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What impact does Wiggins not picking Kentucky have on the Cats?

By LARRY VAUGHT

What impact will it have on Kentucky that Andrew Wiggins, the nation’s No. 1 recruit, has announced he will not play for the Wildcats? Instead, the Huntington (W.Va.) Prep star announced today that he was going to play for Kansas and not UK, North Carolina or Florida State.

“I think not getting him takes away another weapon that Kentucky could have fielded, but Kentucky still will be overwhelming physically,” said Sporting News columnist Mike DeCourcy. “I think it forces (UK signee) James Young to accelerate faster. I have seen and like him, but I am not sure I love him. He is the kind of player that can grow into making people love him, but he needs time.”

Kentucky will return Alex Poythress at small forward and now he’ll also have a much bigger role with Wiggins not UK bound.

“Alex was never a natural fit at the 3, but a year of experience should let him know what works for him and what doesn’t and what works and doesn’t work for Kentucky. He can still be a great small forward. But that is the most difficult position in basketball to transition to. If you are an extraordinary talent like Carmelo Anthony, you can excel,” DeCourcy said.

“But if you are out of your comfort zone, there will be moments you might not excel. Alex still has ability because he’s a shooter and a great body. He has to work and know that. Kentucky has every other position covered at a very high level. Without Wiggins, they have maybe a little less playmaking. If they had Wiggins, there would be a little less pressure on (point guard) Andrew Harrison to be extraordinary. With Wiggins, you would have a creator at point guard and small forward. Now you don’t have that 3 man that can be a creator. You have to count on Harrison to be the creator, feed the post, run the break. It puts ore pressure on him, but (John) Calipari has done extraordinary work with extraordinary point guards.”

DeCourcy said from a Kentucky standpoint, having Wiggins pick Florida State and not Kansas would have been a better thing.

“I don’t think anybody looks at Florida State as a roster that can win a national championship even with Wiggins,” DeCourcy said. “They have young talent, but don’t have a great point guard or great inside depth. They will be a NCAA team and with Wiggins would have been capable of beating anybody they play. But I just couldn’t see them winning six games (in the NCAA) even with him.

“Put him on North Carolina and it becomes sort of like 2012. Pick your flavor. Like the young talent at Kentucky or the more experience but physically talented team North Carolina would have. The second best option for a Kentucky fan was having him go to Florida State.”

And what will he do for Kansas?

“Kansas still has a young roster, but Bill Self is a championship coach. Bill has done it and will have a lot of very good, young players. He’s bringing in an excellent class and Wiggins will make Kansas a national championship threat,” DeCourcy said.

Could UK’s team chemistry be better without Wiggins since Calipari could still go nine to 10 deep easily any game?

“With Wiggins, he would have had a lot of guys to keep happy. I think James Young would have been the odd one out,” DeCourcy said. “You have to use the experience Alex brings and Dakari Johnson under any scenario is probably a 15- to 18-minute (per game) player. The one who struggles to get minutes if Wiggins had been there would have been Young. But even for Wiggins it will be a struggle to make the transition to small forward. He is good enough, but that’s the toughest spot in college basketball to transition to because of the defensive assignments being so different from game to game.”

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37 comments

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  1. Larry T Clemons

    KANSAS ! Young Man Fooled Us All….good luck AW, we would of love to had you…Kansas, wow…

  2. LindaS

    Good luck, Andrew! Kansas?

  3. Scott

    It makes the Kansas-Duke undercard matchup at the Champions Classic in Chicago a little more interesting as a warmup for the UK-MSU main event.

  4. Anonymous

    Finally! I wish him the best but I’m totally tired of hearing about him.

  5. Pacman

    Maybe it helps Kansas fans forget about what
    Is coming their way from the McLemore
    Problem? For a while anyway

  6. Karen Sprinkle

    The overall winner may have been the Champions Classic. You’ll have a lot of the top 10 freshmen in the country playing in the games.

  7. UKFMLY

    From what I have seen Randell can create from the wing and has a good pull up jumper. Wiggings not coming means more to go around. I wish him the best at Kansas and hope to see him in the Final Four! !

    KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK

    GO BLUE OR STAY HOME

  8. kywildcat_96

    I agree 100% with anonymous

  9. Karen Sprinkle

    I think we’ll be fine with the guys we have coming and the guys we have returning. Getting Wiggins would have just been greedy! :-)

  10. Little Baron

    The decision circus has finally ended. Moving on. Our stable is loaded with TEAM players! No need to upset the balance. Our Elite Eight freshmen will blend & build & burn a path to Title #9 !

  11. Little Baron

    The decision circus has finally ended.

    My long-shot guess was Witchita State. At this point… who cares? He’s not gonna wear blue. Moving on.

    Our stable is loaded with TEAM players! No need to upset the balance. Our Elite Eight freshmen will blend & build & burn a path to Title # 9 !

  12. cats79

    Can”t have them all, Let’s move on and deal the one’s that we got and this whole thing can be a blessing that he didn’t pick BIG BLUE!!!!

  13. Little Baron

    Bottom line.
    A Championship is NOT the most important part of his decision.
    He did NOT really want to play for Calipari, has he once stated.
    He does NOT want to be close to his girlfriend in Huntington.

    Prediction…
    He will score lots of points all year…
    until he plays UK, if Kansas gets that far…
    and then his career low point total will be against UK.

    Remember the CATS shutting down the high scoring Tennesssee star, Allen Houston, who landed his father a job as HC ? Houston was a scorer in the pros, too. But after TN stole one from the CATS during the regular season in Knoxville, a week or two later, UK shut down Houston in his FINAL GAME during the SEC tourney, while ridiculing the Vols 100-41 !!!

