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Would a loaded 2021-22 roster justify Kentucky’s struggles in 2020-21?

Sitting at 7-13 on the year with just four confirmed games on the schedule to close out the regular season, opportunities for Kentucky to turn things around are slim, to say the least. Even considering John Calipari’s push to add “a couple games” to the schedule during the last week of the regular season, we’re talking six more games heading into SEC Tournament play, meaning the absolute best winning percentage UK can have is .500 at 13-13 overall.

Sure, the Wildcats could end the regular season on a magical eight-game winning streak, make a run in Nashville and claim the SEC title to earn an NCAA Tournament bid, creating a season restart of sorts. Coach Cal and the players are certainly dreaming big, using every media opportunity to talk about how they still have plenty to play for.

But what if UK runs out of runway and they’re unable to win it all in Nashville, essentially ending the team’s chances of making the NCAA Tournament? What if they never get the storybook finish Calipari is hoping for?

With that possibility very much on the table, along with the never-ending COVID-19 hurdles, inconsistent play, injuries, lack of fans, and, to put it bluntly, an underwhelming college experience this season, would a two-year plan make fans feel better about the complete product? Instead of looking at it as one horrible season, what if UK avoided a mass exodus and returned the majority of its roster, creating a two-year project for Calipari and the Kentucky coaching staff?

Think back to the 2019-20 roster that saw Nick Richards (junior), Immanuel Quickley (sophomore) EJ Montgomery (sophomore) and Ashton Hagans (sophomore) all return from the year before, with Nate Sestina (graduate transfer) also seeing significant playing time. The team finished 25-6 on the year, but won nine of its last ten games down the stretch, with the lone loss coming in a game the Wildcats led by 17 points in the second half against Tennessee. We’ll never find out if that team was capable of winning a national championship, but they were playing as well as anyone down the stretch, and a big reason for that was the standout play of the team’s veteran leaders.

Looking back at the Calipari era in Lexington, that 2019-20 group was the most experienced in terms of returning pieces and incoming graduate transfers since the 2016-17 roster brought back five in Isaiah Briscoe, Dominique Hawkins, Isaac Humphries, Mychal Mulder and Derek Willis. The historic 2014-15 roster returned the most during Calipari’s tenure, bringing back eight scholarship players in Willie Cauley-Stein, Aaron Harrison, Andrew Harrison, Hawkins, Dakari Johnson, Marcus Lee, Alex Poythress and Willis.

Before we get any further, let me first state the obvious that it’s impossible to pencil in returnees this far in advance, no matter how the season is going or how individual players are performing. At Kentucky, players who should return are not always the ones that actually do, with last year being the prime example. In an ideal world, Hagans, Montgomery and Kahlil Whitney (who left the program in January 2020) don’t enter the NBA Draft – all three went undrafted – and Johnny Juzang returns for another season as opposed to transferring out of the program, giving Kentucky five returning pieces to work with this year as opposed to just one in Keion Brooks Jr. They didn’t, and UK was left scrambling to replace 94 percent of its scoring, 98.6 percent of its assists, and 92.4 percent of its minutes from the year before.

In past years, though, the team success has at least been there. They got the full Kentucky experience with fans, high-profile events and campus life, even if the 2019-20 group had its postseason dreams ripped away due to COVID-19. This year, the losses are piling up and the individual on-court performances have been inconsistent and largely underwhelming. As a result, draft stock has dipped across the board, with Isaiah Jackson being the lone exception.

Considering the context of the season as it stands now, it certainly feels likely that UK could see as many as eight returning players from the current roster (including West Virginia transfer Oscar Tshiebwe).

We’ll start with the likely departures in Brandon Boston Jr., Terrence Clarke and Jackson. Despite significant shooting struggles for Boston to start the year, along with an injury-plagued season for Clarke, both players came in on one-year-no-matter-what plans, and that hasn’t changed. It would be a major shock to see either return for sophomore seasons. And with Jackson blowing up as a surefire first round pick and inching closer toward the consensus lottery line with his elite shot-blocking and rebounding abilities, fans should prepare for his inevitable departure, as well.

Nearly pursuing his professional options last offseason, senior transfer Olivier Sarr also came in on a one-year plan, and it would be a surprise to see him return, as well.

From there, though, anything and everything is on the table.

In terms of importance, Keion Brooks Jr. is the key piece to keep an eye on, as the sophomore forward has shown significant growth from year one to year two, but he’s not currently listed on any of the major draft boards in 2021. Factor in the calf injury that kept him out of play till January, Brooks could look at this season as a bridge year before taking off in 2021-22 as one of the top returnees in college basketball.

