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No Bolden does not have to mean no NCAA title for UK

Isaac Humphries (Vicky Graff Photo)

Isaac Humphries (Vicky Graff Photo)

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.

 

 

6 comments

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  1. hicatfan

    Aloha Larry

    Actually, Bolden not choosing UK did not upset me at all. We are going to be fine next year!

    I do believe that Marcus and Isaiah will be back (fingers are crossed) and will provide valued maturity and skills at their positions. Additionally, I believe that Hump and Tai will “bring it” this season….Hawkins will be “da Man” with they younger ones looking up to him – and rightfully so…

    All the best !!!

    With Aloha

    AlohaCat

  2. KingGhidora

    I’ve been resigned to the fact that Bolden didn’t want to be a Cat bad enough since April 17th to be honest. I’ve said it many times that if he wanted to be there he would already do so and that UK should have taken away their scholarship offer. I realize he has talent but I saw him play in the post season games (Nike, McDonalds) and he didn’t impress me all that much. No doubt his defense would have helped but the Cats are already loaded inside. And don’t discount Cal’s ability to pull a rabbit out of a hat. He may come up with a great player yet. NC St. just signed a center from Turkey who is said to be in contention for being the best incoming center. Funny how that works. If he had picked UK he would never have been made eligible. I’ve got $100 to bet against $1 that he plays for NC St. next year.

    But there could be other players waiting to see how the combine shakes out – who goes pro and who stays. I really thought Bolden was waiting to see what Lee would do. To me that put way too much pressure on the team because with an offer to him they couldn’t really recruit anyone else hard. And he has waited far too long. He couldn’t give a hoot about UK or Duke IMO. He should decide what’s best for him but he should have done so a good while ago. He hurt UK by doing what he did and that stinks.

    And for the life of me I don’t get his statement that Duke would better prepare him to play in the NBA. Maybe if he stuck around 4 years and wants to be a second string player. Compare that to Cousins, AD, and KAT among others. Duke isn’t in the same galaxy as UK when it comes to producing top centers. Then there’s Kanter, WCS, Lyles, Johnson, etc.. UK has put more centers in the league in any 2 year period than Duke has since the Cal era started. And UK centers in the NBA are the league’s best. How anyone could get him to say those words is just insane. No way K prepares centers to play pro ball like Cal does. Think Harrellson. Tell me that guy would have gone pro if he played at Duke. Yes he didn’t make it but he got a big pay day for trying. Compare to Duke’s best effort in Jahlil Okafor. That’s one against how many at UK? Add up every center in the history of Duke and they don’t compare to the center production from Cal at UK. Not even close. Who else have they had? Laettner? That was 25 years ago. And he wasn’t as good as any of the big 3 UK centers from the Cal era.

  3. Mike

    I think it has been apparent to many, for some time now, that he didn’t want to come here. He is just another egocentric who enjoyed the process and wanted to stay in the limelight. I knew he wouldn’t be coming when Jeff Goodman said he thought he was. With his parents having so much control over this situation, it is probably better for all that he didn’t come. We will be fine without him. The thing that he will miss the most is not having coach Mike coach him up. He looked more like a Dookie anyway.

  4. Larry Pup

    I believes this gives Duke the No. 1 class? I guess Bolden wanted to be “set for life.”

    1. Mike

      There are still a couple of services that have UK #1.

  5. Cats79

    Im not a big supporter of this so call class rankings or how many stars that prospects get. It’s all about the media or experts getting attention for there news outlet. All I want is a player wearing the blue give there best shot and try get no9 home. Go cats!!

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