The Kentucky Wildcats’ roster is still a major work in progress for next season.
Ideally, there will be few, if any more fireworks in regards to the roster for the 2018-19 season. Guys like PJ Washington, Wenyen Gabriel, Quade Green and Jarred Vanderbilt are all weighing their futures in Lexington.
Depending on who UK loses, they could be a strong title contender next season, or they could barely be projected in the top 10 when next season begins.
Jon Rothstein just released his latest FanRag Preseason Top 25 Poll, and it has the Wildcats checking in at No. 3. What I found interesting about it was Rothstein’s projected returnees and starting lineup for next season:
Projected Starting Lineup:
PG: Immanuel Quickley
SG: Tyler Herro
SF: Jarred Vanderbilt
PF: P.J. Washington
C: Nick Richards
Projected Bench: Keldon Johnson, Quade Green, Wenyen Gabriel, Jemarl Baker, Ashton Hagans (may reclassify to 2018), E.J. Montgomery
Key Losses: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kevin Knox, Hamidou Diallo, Sacha Killeya-Jones
Key Newcomers: Keldon Johnson, Tyler Herro, Immanuel Quickley, Ashton Hagans (may reclassify to 18), E.J. Montgomery
Rothstein thinks UK ends up keeping Gabriel, Washington, Vanderbilt and Green, all of whom could very easily be elsewhere next season. If they’re all back, then the expectations will be very high for John Calipari’s program next season.
But even with all those returnees, Rothstein surprisingly has Immanuel Quickley as the starting point guard. It feels like Quickley has become a forgotten man in 2018, in part because UK could return Green and add five-star point guards Ashton Hagans and Tyrese Maxey.
If Quickley manages to start over them, it will be a slight surprise, but then again, there’s a reason why Calipari wanted him to be ‘the’ point guard for UK in 2018.
I also think it would be a pretty big surprise if Tyler Herro is starting over Keldon Johnson. Herro has a lot of potential, but Johnson should be one of UK’s 2-3 best players next season.