The other big name to watch? Graduate transfer Davion Mintz, who has emerged as Kentucky’s go-to scorer in crunch time, drilling three go-ahead 3-point attempts and two game-winners in SEC play. Pursuing his Master’s degree, both Mintz and his father have acknowledged that a return for his second season at Kentucky and sixth as a college basketball player is on the table. That’d give UK two of its top five scorers back, with both Brooks and Mintz averaging at least 10 points per game.

Rounding out the fringe players, Oscar Tshiebwe could technically enter the NBA Draft and give fans a scare similar to that of Hamidou Diallo, who tested the draft waters after his mid-year addition in 2016-17. After leaving West Virginia mid-season and enrolling to open the spring semester, though, he’s already put in quite a bit of work to get to Lexington and start preparing for the 2021-22 season when he could have simply opted out and begun training for the draft. As we’ve seen before, you can never say never at Kentucky, but Tshiebwe is expected back next season as the team’s anchor in the frontcourt.

From there, you’re past the point of players even remotely ready to explore their professional options, with all expected back barring a transfer.

Averaging 30.3 minutes per game – tied for second on the team – Devin Askew has certainly had his fair share of struggles in terms of shooting and turnovers, but second-year guards have seen consistent growth at UK under Calipari, including the likes of Immanuel Quickley, Ashton Hagans, Tyler Ulis, Isaiah Briscoe and Andrew Harrison. Despite Kentucky’s recent string of bad luck with West Coast talent transferring away from the program, sources close to Askew tell KSR that the Sacramento, CA native is happy with Calipari’s hard coaching and constructive criticism, his role on the team, and the program’s long-term plans for him in Lexington. As he promised before arriving on campus, a transfer is not expected this offseason.

As for the other likely returnees, Jacob Toppin came in as a long-term project piece for Calipari and wasn’t even expected to play this season prior to the NCAA’s decision to grant a free year of eligibility for student-athletes competing in winter sports. Establishing himself as one of Kentucky’s most consistent role players off the bench, there is strong optimism within the program regarding Toppin’s potential down the road. It would be a shock to see him leave, as well.

Like Toppin, Lance Ware came in as a multi-year project, looking for long-term development with his body and game as a whole. He knew from the beginning his path would likely be different than other high-profile prospects, so the fluctuating minutes and production shouldn’t have come as a shock. There are no transfer rumblings with him as of today, and unless he feels like the odd man out in the frontcourt or that he’s being recruited over, they’re not expected to transpire this offseason.

And then there were two, with Dontaie Allen and Cam’Ron Fletcher seen as the two biggest question marks going into next season.

Even following Allen’s zero-minute outing in Kentucky’s loss at Louisville earlier this season, those close to the redshirt freshman told KSR that a transfer was not on the table during winter break or during the upcoming offseason, regardless of circumstance. In recent weeks, though, that tune has shifted, with numerous individuals telling KSR the 6-foot-6 sharpshooter would take a wait-and-see approach to the offseason and his future as a whole. While it’s certainly no guarantee Allen leaves the program – the Falmouth, KY native grew up a diehard UK fan and understands he came in a few steps behind due to injury – there is an expectation that Calipari may have to do a bit of recruiting and get on the same page regarding fit and usage moving forward. Above all else, the optics of losing a former Kentucky Mr. Basketball standout to the transfer portal would be a poor look for the program.

As for Fletcher, the St. Louis, MO native’s frustrations were well documented and publicized early in the season, with Calipari going as far as sending him home back in December due to “actions detrimental to (the) team.” There are mixed opinions among those close to the freshman forward regarding his future, with a select few believing his departure is inevitable this offseason, and others who feel he will spend the summer working himself out of Calipari’s doghouse leading up to a turnaround sophomore campaign.

From a pure talent and development standpoint, both players should return. Will they? It will be interesting to see how things play out.

Say Kentucky pulls off the clean sweep with players that could (and should) return in 2021-22, eight in total. Without adding any new high school signees or transfers, this is a rough draft at the team’s depth chart going into next season, give or take a few position adjustments:

Devin Askew/Nolan Hickman

Davion Mintz/Dontaie Allen

Keion Brooks Jr./Cam’Ron Fletcher

Daimion Collins/Jacob Toppin/Bryce Hopkins

Oscar Tshiebwe/Lance Ware

The starters and positional fits are subject to change, but as things stand today, that’s 11 players on a deep and experienced roster that boasts three traditional sophomores, one redshirt sophomore, three juniors, and one sixth-year senior. It would be a roster that closely resembles that of a traditional, balanced, competitive college basketball team as opposed to a constant turnstile of players entering the professional ranks, something fans have been begging for throughout the Calipari era.

