And Here. We. Go!
This week five Kentucky players have announced decisions regarding their future as Wildcats. Earlier today, freshman shooting guard Tyler Herro joined teammates Keldon Johnson and PJ Washington in entering the 2019 NBA Draft.
Rounding out the week of announcements was freshman guard Immanuel Quickley, who just announced Friday afternoon (via Instagram) that he will be returning for another year. He joins freshman point guard Ashton Hagans who announced earlier this week in similar fashion that he will be back (like he forgot his keys) in the blue & white for his sophomore season.
As the NCAA withdrawal date approaches on May 29th, the Big Blue Nation will undoubtedly use that time to speculate about each player’s final decisions in an attempt to start visualizing and building excitement for the 2019-20 campaign.
While NBA Draft announcements continue and projections are taken into account, look no further for your up-to-date projection of the 2019-20 Kentucky Men’s Basketball Team.
- PG – Ashton Hagans (Sophomore) / Immanuel Quickley (Sophomore)
- SG – Tyrese Maxey (Freshman) / Jemarl Baker Jr. (R-Sophomore) / Brad Calipari (R-Junior)
- SF – Khalil Whitney (Freshman) / Keion Brooks (Freshman) / Dontaie Allen (Freshman) / Zan Payne (R-Freshman)
- PF – EJ Montgomery (Sophomore) / Keion Brooks (Freshman)
- C – Nick Richards (Junior) / Nate Sestina (Graduate Transfer)
If this projection holds true, Kentucky would be in a prime position to compete for a title next season despite losing three projected first round draft picks – PJ Washington, Tyler Herro, and Keldon Johnson, as well as a graduate leader in Reid Travis.
The 2019-20 team would be one of Coach Cal’s largest combinations of talent and experience in his decade in Lexington. It would be only the second time Calipari returned his starting point guard from the previous season (2014-15 Andrew Harrison), and I think we could all agree that turned out pretty well.
The coupling of at least four key returners and a top recruiting class, currently ranked No. 2 in the national rankings, has historically been a recipe for success under Calipari. His best teams here have been comprised of a similar framework.
Yes it’s early, but if Andy Katz can stand on the floor at the Final Four – before they’ve even had a chance to sweep off the confetti – and deliver his “Early College Basketball Rankings for 2019-20,” then we can indulge in our own look towards the future (a future that seems bright, I might add).
Coach Cal has a history of adding players late in the process, so the roster has its typical sense of fluidity around this time of year. It may be some time before we truly know the team that will tip off the 2019-20 season in October. Until then, we’ll be here to catch you up to speed.