accuracy yet)
    – Green: 20m (primary PG + playmaker + transition… think Tyler Ulis)
    – Alexander: 20m- (athlete w/ handle + Slasher + transition… think Brandon Knight)
    – Gabriel: 20m- (motor + rim protector… think Walter McCarty)
    – Killeya-Jones: 20m (offensive mindset + paint protector… think Michael Bradley)
    – Richards: 20m- (rim protector… think Willie Cauley-Stein)
    – Baker: 10m (shooter w/ handle + transition… think Gerald Fitch)
    – Wynyard: 5m+ (Paint Lumberjack… think Tom Heitz)

  49. 8andcounting
    12:53 am May 27, 2017 Permalink

    1. Green
    2. Diallo
    3. Knox
    4. Wenyen
    5. Sacha


    2. Baker
    3. Vanderbilt
    4. PJ
    5. Richards

    Calling it now- at least in the non-conference, don’t be surprised to see Cal go back to the platoon system. People are sleeping on Shai- he’s much better than anyone in recruiting circles originally thought when he committed, and his analysis has gone down as he’s improved. We easily have 2 starting caliber lineups