    A combination of Poythress, Randle, Willie, Lee – whoever Cal rotates to guard Wiggins, will be ready.

    We are LOADED and UK is NOT for everyone. Calipari does not guarantee minutes for anyone. Only the Best of the Best without fear of not getting all the playing time and shots they want, choose the Kentucky WildCats !!!

    GO BIG BLUE…
    # 9
    40-0 (a bonus, not essential)

    1. larryvaught

      Wish Wiggins well.Just believe he didn’t fit or feel right with all the stars coming to UK. I always thought winning title would win out for him, but obviously not

  14. cats79

    He choose Kansas to be closer to his brother who he plays for Witchita St.

  15. King Ghidora

    I think the Cats are great without him. Despite his claims of not liking the spotlight he found a way to stay in it. Gotta like the talent. But is he a team player? I wonder. Good luck to him, Losing him doesn’t bother me much though.

  16. Jim Boyers

    I agree with King. I have wondered, all through this process, if he was just another Shabazz-in-waiting. I think there is WAY more than enough talent already on the team. You can only put 5 guys on the floor at any one time, so he wasn’t really needed to fill a slot. If these incoming guys and the returning players all develop as they should, we will never even realize he didn’t come here.

    Good luck to him, but we will be infinitely better than fine without him.

  17. Anonymous

    I wish AW well, however, I think our overall experience and unity will progress faster and better without him. Coach says every year that he has to learn about his team before he knows how to play them as a team…this would take longer having AW.

  18. Larry T Clemons

    Nice work BBN, no one seems upset or uptight about AW’s Kansas pick… Cool !

  19. goUKats

    No impact at all.UK is loaded and should be an awesome team next season.And one player cannot win a national championship by himself.

  20. Alan

    Not quite, Larry. There are always a few idiot fans who make the entire fanbase look bad, at least to outsiders who don’t know what a minority they are. I applaud Kentucky Sports Radio for posting comments by and calling out 4 of the worst kind of fans, who unfortunately claim Kentucky partisanship.

  21. Larry Pup

    Self pulled it off. I wish AW well. I’m moving on. UK has a bunch of McDonald’s All Americans inbound. We are not hurting. I hope we face Kansas.

  22. Steve C.

    Good luck AW

  23. Larry T Clemons

    I LOVE KY Wildcat Fans, (True Ball Fans ). We don’t land Wiggins, but we all want to Play Kansas now, so we can compete against the best…! Go Big Blue !

  24. Indiana Tom

    Disappointed a little bit with losing Wiggins but wish this young man the best. Not hoping for a matchup with Kansas but if it happens the cats will win. But what I am looking forward to is hooking up with the Cards in Rupp Arena. Living in southern Indiana and seeing all these UL flags flying is getting old. Should be a great game. Go Cats!!

  25. Jim

    In the old days of BC, that is before Cal, missing out on Wiggins would have been Catastrophic. But in today’s times, the Cal era, Wiggins is a great player who will not get to play on a championship team. He may still be the number one pick in the draft, after his frosh year, but he will be watching Cal and the Cats win another title. As explosive as the young man is, he should have a great pro career.

  26. LindaS

    I saw on another website people are trashing him, calling him names, hoping he gets injured etc. He picked the place he thought he would do his best. You can’t hold that against him, at least he didn’t go to that ‘other’ school.

  27. Gene

    Best one I saw was someone saying that since he was from Toronto he wanted to choose a school where he could enjoy weather similar to a Canadian winter.

  28. Tony Drury

    Good Luck Andrew , I just think he wanted to be closer to his brother at Wichita State. A great talent, trying not to be a homer here but in the 3 major all-star games Julius Randle looked at least as good as Wiggins . I guess we’ll see soon enough , what do you think about my Wiggins-Randle comparison Larry V?

    1. larryvaught

      Tony Drury, I watched one of those games/practices in person and thought the same thing

  29. UKFMLY

    ROFLMAO

  30. Paul

    Calling Bill Self a championship coach is laughable…His one championship should have been taken away because of an inelligible player, and not the McLemore problem..just shows again the double standard of the NCAA…

    Do wish the kid the best long and healthy career he will be good for collge basketball BUT we don’t need him at UK we have Randle who will be the #1 draft pick next season…Cal will see to it…

  31. Larry T Clemons

    Time to Talk about OUR WILDCATS and not a Jayhawk, whatever his name is…

  32. TrueBlueJohn

    In the Wiggins/Randle comparison, I came to three conclusions.
    1. They are both great players.

    2. Randle seems to have an aggressive streak in him that sometimes did not show in Wiggins.

    3. Randle really wanted to come to UK to compete with the best, and you always want the kids who want to be here.

  33. TheColoradoWildcat

    Remember….

    We STILL have the #1 recruiting class…again. Five years and counting by most observers -yeah, I know, ESPN likes our attraction, and the money we generate for their TV channels, but think we were second best last year…whatever.

    We STILL have the #1 recruiting class OF ALL TIME -yeah, even ESPN acknowledges this. Think about this: OF ALL TIME!

    We STILL have the #1 ranking preseason.

    We STILL have the #1 ranking in most wins.

    We STILL have the #1 program. PERIOD.

    We STILL have a better-than-most-years chance of getting #9!

    All is well with the BBN.

    GO CATS!

  34. JV

    Young is a play maker and would have been the #1 SF if Wiggins didn’t reclassify. Decourcey is underselling him IMO.

  35. jbcarol

    It may be time to predict the starting five for ’13-14. That will be as tough as it’s been since Cal arrived.

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