By LARRY VAUGHT
Having a better post presence is a must for Kentucky next season if the Wildcats are going to be a legitimate national championship contender.
Adding Bam Adebayo for next year certainly helps. Actually, it helps a lot because he’s a dynamic rebounder and physical player.
Getting Marques Bolden, another five-star center, would have been icing on the cake. Instead, Bolden verbally committed to Duke, not UK, Thursday. That’s the same scenario that played out with Luke Kennard and Jayson Tatum the last two years.
Bolden said he picked Duke because of his relationship with the Duke coaches. That had to hurt UK coach John Calipari after the recent verbal barbs he tossed at Duke and it was no surprise Duke fans took shots at Calipari after Bolden’s decision.
Duke will clearly go into next season ranked No. 1. But Kentucky should be No. 2 with a loaded recruiting class of its own
Three other things could also happen to give UK the inside presence it needs to go along with Adebayo.
One, Marcus Lee now at least seems to be wavering on going to the NBA and there is still a chance he could return to UK. He said if he does come back, UK will go undefeated next season. I am still not sure that’s right, but Lee’s experience and athleticism certainly would help.
Two, sophomore Isaac Humphries could dramatically improve and give UK needed depth for Adebayo. Humphries had some terrific moments last year, but has to learn to how to be productive against quicker players.
Three, either freshman Sacha Killeya-Jones or freshman Wenyen Gabriel, who did pick UK over Duke this year, could provide better than expected help inside to go with their perimeter skills.
Don’t underestimate what Derek Willis could add, too. I still see him as the biggest key to UK’s season. If he shoots consistently well from outside, watch out.
Then if Isaiah Briscoe does also return, UK has even more experience and depth.
So no Bolden does not have to mean no championship for UK.