The season has been long and frustrating, but would avoiding a mass exodus make up for it in 2021-22? Would a multi-year roster reconstruction make missing the NCAA Tournament this season worthwhile?

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

55 Comments for Would a loaded 2021-22 roster justify Kentucky’s struggles in 2020-21?

  1. HighBallScreen
    8:26 pm February 19, 2021 Permalink

    The one year no matter what deals have to stop. Who is paying Clarkes medical Bill’s? Room and Board? This Program and University and Fan Base are being completely used. Everyone involved needs to TAKE A HIKE. Including Mitch Barnhart

    • kyle macys socks
      11:01 pm February 19, 2021 Permalink

      You sir, have no concept of reality.

    • kyle macys socks
      11:05 pm February 19, 2021 Permalink

      Sure, everyone can pine for ‘the good old days’ where KY boys came and played 4 years for the name on the front of the jersey not the back, etc etc. Those days are GONE. And it isn’t Cal or Mitch’s fault. If your son was in college and offered guaranteed millions after his freshman year you would without hesitation advise him to go for it. Just stop it. It’s 2021

    • MrFlip41129
      1:16 am February 20, 2021 Permalink

      Love it!! 100% Truth!!

    • TXwildcat57
      9:04 am February 20, 2021 Permalink

      Mitch Barnhart take a hike? You are crazy

    • VirginiaCat
      11:17 am February 20, 2021 Permalink

      I’m not sure that suffering a horrendous season helps us next year. For argument’s sake, what if this season had turned out better. We would still lose Boston Clarke, and Jackson. It’s likely that Fletcher and Allen would still enter the portal. Maybe Topin and Ware would enter the draft, but very unlikely. Factor in the distinct possibility that the chaos of this season hurts us in recruiting. All in all, no silver lining to be found.

    • Cletis75
      12:56 pm February 20, 2021 Permalink

      So he comes here to play for the university, and gets hurt while doing so. Who do you think should be responsible for those medical bills? The university had no problem accepting the possibility of making money off of his talents and possible contributions to the program. Sometimes it doesn’t work out perfectly

  2. az1006
    8:36 pm February 19, 2021 Permalink

    For those pining for a more balanced roster with more 2, 3, and 4 year players, a year like this was a practical inevitability. Obviously a smoother transition would’ve been possible if a few more guys came back from last year’s squad, but since they didn’t, the addition of COVID restrictions basically made for the perfect storm. IF Cal (and that is a big if) can prevent another mass exodus like that, and get some of these “project” players to return, and keep returning, we should see the roster stabilize next year and beyond. Anyone saying “these one year deals have to stop” is delusional or ignorant. They’re not going to stop. But, what they need to be are complimentary pieces to more long-term players. Hopefully this is that bridge year, and moving forward we will see more balance between players leaving and guys returning.

    • EdC
      1:54 pm February 20, 2021 Permalink

      If you think Cal recruited this group because he assumed some would be 2,3 and 4 year player you have lost all touch with reality. Seek help.

  3. T-Town Cat
    8:37 pm February 19, 2021 Permalink

    Unfortunately, that roster still lacks an elite point guard, a true “3” that can put the ball on the floor AND shoot the 3-pointer, and anyone at the 4 and 5 that can shoot beyond a few feet from the basket. All of next year’s incoming players are lower rated than those on this team they will be replacing. Hopefully the coaching and chemistry will improve.

    • az1006
      8:41 pm February 19, 2021 Permalink

      I do think this year’s team has improved significantly over the last two to three weeks. And I do think we miss Clarke in a bad way, because he is that guy that can blow by his man and get to the rim. I’m certainly not saying this team is good, or not a total disappointment. But I do think if he and Brooks had been healthy from the get-go, and stayed healthy, we’d certainly be an NCAA Tournament team. If we hadn’t come out of the gate shooting so poorly (shooting in SEC play has been significantly better) we likely have 5-6 more wins. Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, I know, but I honestly don’t think our record is truly indicative of this team’s ability.

