For a number of reasons the fellows who will make up the 2009-20010 Kentucky Wildcats basketball team will have been recruited by three very well known coaches and the seniors, will by the end of the year, have played under three different big name coaches. In the process the team composition has evolved into a group of very tough, long athletic players.
Two players sould have been ready to command huge dollars in the NBA by this time. However, due to injuries, lack of depth and a continual transition of coaches, Meeks and Patterson still lack some basic skills that keep them, IMO, from being high lottery picks. As a guard, Jodie needs to improve his handle and midrange shot. As a potential small forward in the pros, Patrick needs to improve his mid and long range shooting. As a power forward, Patrick must get bigger and stronger. He is currently a tweener like Chuck Hayes.
For the last few years, KY has been looking for an outstanding PG; and the quest continues. Physically and emotionally, I don't believe I have seen a tougher point guard than Porter. The problem was that he was really a shooting guard. He took a great deal of physical abuse on the floor from other players and a great deal of emotional abuse (criticism) from the fanbase. However, he rose to the challenge every game and played his heart out. Always the loyal soldier, he did what was asked of him. I hope is walks on, or at least is recognized on senior night. It will not be complete without him.
So now we are left with four additional seniors to lead the team. Galloway is a gifted athelete who has a great handle, but must develop his outside/FT shot, Meeks who I hope for his sake will return, Ramon who is the best defender coming back from last year's team who has to become more offensively minded and Stevenson who cannot not get lost in a game and must dominate.
To this class, we find three juniors. The beast Matt Pilgrim is finally unleashed. At 6'8" 233 lbs, he is claimed to be a great rebounder and quick enough to play SF. Along side of him is Stewart, who has may really florish under Coach Cal's system. At 6'8" and 218 lbs., Stewart is a fine athlete. Finally we come to Josh Harrellson(6'10" 260 lbs), one of my three sons(Patterson and Stevenson). These three big men along with Orton (265), Cousins(250) and Patterson(235) make the deepest and highest quality front court I can ever remember. No one, and I mean no one should push us around like Georgia did last year.
This leads me to the sophomores. Miller (6'7" 225lbs) can playt the 2 or 3 and sometimes brought the ball up the court last year.He is alredy getting high praise from Coach Cal. Liggins (6'6" and 208 lbs.) has shown some talent at the PG but will need to make better decisions. He also must become a team player, because the talent level around him has risen exponentially.
The freshmen on this class are among the most talented athletes on the team. That is both good and bad. Good in the case that by March, barring injuries, we will have a dynomite team. Bad in terms of most freshmen have games early in their career riddled with mental mistakes that cost games. Poor defense, missed FTs, or fouling the three point shooter late in the game are just examples of what can happen. Nevertheless, Cousins (6'10 250 lbs.) gives us the enforcer that this team desparately needs. Orton (6'10" 260 lbs.) (hope he stays) is another 5 star beast. Hood (high 4 star 6'6" 185 lbs.) is ranked higher than Meeks was when he graduated from HS.
With Coach Cal's system, I forsee a team that plays 9 players many of whom have years of experience and all who were ranked a four or five star coming out of high school. These players are backed up by four experienced two star players who are good athletes. Coach Cal can certainly "call off the dogs" and still increase the lead with this team. We will just keep coming.
Finally, if someone gives up their scholarship, and walks on, transfers or something else happens, we have the opportunite to add a quality PG to this equation. It is a very exciting prospect.