After Sunday's events, it certainly seems likely that coveted class of 2016 center Marque Bolden will indeed be a Duke Blue Devil sometime this week. Why do I think this?
- Bolden wanted to make a decision between Duke, Kentucky Wildcats, and TCU before his Birthday, which is April 17th.
- Bolden had a face-to-face meeting with Coach K on Sunday, which will be his last with any coach.
- On that same day, it was announced that Derryck Thornton is transferring from Duke, which would give the Blue Devils the scholarship needed to land Bolden. It was a complete scum bag move by K, but hey, welcome to the wonderful world of college recruiting.
The Jarrett Allen Option
Who is Omer Yurtseven?
Stop me if you heard this one before: Turkish basketball player eyes playing basketball in America, possibly at Kentucky. The last time this happened, that player was Enes Kanter and the end result didn't work out for Kentucky. Enes never played a minute of college basketball as he was ruled ineligible by the NCAA for playing professional basketball in Turkey. It worked out for Kanter as he was still drafted in the top 10 and is now playing great basketball for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Omer is a 6'11 center that actually passed on a professional contract in order to play college basketball in America.He is considered a top ten draft pick in the 2017 draft and would be considered a big time recruit for whichever team lands him.
Even though it is reported that Omer's eligibility has not been jeopardized, one has to think that John Calipari may be a bit gunshy when it comes to Turkish professional players. He was burned by the NCAA once with Kaner, who is to say the same thing wouldn't happen with Yurtseven?
Work With What You Have
Let's be honest, the cupboard isn't bare if Bolden, Allen, and Yurtseven all opt to go elsewhere. Kentucky, unlike last season, is overflowing with frontcourt players.
Bam Adebayo, Sacha Killeya-Jones, and Wenyen Gabriel are all incoming freshmen at 6'9 or taller. All three are versatile enough to play multiple positions in the post, and Gabriel is skilled enough to play on the perimeter. Bam played center for the East during the McDonald's All-American Game, and he outplayed both Bolden and Allen. While his natural position is at power forward, Adebayo looked right at home playing center.
Kentucky also has a number of returning big men. It is looking likely that Marcus Lee will be back for his senior year. Isaac Humphries will spend the entire offseason working on his strength and his post moves with Kenny Payne. Isaac gave valuable minutes throughout the season and one can only think that the young man from Australia is going to get better.
And then there is Tai Wynyard. He is 6'10, 255 pounds. Whether or not he can play basketball at this level is still a bit of a mystery, but the Kiwi has the body type and the physicality to at the very least take up space in the middle. He will be a redshirt freshman and will be working with Payne and Humphries all summer as well.
Luxury, Not Need
Wrapping up, adding another big man is icing on an already rich cake. Kentucky has what it takes in the frontcourt to have a very good basketball team. With the combination of the incoming freshmen and the veterans, the Wildcats look good at center and power forward.
But we as fans still have the memories of the 2015/2016 fresh in our heads. Skal Labissiere, Marcus Lee, or Isaac Humphries were not ready to be a true go-to big man in the mold of a Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Davis, Demarcus Cousins, or even Dakari Johnson.
But with the guys coming in and the returning players working on their craft over the summer, we should all feel much better about the center and power forward positions for the upcoming season.
Still, it would be nice to add one more stud to the stable.