  4. Johnnycat
    8:50 pm February 19, 2021 Permalink

    Nice analysis Jack. But I think we will see 3-4 new transfers in, in addition to Oscar…and yes, maybe a few out. The roster for next year will be much different than anyone can foresee right now.

  5. kjd
    8:57 pm February 19, 2021 Permalink

    To answer the question posed in this lengthy commentary, NO, next year’s roster will not make up for this dud of a year.

    • 4everUKBlue
      7:53 am February 20, 2021 Permalink

      You can always find another team to root for….

    • kjd
      8:10 am February 20, 2021 Permalink

      The old lame response.

    • bosch8184
      11:39 am February 20, 2021 Permalink

      “Seek Truth”…just not if it pertains to Calipari.

      We’re 17-21 against ranked teams over the past 5 years.

  6. TheMaxCat
    9:00 pm February 19, 2021 Permalink

    Another vet (grad transfer) to add to the backcourt would be ideal, and yes, we could use a versatile wing (3). I really expect big strides for Toppin and Askew and another frosh, Collins plays up to his label and we could be elite. That’s the optimistic view but not all that far fetched.

  7. sram
    9:19 pm February 19, 2021 Permalink

    I’m sorry, but I do not consider that lineup “loaded”…… Sweet 16 maybe……… possibly………….. probably not …….

    • HighBallScreen
      9:29 am February 20, 2021 Permalink

      Very well said. But the hipster and dreamers will tell you ots LOADED. And Jackson, Clarke and Boston will be Stars in the NBA next year so go young men. The over inflated opinion of all involved is part of the problem. Vince Tyra has a #1 Womens Team and so did Tom Jurich. Doesnt mean your a great AD.

      At the end of the Day the Tradition of Kentucky basketball is being DESTROYED. Brick by Brick. Arena name changes are being demanded. An All American Player like the Kid at Iowa has no chance to ever play at Kentucky. He wants 4 years and a degree. Winning consistently like Villanova and Gonzaga is OUT the window and thrown into the toilet forever. We dont want to win Championships. Its Pro Day Playground. That’s the reputation and it’s even become a negative recruiting tool against Kentucky. Buts that Mitch and Cal and the Media want right…..

  8. neat1ky
    9:27 pm February 19, 2021 Permalink

    Anyone that thinks Mitch should take a hike is a moron. He has our women’s teams mostly ranked and men’s has the football turning around, really good tennis team and I think baseball will be solid. Now let’s get this right one bad year over shadows all the other great years, sorry that’s a moron mentality plain and simple or another troll

    • NashCat79
      10:14 pm February 19, 2021 Permalink

      Well said. It’s been a bad year for basketball. That’s all. We will be back to sweet sixteen or elite 8 next year. Cal’s method has been as successful as any coach out there. But it was hard for an all new team to gel when they didn’t have an off-season to really become a “team”.

    • kyle macys socks
      11:06 pm February 19, 2021 Permalink

      Couldn’t agree more

    • HighBallScreen
      9:32 am February 20, 2021 Permalink

      Vince Tyra and Tom Jurich are not walking thru that door Mr Womens Basketball Tennis Team NUT. Mitch owns this SH1T Show Cal now calls Kentucky Basketball. They simply DO NOT CARE about winning. It’s about Pro Development. For the Kids….

    • kyle macys socks
      9:53 am February 20, 2021 Permalink

      Sounds like you hold the Louisville crew in awfully high regard. Want to compare our last 10 years with theirs? I didn’t think so

  9. 2andToodleLoo
    9:36 pm February 19, 2021 Permalink


  10. eyebleedblue
    9:52 pm February 19, 2021 Permalink

    I’m sorry but that roster can’t shoot either. Yuck

  11. The Professor
    10:08 pm February 19, 2021 Permalink

    Cal will have the worst record in 100 years. No way to sugarcoat that. Your prospective 2022 roster has more holes than swiss cheese.

  12. NashCat79
    10:11 pm February 19, 2021 Permalink

    Used…that is hilarious to think about.

    Even during COVID-19 and the absence of fans in the stadium the university will turn a profit for the year. These players could have gone anywhere and entertained the fanbase, but they came here and UK will profit, while the players make 45K a year (guess). Room and board and 10 free classes. So…I dislike the one and done situation as much as anyone, but to think they are “using” the University is not thought through very well.

  13. Swizzle
    11:29 pm February 19, 2021 Permalink

    Real wont matter whos here playing a 2010 style offense. And he’ll run guys off anyway. And the 5 stars get all the clock.

