It’s no secret that the Kentucky basketball team needs some serious help in the paint next season. The Cats were brutally exposed in the areas of toughness and athleticism all season. While everyone is focused on the impending decision of 11th hour prospects Tyler Smith and Phil Jones, Tubby Smith and Co. may not need to look any further than Commonwealth Stadium. The Herald-Leader’s Chip Cosby is reporting that “The Worm”, Lonell DeWalt not Dennis Rodman, is expected to qualify for re-admission this fall. This could be a substantial boost for both programs, as DeWalt’s freakish athleticism can be put to use on both fronts. Already a proven playmaker on the gridiron, the 6’6 DeWalt has spent the last year playing hoops at NE Mississippi CC, and according to Cosby, would be welcomed on the hardwood if he indeed finds his way back to Lexington. DeWalt maintains that UK is the only school he’s interested in.
The other potential crossover is future WR LaShun Watson. At 6’5, Watson posesses extraordianry leaping ability and toughness, as he was a decorated baller for Georgia’s Greenville HS (KSR lists him as a 2-star football prospect, and 3-star in b-ball, put them together and you’ve got a 5 star athlete, right?) Tubby and Brooks have already pledged to let him try his hand at both, if he so desires (and more importantly, qualifies…Rob?)
While neither DeWalt nor Watson are protoypes for textbook “bigs”, their respective athleticism would be a welcome commodity on the hardwood– Just look at what 6’7 Tyrus Thomas has done for LSU, and 6’5 P.J. Tucker at Texas. Dewalt and Watson are both tough, long, and athletic enough to be serious rebounders and dunkers immediately. As this past season and the current tournament have proved, a team must contain such components in order to keep up with the Jones’s (or the Brady’s and Donovan’s in this case).
So while we wait with Cat-like pessimism over the eminent announcement of Smith and Jones, keep in mind that the necessary help down low may be on campus after all.