Julius Randle, Marcus Lee, Dakari Johnson, Willie Cauley-Stein, Alex Poythress, Derek Willis. Just soak those names up for a minute. Now that the utter excitement or horror of that much talent guarding the paint has sunk in (depending on whether you are a Big Blue Nation resident or not), you know how every coach with Kentucky on their schedule will feel this season.
For example, how many other teams have the depth of a returning projected top ten draft pick in the 2013 NBA Draft? Now pair him with another other five star recruit and 7th ranked overall player (Dakari Johnson) to compliment him? It’s okay I’ll give you a minute. And that is just at the center position alone.
Cauley-Stein will bring experience, athleticism, and a knack for open passing lanes and electrifying dunks. Dakari Johnson is the top ranked center in this years recruiting class and is what many people will refer to as a pure center. His dominant ground and pound game and the “I dare you to bring it in” defensive mindset he possesses speaks for themselves on his rÃ©sumÃ©.
Keep in mind Julius Randle, Alex Poythress, Marcus Lee, and eventually Derek Willis will hold their own at the forward positions. Julius Randle is just Julius Randle. Complete player, absolute beast, unbelievable athleticism, excellent basketball IQ and runs the floor like a thoroughbred. Opposing game plans will definitely have Randle highlighted.
Alex Poythress, who was a five-star recruit in 2012, will likely play a mix of small forward and power forward for the Cats. He has a unique skill set that makes him that much more difficult to defend. Poythress can make his will felt in the paint whenever he pleases with a soft touch around the rim and ferocious slams on any and everybody in the way. He adds a great touch from deep, which is what led to his team leading 42% from the arc last season and 58% shooting overall.
Then there’s Marcus Lee who’s two favorite words are dunk and block which he will surely do a lot of this season. Although body weight is a concern for Marcus Lee, he makes up for it in length with a 7’1.5 wingspan which makes scoring and stopping Lee almost out of the question.
Finally comes Derek Willis who has flown under the radar pretty much all off-season, but is in no right a “scrub.” He is not the dominant player inside and out like the other post players should be but that’s where he will kill teams. At 6’9,” Willis can stroke the three with ease, very consistent from midrange and will throw a jam in every now and then to remind teams who he is. He lacks a strong defensive game but he will have time to develop that facet of his game when you have the frontcourt Coach Cal has put together this upcoming season.
It’s hard enough to game plan against one dominant player, let alone planning for six dominant players in the post alone. I guess you can say there are six more reasons the Wildcats will compete for their 9th National Championship in 2013!
(h/t ESPN Recruiting Nation )
(h/t Vaught’s Views )
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