  14. zoupman
    11:30 pm February 19, 2021 Permalink

    China virus has changed things. Hell yes, a big year next year would make this one worth it.

  15. BoogieDMC
    12:06 am February 20, 2021 Permalink

    That lineup isn’t loaded. Better get Hunter Sallis.

  16. stx1968
    12:07 am February 20, 2021 Permalink

    If they were actually going to be loaded, yes. But it sounds like this is going by KSR’s typical preseason definition of loaded which doesn’t mean much.

  17. Urincatland
    3:46 am February 20, 2021 Permalink

    That roster is far from loaded!

  18. Glam Girl
    6:17 am February 20, 2021 Permalink

    Teams like Gonzaga seem to do pretty well with much less talent. Players are developed and new players are sprinkled in with that experience. Cal has reduced us to where we are now. It’s a roll of the dice every season whether we’re going to do ok or not. He’s fine with “ok” as long as he gets his players drafted. As good as Davis and Kidd-Gilcrest were, we don’t win it all that year without our experienced players. Folks, we have been reduced to a mere stepping stone to the NBA. Period.

    • 4everUKBlue
      8:08 am February 20, 2021 Permalink

      Gonzaga has less talent???? Have you looked at their roster? Suggs will be top 3 and Kispert will be top 10 in the draft just for starters.

    • NashCat79
      12:20 pm February 20, 2021 Permalink

      Reduced us…one bad year.
      The team was not competitive during the last year of Tubby and Gillespie time. 42 point loss at Memorial To Vandy was my last memory. Even with a terrible record, we are competitive…in every game.

  19. DoubleB65
    7:22 am February 20, 2021 Permalink

    And here we go….finding ways to give Cal a free pass on this season. “We suck this year but it’s ok because we will be loaded next year”

    Wasn’t this team supposedly loaded? Wasn’t KSR doing their typical hype job and smoking whatever was in Cal’s pipe? It sure seemed like it.

    Who is to say he hasn’t over rated the new players that will be coming in next year?

    What is the fixation with Brooks? He’s average at best.

    • BigBluSoTru
      7:29 am February 20, 2021 Permalink

      @DOUbleB you pretty much summed it all up the way i would say it! BBn we need too just except the fact this team was overrated by everyone and still trying to make us and themselves beleive we all of a sudden going to just magicaly win the SEC and march into thr NCAA and win it all.

    • 4everUKBlue
      8:10 am February 20, 2021 Permalink

      And here we go….finding more and more ways to criticize Cal. You are a big part of what’s wrong with our fanbase. If I were a recruit or a coach I wouldn’t want to come here after reading comments like these.

    • stx1968
      10:46 am February 20, 2021 Permalink

      The only thing wrong with the fan base is the segment of dolts who want to gate keep. It’s a small portion, but i they’re vocal enough to make us all look pathetic. I think OP was really talking about the cheerleader style KSR has developed since they got access. Theyve made a habit of wildly overhyping teams in both relevant and irrelevant sports to the point it’s hard to see this as anything but fluff.

  20. Memphis UK Cat
    8:06 am February 20, 2021 Permalink

    Just a crazy year. Cal gets a pass this year and needs to build for next year. A year like this next year and a for sale sign will be in his yard.

    • kjd
      8:13 am February 20, 2021 Permalink

      Why does Cal get a pass?

  21. JT55
    8:25 am February 20, 2021 Permalink

    If Cal doesn’t win next season, the heat will be turned up to broil.

  22. millertim
    9:34 am February 20, 2021 Permalink

    YES, this team will be loaded with good talent, but more importantly, veterans who will now have a year of D-1 play under their belt. To think that Askew, Ware, and Toppin won’t improve over the summer is asinine! Of course they will and if Allen and Mintz return, you have reliable shooters— hopefully Allen will work his butt off on his feet and moving w/o the ball to learn how to get angles and open. He’s a fantastic shooter and hopefully will work hard on his footwork. With Oscar T. Hickman, Collins, etc… coming in and possibility of another grad transfer (preferably a shooter) added to the roster I listed above returning— UK will be a title contender

  23. frankgrahovac
    9:42 am February 20, 2021 Permalink

    Just because someone criticizes the team play or coaching doesn’t mean they aren’t a fan, both have been terrible this year, the best player in the country, Garza is a 4 year player so they are out there if you look, teams like Nova have won multiple titles with players coming back, so to say one and done is all that is out there is false, it’s called knowing talent and bringing talent in to help you win, just because you have 5 stars doesn’t mean you are 5, and multiple 2 stars are NBA starters now, knowing talent and finding it is the key and not relying on the stars by the name

