After just two games of a nine-man rotation, the Kentucky Wildcats are now facing another case of the injury bug.
John Calipari announced Wednesday that graduate transfer forward Nate Sestina would miss approximately four weeks with a broken wrist he suffered during practice.
Sestina has started in all six games for the Cats so far this season and has averaged 7.3 points and 7.2 rebounds. He joins EJ Montgomery, Immanuel Quickley and Dontaie Allen as scholarship players to miss time this season.
With Kentucky forced to use seven/eight-man rotations multiple times already this season, the question has been asked several times why Calipari does not fill out his roster to its full capacity.
This season and nearly every season, Calipari has opted not to use up all of his available scholarships.
With the injury bug crushing Kentucky this season, Calipari admitted in a press conference Wednesday that it does have him thinking about adding extra players in the future but that finding guys to aspect a limited role will not be easy.
“It does,” Calipari said when asked about if the injuries are changing his thinking of filling out the roster more. “I just, when I had 11 and 12, Derek (Willis) and Dom (Hawkins) understood. Now they’re both playing professionally. Both of them are playing professionally. But they understood they were 11 and 12. It doesn’t mean they weren’t coached. It means the opportunity to get into the game, they weren’t getting in until 10 other guys got in, and they knew that. “
While Willis and Hawkins bought in during their time in Lexington, Calipari added it’s hard to find others that will.
“It’s hard. Who’s that guy? When you come to Kentucky, one of the things that is a positive is that kids learn, hey take on this culture, they get there faster, they move faster and they perform at a higher level,” Calipari stated. “The other part of this is, everybody expects it to be on the same pace as every kid and it’s just not. PJ’s (Washington) path was two years. Willie’s (Cauley-Stein) path was three years. Darius’ (Miller) path was four years. I mean, they’re different.
“The curse is, if you go to Kentucky, leave after a year. That’s just not how it is. You might. You may play yourself into it. You may be working so hard in that gym – Tyler Herro, Shai (Gilgeous-)Alexander at 7 o’clock in the morning – that you will yourself to this stuff. Brandon Knight. You may be that guy. But if you think it’s just, if I just play games and it’s going to happen, it won’t. It takes you more time then.
“If you’re not going to get into the best shape of your life, it’s going to take you more time. So you get to be around me for two years. What’s the problem?”
With six players already signed for 2020, it’s unclear how much more Calipari will add for next season. Will see if the injuries suffered this season change that.