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Kentucky Basketball Recruiting: If Marques Bolden Picks Duke, What's Next?

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It is looking more and more likely that Bolden is going to be a Blue Devil. What's John Calipari's next move?

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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?

All signs point to Bolden in Durham, and the 24/7 Crystal Ball has Duke favored 77% over Kentucky at 23%. And honestly, K needs him much more than John Calipari does. With the departure of Marshall Plumlee, the Blue Devils have a huge spot to fill in the middle whereas the Wildcats have options at the center position.

So, if Bolden does indeed commit Duke like I expect, where does John Calipari go from there?

The Jarrett Allen Option

Jarrett Allen burst back onto the radar during the week of the McDonald's All-American Game.The big man out of Austin, Texas had an offer from Kentucky and visited in November, but both parties backed off of one another once the Wildcats landed Bam Adebayo. At the time, Marques Bolden was considered a heavy lean for Kentucky.

But once the tide started turning towards Duke for Bolden, John Calipari reached out to Allen before practices began in Chicago to let him know that Kentucky is still considering him.

Allen is 6'9, 210 pounds, and is ranked right around Bolden in most services. According to ESPN, Allen is the 19th best player in the class and Bolden is ranked behind him at 20. Allen started over Bolden in both the McDonald's All-American Game and the Nike Hoops Summit game.



But Cal has a lot of ground to make up with Allen. Texas, his home state school, is considered the heavy favorite at this point and Allen may not be feeling too great about being Cal's second option behind Bolden. Calipari expressed regret at not recruiting Thomas Bryant hard enough after losing to Indiana after the round of 32. Hopefully he isn't feeling the same way about Allen.

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.