    • millertim
      10:19 am February 20, 2021 Permalink

      So true! It all stems from coaching philosophy. Coach Cal struck gold early and often with a blend of true 5 star recruits and returning veterans—- Liggins, Miller, Harralson, Patterson, etc… but after the upset loss to Wisconsin in 2015, I really think Cal got cocky in his belief that he could coach up 5 star Freshmen who were obligated to listen to his haranguing style of coaching b/c they wanted a quick ticket to the NBA. If you were a frustrated/ disgruntled player, Cal usually pushed you out through transfer or NBA draft… I truly believe Cal cares for those players that don’t rock the boat or challenge his coaching and authority— but if you do, there’s no place for you on his team— this is not an uncommon practice in college/ pro coaching. This year’s failures come from underperforming 5 star “studs”, no returning players, over-reliance on transfers also new to the program. True test of Coach Cal’s sincerity to winning at UK will be who returns for next year…

  24. TheMaxCat
    10:52 am February 20, 2021 Permalink

    Cal gets a pass this year for a multitude of reasons. Starting with the programs success compared to others throughout his tenure. His whole scheme is predicated on guard play and because of the ill advised departure of Hagans, finishing 2nd for Cunningham and transfer of another west coaster (Juzang), we were stuck with a kid that should be a HS senior and a transfer that sat out all of last year. He gets a pass because our roster turnover needed the off season they were denied and that veteran teams did not suffer as much from not having. Congrats to Gonzaga, they are good, but I don’t see another team in their conference in the top 25. Naysayers and doomsdayers get your licks in now, because this year is the outlier and next years deep, talented and experienced team will again be in the hunt.

    • millertim
      11:39 am February 20, 2021 Permalink

      MaxCat, I’m with you on many points but you seem to give too much of a pass to the man responsible for this roster— Coach Cal. He pushed Hagans, Richards, even Quickly into the draft (Hagans and Richards get zero playing time in NBA; Quickly is proving a solid NBA player on a horrible team). Juzang was not happy with playing time and probably saw the writing on the wall with Boston and Clarke coming in and transferred (Green, Lee, Kilya-Jones, Wynyard). Cal relied too heavily on recruiting services to tell him that he had no shooters on the incoming Freshmen class days before the season began— then to make matters much worse he started a high school senior and benched the most talented, best shooting player on the team— I was screaming before the season that this was a mistake. You could see it in the practices, scrimmages and Blue/ White game… Cal is 100% responsible for fielding a poorly prepared team of first year players and then trying to convince BBN that we, and every one else (COVID, immaturity, no shooters, etc.) were the problems and poor Cal had to now COACH a team w/o much talent or experience— he even had to discipline players who wanted more playing time on a losing team…

  25. bbcowboy
    12:29 pm February 20, 2021 Permalink

    Why can’t Sarr return next year? I thought every player could have another year of eligibility.

    • ClutchCargo
      4:36 pm February 20, 2021 Permalink

      He can. Everyone assumes he won’t.

  26. just a guy
    3:03 pm February 20, 2021 Permalink

    Yes. Yes it would

  27. bbcowboy
    5:50 pm February 20, 2021 Permalink

    He should return. Better for him to showcase his skills without this disastrous season.

  28. The Big Lebowski
    6:34 pm February 20, 2021 Permalink

    This year is not the sole or the heart of the problem.

    This year has been coming for five years.

    Anyone who could not see it coming is blind.

    COVID just pushed it up.

    You can’t have roster turn over like Cal has had and expect to remain Elite unless you are recruiting all Top 10 players successfully. Add to that the fact that not all recruiting classes are equal and you get what we have at UK over the past five years.

    High Recruiting Rankings with little to show for it.

    Imagine these teams with a Cliff Hawkins or a Wayne Turner leading them. Imagine these teams with a couple of 4 year Starters. The challenges would have been resolved sooner.

    You cannot have a successful program without continuity. You can’t. Period.

    Cal gets paid a lot of money to lead this program. He doesn’t get paid all that money to put “kids” into the NBA. I’ve got no issue with the One and Done kids. Had I the talent to go that route, I’d have done it. My issue is with Cal and his lack of foresight. Anyone could have seen this coming. Anyone. He didn’t see it. Yet, he is the guy who was hired TO SEE IT and forestall it.

    Cal has done right by these kids. Cal has, however, failed the Program.