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Kentucky Basketball going forward without Marques Bolden

Duke continues to build up a loaded roster, but when you have Cal you always have a chance

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

After a long period of exhilarating wait and suspense, 5-star big man Marques Bolden has announced that he will be playing for the Duke Blue Devils next season.

Bolden, arguably the best center in the Class of 2016, had been deciding between Kentucky and Duke for months now. Finally, it's official that he will be joining Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum, and Frank Jackson with what should now be the nation's top recruiting class.

The next big question is, how does Kentucky look going forward without Bolden?

John Calipari's 2016 recruiting class is already stacked enough as it is, with five 5-star recruits. Bolden would have been a nice compliment besides Bam Adebayo down low, but Kentucky will be just fine without him.

What would have been a two-center front court with Bam and Bolden, will now more than likely be Adebayo and either Wenyen Gabriel or Derek Willis alongside him. Both of those players are more accustomed to playing on the perimeter rather than down low, so it will be interesting to see how that potentially works in a three-guard lineup already, especially if Isaiah Briscoe returns.

Briscoe, Malik Monk and De'Aaron Fox is already one of, if not the best defensive backcourt in college basketball next season. Having Bolden in the post could have helped make this the best defensive team overall, but this still should be one of the stronger defenses in college hoops.

With Bolden off to Duke, Kentucky fans should be seeing a lot more of Sacha Killeya-Jones, Isaac Humphries, and Tai Wynyard playing in the post. The possibility of Marcus Lee returning for his senior season increases with Bolden gone, but I would not count on that idea much.

Lee was the team's leading shot-blocker last year, so it's not like he can't make a big impact next year, especially now that he doesn't have to fight Bolden for minutes. Either way, it looks like Lee returning or staying in the draft is the only possible frontcourt decision for UK now with no other bigs on the market they're still recruiting.

All and all, Kentucky still looks very solid going into next season. Duke continues to build up a superhero roster, but when you have Cal you always have a chance.