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Kentucky Basketball: Sorting Through the Debris

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As most everyone knows by now, word has come that Marcus Thornton has eliminated Kentucky from consideration and that Terrence Jones, while not having signed a Letter of Intent, seems to be leaning toward sticking with his choice of the Washington Huskies

A few days ago, I said that it was unlikely that Calipari would strike out on C.J. Leslie, Terrence Jones and Marcus Thornton, but it looks like that has actually happened, as remarkable as that seems.  That leaves Kentucky with nine scholarship players (assuming the return of Darnell Dodson) and one walk-on.  If the rumors about Dodson are true and he moves on, then UK will wind up with an eight-man roster if nothing changes between now and August.

But as you might expect, Coach Cal has not given up on the 2010 class just yet.  Comes now a new and previously unknown player, a certain Remi Dibo of West Virginia's Mountain State Academy.  Originally from Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Dibo is a 6'8"/230# power forward who is said to possess a very good perimeter shooting touch.  He is not at all a post up threat, at least not yet, and is considered more of a Rashard Lewis sort of player, for those who follow the NBA.  But he is said to be quite skilled as a shooter, even though word from Jody Demling, who has seen him play, that he is not really an SEC caliber player.

But the fact that UK is struggling to find players to fill the roster to an acceptable level at this point in the season just underlines the difficulty of having eight or maybe even nine players leave a program for whatever reason.  It is very difficult to recruit that many replacements, and John Calipari would have had to achieve unprecedented success to replace them all (which he very nearly did).  As it is, Kentucky is in a bit of a scramble mode to try to assemble a team for next year, even though the 'Cats will have a substantial amount of young talent and should challenge again for the SEC East.

I think it's safe to say that never in his wildest dreams did Calipari expect to lose this many players to the draft, or he would have done more, earlier.  Unfortunately, Kentucky is a victim of its own success last year, as we sometimes see, and that looks to make 2010-11 a bit more of a rebuilding year than we might have otherwise expected.

The good news is that the 2011-12 team is looking like world-beaters with the coming matriculation of Marquis Teague and Michael Gilchrist.  Gilchrist in particular is going to be devastating.  Take a look at this blog from Jody Demling in a conversation he had with Clark Francis of Hoop Scoop:

In doing some work for the Super Five, I asked Hoop Scoop editor Clark Francis about junior Michael Gilchrist. Francis told me more than a year ago that Gilchrist (right) was "the best player in high school basketball." Anyway, when I asked him about the 2011 Kentucky commitment Francis simply said: "An NBA All-Star for a long, long time."

That's positively Wall-esque, and we know how John Wall worked out.



In the news, here are a few items of interest: