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Kentucky Wildcats Morning Quickies: Platoon System 2018 Edition

It seems very likely that John Calipari will have to break out some version of the platoon system this season, even if it looks nothing like 2014-15.

Georgetown v Kentucky Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, and welcome to the Tuesday Morning Quickies.

Comes now an article from Jon Hale of the Louisville Courier-Journal debating the question, “Will there be enough minutes to go around this season?” Honestly, this is a very good question.

We all remember the “platoon system” of the 2014-15 season. Remember John Calipari’s vow never to return to it? To quote:

“If you ask me if I’m ever going to platoon again, my answer is NO,” Calipari wrote on “Last season was an absolute outlier. It’s just not the way I like to coach. I would rather play seven or eight guys because I believe that gives us the best chance to win. I think we wrote the book on platooning this year, but I hope we stick it on the shelf and never have to use it again.”

Not quite a real vow, now is it, considering that last sentence qualifier? Well, it may have to come off the shelf this season, but probably not in its prior form.

I had mixed views of the platoon system, but assuming Jemarl Baker and E.J. Montgomery become fully healthy by season’s start, I don’t think it will be possible to avoid it some version of it. I really don’t think wholesale subs will be what we see like we did in 2014-15, but you will see a lot of guys get a fairly equal number of minutes. Just how equal depends upon, honestly, how hard they defend.

Here’s what Reid Travis had to say to Hale:

“We do have two people at each position that are probably a couple of the best players in the country at their position,” Travis said. “When you break that down in practice every day, you’re literally fighting for your life, fighting for minutes, fighting to be on the court. There’s no wasted time when you’re on the court.”

That’s as it should be, and those who are willing to fight the hardest are likely to see the most time. At this point, it’s way to early to say for sure, but Ashton Hagans and Keldon Johnson have already shown way more determination than is normal for freshmen, especially defensively. You know how Calipari tends to look at that.

But in the end, especially at the end of games, it’s going to be shot-makers that get the most time, which bodes well for guys like Tyler Herro and, reputation-wise, Jemarl Baker (although we’ve never actually seen him in a game.)

It’s going to be a dogfight for minutes out there, but knowing the responsibility Calipari feels when it comes to preparing his charges, I think you can expect a modification of the “platoon system” this season, even if it’s described more as sharing minutes. In the end, it’s pretty much the same thing.

Tweet of the Morning

The return of Dorian Baker is must-see TV, no doubt.

The days.

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