This year’s Kentucky Basketball team is loaded from top to bottom with talent that we haven’t seen since 2015, and John Calipari has multiple options when it comes to the five players that will start for the 2018-19 Cats.
In the Bahamas, Cal started Immanuel Quickley, Quade Green, Keldon Johnson, PJ Washington and Nick Richards for the first three games, and in the last game he tinkered with the lineups, inserting Ashton Hagans and Tyler Herro in for Green and Quickley.
The season is right around the corner with the first exhibition game being tomorrow night against Transylvania, and Cal gave us an update on who could potentially be the starters and on the point guard battle.
First, no starters have been set yet for the game, but Cal noted that PJ Washington and Reid Travis are “probably” headed in the direction for the starting lineup.
However, while on the preseason trip, we saw the emergence of Nick Richards, as he averaged 12 points, 4.75 rebounds and 1.5 blocks a game and had his best game against the best team they played on the trip in Mega Bemax.
Calipari noted that “Nick has been so good” and said that he is thinking about potentially playing a lineup with three “bigs,” leaving the door open for the possibility of Richards being in the starting lineup.
After Quade Green announced that he was coming back for his sophomore season, many wondered who would run the point with Green, Hagans and Quickley on the team.
Cal said that Hagans and Quickley are the two options for point guards but said, “They’re both going to play.”
As for Green, Cal said that he wants to play him off the ball. Cal has said many times before that Green is a scorer and said he was probably the best scorer on the team last year. Green’s play was improved when Shai Gilgeous-Alexander took over the point guard role and allowed Green to play off ball and score.
That play-style fits Green better, and with Quickley and Hagans being primary ball handlers, it will do nothing but put Green in better spots to do what he does best and that is score the ball.
Calipari has little time to decide who will be the first five on the floor, but from the updates he gave it seems like PJ Washington, Reid Travis and Immanuel Quickley will be three of them and many assume Keldon Johnson will be the fourth.
As for the last spot, it will be interesting to see what he decides to do.