In a season full of disappointment, perhaps the biggest letdown of them all was seeing consensus top 10 recruit and McDonald’s All-American BJ Boston struggle.
His woeful freshman season has many scratching their heads, but The Athletic’s John Hollinger, who covers the NBA, believes John Calipari’s offense may have been part of the problem.
“All this has talent evaluators scratching their heads and asking tough questions,” Hollinger wrote of Boston’s draft stock. “Is this guy any good? Is it just Kentucky’s system holding him back, as it seems to have done with some other perimeter players? How much did this team’s brutal shooting close off his windows to drive? Will his rail-thin body (just 185 pounds) ever fill out?
“He doesn’t draw fouls. His assist rate was unremarkable, although again, a lack of surrounding shooting may have contributed. Deciphering the impact of an anachronistic offense will be one of the biggest scouting challenges here; how do you evaluate a player in an offense that is driving and kicking for 15-foot 2s?”
Hollinger is now the second to rip Calipari’s offense as “anachronistic”.
In January ESPN’s Jonathan Giovany wrote, “The hope among optimists is that Boston’s inability to show anything beyond small glimmers of what made him such a coveted prospect in high school lies more in Kentucky’s archaic offense, poorly constructed roster and his own lack of physical strength than deal-breaking talent shortcomings,” when discussing Boston.
With all levels of basketball trending towards living and dying by the three-ball and running a fast-paced offense, these are fair critiques of Calipari given what we saw from the Kentucky Wildcats’ 9-16 2020-21 season.