There is a big divide in the question of whether UK is a talented team, a young team or a 2 man team with no other UK worthy talent. I have read comments and blogs that say all the above. My first thought is that this really isn't a "team" but a collection of 2 stars and other players that have some talent and are young in some cases. Potential, potential, potential. My biggest question is can our coach truly make the players play to their potential over the course of their careers. For me the jury is out. I am going to talk about the freshman/newcomers and give my two cents as to how I view them and what I believe they have to offer.
Some will say Deandre Liggins is a great talent but young. Others say he feasted on high school kids that were nowhere near his athletic equal therefore a bit overrated and out of position projecting into college. I don't know if he will ever be the PG that UK is looking for. He can play defense yet on offense he is wildly wild and is inconsistent. He has no jump shot and I seriously doubt that will ever change. He has the abilitly to get alot of assists yet he also has the ability to turn the ball over with great frequency. The eternal optimist will say but he is just a freshman and will get better etc. Maybe but his basketball IQ is my biggest worry because decision making by a point guard is vital to the success of a college team. I have my doubts that he will ever be the player we thought he would be simply because of his decision making. I certainly hope I am wrong.
Harrellson shows promise and then shows nothing. What I do like about him is that he has shown the ability to score inside and out. Unfortunately he shows it in spurts and usually against inferior talent. He has good size yet is an average defender and rebounder. I don't think he has the athleticism to consistently produce for UK. What he needs to learn is how to mazximize what he brings to the table in the 4-12 minutes he may play. He is a sophomore and will probably not see much playing time next season with the addition of Orton, Pilgrim and the probable return of PP (not to metion Stevenson and Stewart). He will forever be an up and down player.
Kevin Galloway seems to me like he has turned a corner recently and has finally adjusted to SEC basketball. The problem is we only have him for one more year. So unless BCG decides to play him over Porter next season then I am not sure how much he will help. I want to see this guy play extended minutes over the course of several games to see if he should be starting over Porter. He runs the break very well, plays pretty good defense and is not afraid to mix it up underneath. He still has turnover issues and that may be why he doesn't play more. The jury is out for me but I see promise.
Darius Miller may be the one freshman/newcomer that can really give UK a huge boost this season and beyond. There really isn't much he can't do. He may not be great in any one area but he is above average in most . I remember a guy named Chuck Hayes that was UK's do it all player with many responsibilites and I believe Miller can have a similar role for UK during his career. He has the size and athleticism to match up with anyone from the 1 to the 4. He can defend, rebound, shoot, handle the ball and make plays on both ends of the court. Darius needs to show this on a more consitent basis but at this time he has no major flaws in either basketball IQ or talent. Of all the newcomers, I think he has the most potential and if coached up correctly will be a good one.
As for next season UK has 4 newcomers coming in that on paper looks like a class that can do some damage. Daniel Orton, Jon Hood, CJ Vilarno and Matthew Pilgrim. There is a nice mix of inside and out, finesse and power. Just to say a few words on each player at first glance.
Daniel Orton a brute force that I hope and pray translates to high D1 basketball.
Jon Hood. Finally a shooter! I just hope that he can do the other things that are a prerequisite in playing for BCG. I still don't know what those are.
CJ Vilarno is a small quick PG. UK could use this kind of PG in the worst way. I truly don't know what to think of him as opinions I have read are all over the place.
Matthew Pilgirm another bruiser that should bring toughness. He is also another playground/practice legend that has so much anticipation from the fans that he better be a stud or watch out.
All in all the current and incoming classes look great on paper. But games aren't played on paper. Not all top recruits pan out for several reasons. BCG was brought in here largely on his ability to recruit and his tireless passion. Now I want to see that he can coach on a high level and truly make his recruits into something special.
If Patterson and Meeks return, UK has the makings and the potential talent available that there should be no excuses for BCG. Yet potential is only good if you have the desire to reach that potential and the right coach to realize that talent. I don't know if BCG can maximize the talent of multiple players at once. UK will have several seniors next season in Porter, Harris, Stevenson, Galloway and Meeks? If BCG holds form, several of these players will start which I think would be disastrous to the team and the psyche of the fan base. The big question moving forward is that if BCG is the coach many think he is? I really believe after the season, coach needs to seriously analyze his basketball philosophies and figure out if there are areas that he could improve, change or tweak. For example, Am I starting the right players? Are the right players getting the right amount of playing time for the team to succeed? Should I think about playing a few different types of defenses from time to time if for no other reason than to give the opponent more to prepare for and adjust to? What am I doing as a coach that will make each player better and be able to translate into game action? In the end, this is the University of Kentucky and not UTEP or Texas A&M. There is a higher standard of performance that is expected and that is just life as UK coach.
Thanks for indulging my long winded and jumbled mess of a Fanpost.
SevenRings and counting!