The early analysis on Kentucky’s 2019 roster is that the Wildcats are going to be very good, with only a chance to get better.
That’s how 247 sees it, as they ranked Kentucky third with a chance to be higher if they get Reid Travis and/or Ashton Hagans.
They gave Kentucky a projected starting five of Immanuel Quickley, Quade Green, Keldon Johnson, PJ Washington and Nick Richards. That’d mean five-star big man E.J. Montgomery and four-star guards Tyler Herro and Jemarl Baker would all be coming off of a deep bench.
Travis and Washington makes for one of the best rebounding duos in the country, while Hagans could be the nation’s top freshman point guard. For now, Kentucky’s strong at No. 3, thanks to the returning experience of players like Green, Washington and Richards and buoyed by a stellar freshman class that includes a point guard talent in Quickley, wings in Keldon Johnson and Tyler Herro and another skilled post threat in E.J. Montgomery. The biggest question mark here is shooting, the same as the two teams above the Wildcats.
If Hagans and Travis join the fold, the Kentucky Wildcats could roll with a 10-deep lineup that features a second platoon better than most teams’ starting fives. Depth isn’t something that Calipari has had often, but he’s used it well when he’s had it (like that 38-win season).
And while there isn’t a Karl-Anthony Towns-level talent on this roster, there’s still so many stars that UK’s ceiling would be sky-high.
Elsewhere, NBC Sports has updated their preseason top 25, and it has the Cats checking in at No. 4:
As always, there is quite a bit of turnover on the Kentucky roster. Six key pieces from last year are gone, while the Wildcats bring in yet another loaded recruiting class … that may still get better. (Reid Travis anyone?) I think the combination of incoming backcourt talent and the remaining front court veterans is going to be a fun combination for Kentucky fans to watch, even if they aren’t going to be able to shoot for another year. The question is going to be whether or not these freshmen can all come together, because there are going to be far fewer veterans on the roster than we initially expected.
It will be interesting to see how these rankings play out once Travis and Hagans have made their decisions. It’s not crazy to think they’ll make a run at being the preseason No. 1 team, depending on how good they look in the Bahamas.