Kentucky has had a rough season so far, and most of the problems they’ve been facing can be traced back to their ages.
This group is the youngest we’ve seen at Kentucky in a very long time. This team lacks the maturity, knowledge, and skill that just grows over time for good veteran ball players. This is why you see this team taking unwarranted shots or not taking care of the ball as well as schools who have veteran players.
In a perfect world all of these young players would stay an extra year to grow and truly see where putting in the work could take them, but with the way the mock draft boards are looking, I don’t expect to see a few faces after March.
Players like Kevin Knox, Hamidou Diallo, Jarred Vanderbilt, and now Shai Gilgeous-Alexander have been watched by NBA scouts looking to take them in the first round.
Many people believe none of them are truly ready for NBA play, and some are starting to let their voices be heard.
After Saturday’s loss to Missouri, former Cat Patrick Patterson said he wanted to see these Cats return for another season.
I would be utterly thrilled if eveyone of these kids came back next year. #bbn— Patrick Patterson (@pdpatt) February 3, 2018
Then, ESPN analyst Dick Vitale was vocal about this exact issue during UK’s game against Tennessee.
During the game, Vitale had a conversation with announcer Dan Shulman about the reason Kentucky has been struggling so much lately. He believes, like many others, that the “One and Done” system has come back to bite them leaving the team completely lacking veteran players.
“But I look at that team, Kentucky, and it’s no real knock on them, these kids are good college players,” said Vitale. “They’re not NBA ready. There’s just no way shape or form that those kids [are ready], other than Knox, and I’m not convinced that he’s an automatic, Dan.”
“An automatic what?” Shulman asked.
“Automatic to be a player in the NBA right away,” Vitale responded. “I think he’s going to take time and I also think you’ve got to be very careful of one contract and done.”
“But you know and I know that some kids who shouldn’t go will go,” Shulman chimed in.
“Absolutely. That’s the sad part of it all,” Vitale said. “They all believe they’re better than what they are. They listen to the wrong people. They listen to people out there feeding their mind with a lot of nonsense.”
This team is full of great young players who when given time will be amazing additions to the NBA. For now, they need to take it slow and grow before they end up in the G League.