It seems like a slow week so I thought I would throw a topic out and get your thoughts. Last year we saw a record exodus of UK players into the NBA. Then Cal, true to his record, refilled the talent pool. Halfway through this season we have seen both the promise and youth of the incoming class. My mind started to wonder. We know that we have some great young talent coming in next year. The question is how much of our talent this year will still be here next year? Also, what is the prognosis for that Wildcat team?
My thoughts after the break.
Let’s start with the obvious. We only have one senior, Josh Harrellson. Losing Josh will make our void in the middle bigger. While he isn’t a great offensive threat, he gets us offense by rebounding. We also know the incoming freshmen (11-12) are very talented! What else do you expect from Cal? However, none of the incoming freshmen are traditional "big men" ( Kyle Wiltjer & Anthony Davis are ~6’10, ~210). While we get the #1 PF, #1 SF, #1 PG and #5PF, none of them will replace what Harrellson does, and Eloy Vargas is still a project. I don’t think this dooms us, though, since the incoming class seems to be the sort of athletes/players well suited for the DDMO. Regardless of their size, they are extremely talented and will be able to make an impact.
The real question is, does Lamb, Knight, and/or Jones stay? There is a lot of season left, so this is just speculation, but I thought the conversation could be interesting. At this point, I am not sure what their NBA stock is worth, but I think the most likely to go is Jones, then Lamb, then Knight. Jones has all of the talent and size for the next level, but he has had some growing pains in terms of consistency. However, the draft is about potential and I think he has the most. Lamb’s scoring ability has exceeded his expectations, but he is a little slight of frame and may have trouble guarding NBA sized guards. Knight has played well for a freshman PG and shot the ball well and with range, but he also needs to develop more physically to be on par with NBA guards.
In a perfect world everyone would come back and I think we would be a real threat to go deep into the big dance. I’m not sure how realistic that is, but I think this class isn’t as likely to flee to the NBA as last year’s. Just for your edification, I am not writing this because I want to look passed this season. I am enjoying this group and watching their maturation (even despite the losses). It just hit me that their maturation may include more than one season in college. That brought a big smile to my face. What are your thoughts on who may stay, who may go, and what we might look like next year at this time?