The preseason praise continues for the Kentucky Wildcats.
The latest comes from Scott Phillips at NBC Sports recently released his national frontcourt rankings and he placed Kentucky fourth on the list, behind Duke, Oregon, and Purdue.
Here is what Phillips had to say about the Kentucky frontcourt.
4. Kentucky: (Bam Adebayo, Wenyen Gabriel, Derek Willis, Isaac Humphries, Sacha Killeya-Jones, Tai Wynyard)
It’s going to be a lot of fun to watch freshman big man Bam Adebayo operate this season. A powerful athlete who can rebound and finish with authority, Adebayo has the chance the be a major factor this season in what’s likely his only year in school. Freshman Wenyen Gabriel is another five-star who can defend multiple positions and has an emerging perimeter skillset. Senior Derek Willis showed production as a rebounder and perimeter shooter and he could be asked to play some on the wing this season. Sophomore Isaac Humphries gave some decent minutes last season but needs to be more consistent. Freshman Sacha Killeya-Jones is another five-star prospect who is talented as a shooter but he needs to add strength. Tai Wynyard also joins the roster after redshirting last season.
Phillips seems to be high on Adebayo, Gabriel, and Willis, but if practice reports and Calipari’s statements about Humphries are true, he will be a valuable asset for this team and provide quality minutes. We witnessed some of that from Humphries last season, but only periodically. If he can be more consistent, like Phillips notes, he will be a key player on this year’s UK team.
It’s hard to say, but I think Sacha Killeya-Jones will see more minutes this year than what many expect. He can do a lot of things and space the floor as a big guy which will be valuable in allowing Kentucky’s talented guards to get to the rim and finish, just what they do best.
Any frontcourt that has Bam Adebayo will be one of the best in the country. Over at CBS Sports, Matt Norlander and Gary Parrish ranked the top 100 (and one) college basketball players for the 2016-2017 season. They placed Bam at #6. Here is what Norlander had to say about the Wildcats’ freshman.
6. Bam Adebayo | Kentucky | Freshman | PF
We've got a physical beast, a fun-loving player with dominant skills around both rims and an ability to bully guys out of his space. He's not going to lead the nation in scoring or rebounding or blocked shots, but on the whole, Adebayo's skill set and passion for the game have me thinking he'll be Kentucky's best overall player by the time we get to conference play. Plus, he's a good quote. -- MN
Norlander is right. Bam will not lead the country in those categories, though I would not be surprised if he is near the top in rebounds. He may be the third, fourth, or even fifth leading scorer on the team. However, he will provide value in a lot of different areas to make this UK team a Final Four-caliber team.