With this season over, we’re on the cusp of an offseason that might be different from most of the others in the John Calipari era. There might not be very many NBA Draft departures from this year’s Kentucky basketball team.
If that’s the case, Kentucky will look to bounce back with a loaded roster next year as Calipari brings the number six recruiting class in the country on board, featuring Immanuel Quickley (five-star guard), Keldon Johnson (five-star wing) and Tyler Herro (four-star guard).
Because of that possibility, basketball expert Ken Pomeroy has Kentucky ranked number five in his early rankings for the 2018-19 season.
Here's my computer's top 10 for 2019 assuming everyone in @DraftExpress top 40 leaves: 1) Kansas, 2) Duke, 3) Villanova, 4) Auburn, 5) Kentucky, 6) North Carolina, 7) Nevada, 8) West Virginia, 9) Gonzaga, 10) Virginia, 11) Maryland.— Ken Pomeroy (@kenpomeroy) March 24, 2018
Kentucky has three players that don’t count toward this ranking in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kevin Knox and Hamidou DIallo, as they’re all in the Draft Express top 40. KenPom’s ranking assumes that everyone else on the roster will stay at Kentucky.
That’s not bad company for Kentucky to be in after getting bounced in the Sweet 16 this year.
Bill Self is constantly building continuity at Kansas, and the Duke Blue Devils have the holy grail of one-and-done recruiting classes coming in next year, plus Villanova is obviously a force to be reckoned with as long as Jay Wright is there.
The Auburn Tigers are a bit of a surprise that high up, but they do offer Kentucky some competition in the SEC. We’ll see if Bruce Pearl’s first successful season at Auburn was a one-time deal, or if KenPom has the Tigers accurately ranked.