As we all know, next years basketball team is scary good with star power all throughout the line-up. With the likes of Immanuel Quickley, Keldon Johnson, PJ Washington, Quade Green, Ashton Hagans and Reid Travis in the fold this team is the early favorite for next year.
While this is one of Cal’s best teams and it’s known by many this team can go ten deep(or maybe even the run P word), some names have been lost in the fold that could have a significant impact for Kentucky next year.
It’s not anybody’s fault hat Jemarl’s name hasn’t been brought up a lot when talking about this team; it was more of an unfortunate situation. After a knee injury, Jemarl didn’t play a minute last season and has been relatively quiet when it comes to media exposure. But, I expect to see Baker have a significant impact on this team.
We have all heard the reports from players and coaches about how skilled of a scorer baker is, some even saying he’s the best shooter they have ever seen. In today’s basketball climate where three-point shooting is emphasized (ala Villanova and Golden State), Baker should be pivotal to this teams success with his scoring behind the arc.
Baker could have a Doron Lamb type of impact, which helped bring home number eight. A guy who can come in and expand a lead or use his three-point abilities to cut into a deficit. I’m really looking forward to Baker getting hot next year.
Getting Reid Travis was huge for the Cats, and while the frontcourt may be saturated with talented players like Travis, PJ, and EJ Montgomery, it may be difficult for Richards to find a role in this particular frontcourt. But, Richards has potential to take a big step this summer. While he struggled a lot last year, he does have playing time under his belt, especially starting every game.
Richards has a lot of raw talent that’s just going to take some work, and he’s got the size to play an integral role on this team, and we saw his bright in the Fort Wayne game last year. With Travis, PJ, and EJ getting most of the attention off Richards, that should allow him to play more comfortably down low as he won’t have the same amount of weight to carry as last year.
I could see Richards having a Willie Cauley-Stein type of impact on next year’s team. A player who struggled a lot in his first year but had a lot of growth in the offseason. If Richards can get his footwork right and play defense at a high level, it will bode well for this team. Especially on a team that will need shot-blockers.
Of course, when we hear Tyler Herro, we all directly think about Devin Booker. Herro, just like Booker is an excellent spot up shooter who can also find his way to the basket with supreme confidence. Similar to Booker is it’s being speculated that we will see him in a sixth man role as we saw with Booker and we all saw how well that worked out. If Herro can give us Booker production, there’s no doubt his impact on the team will be substantial. There’s no doubt Herro was one of the guys Cal was talking about when he said he’d love to have 6-7 guys averaging points in the double figures.
All the pieces are in place for a special team next year, and it’s easy to forget some guys on a team saturated with talent. But these guys are the difference makers for next years team, as a team with this much depth can make a deep run and pick up the slack when the stars are having an off night. Bring it, Duke.