Roster should begin to solidify soon

Kentucky is in it's final week of individual workouts, as Friday marks the final day of spring classes at UK. Final exams will be held next week. It is at this time of year that fans normally learn who will be departing from the Kentucky program, as the SID office has shown a penchant for Derby eve press releases to announce departures.

By early next week we may have a much better idea what the roster for Coach John Calipari's inaugural UK team will look like. Friday marks the final day of classes at Kentucky for the Spring 2009 term. Final exams will be held next week. This is the time of year when announcements of transfers out of the program have traditionally been made. Generally they tend to occur late on Friday evening.

One departure has made his intentions clear, as Michael Porter made the decision to give up basketball prior to meeting with Coach Calipari to discuss his future.

It has been reported by a Lexington TV station that Donald Williams will not return next season. Williams, a freshman this past season did not play for the Wildcats and sat out last season as a redshirt. KSR has not yet confirmed this report with UK officials. DeWayne Peevy informed KSR, "There have been no official roster changes since the decision by Michael Porter to return next season." Which leaves the future of Williams in doubt.

With the assumption that the report that Williams is not returning to UK, here is a list of players currently occupying potential scholarship spots, and their classifications for 2009-2010:

Seniors:
Jodie Meeks
Perry Stevenson
Ramon Harris
Kevin Galloway

Juniors: Patrick Patterson
Matt Pilgrim
Josh Harrellson
A.J. Stewart
Sophomores:
DeAndre Liggins
Darius Miller
Darnell Dodson

Freshmen
Daniel Orton
DeMarcus Cousins
Jon Hood
The Wildcats are currently one over the limit; however, both Meeks and Patterson and entered their names in the NBA draft. Both players are thought by many analysts to be better served returning to Kentucky. Of the two players Patterson is the most likely to garner a promise of a first round pick, and a guaranteed contract. Meeks is seen as a second round draft pick at best, and is thought to be best served by playing under John Calipari's dribble drive motion offense for a season, and strengthen his ball handling skills.

Kentucky is thought to be the leader for John Wall, and KSR sources indicate that Wall is likely to become a Wildcat. In addition to Wall Kentucky remains in the race for four star PG Eric Bledsoe, who reportedly will visit Kentucky this weekend. The word on the street is that Calipari has given Bledsoe a conditional offer, contingent upon his gaining eligibility as a freshman.

Wall is Scout's #2 prospect in the class of 2009 and Bledsoe is rated #37 by Scout.

The signing of Wall or Bledsoe, or the longshot of signing them both, would put UK over the scholarship limit should Meeks, Patterson, or both return.

The guard corp is not particularly deep. Galloway, Meeks and Liggins are the current guards on the squad. Galloway has no transfer options as this is his fifth season and cannot sit out a season and have eligibility remaining. Liggins was recruited by Calipari at Memphis, and could be a good fit in Calipari's offense. Meeks will be at Kentucky or in the NBA, most likely he will be located in Lexington.



WF position is loaded and many of these players can swing to the wing guard position, which would create mismatches on the offensive end. Miller, Hood and Dodson are definitely going to be in the mix. Ramon Harris is unlikely to depart, as he is a player that blends in well with others, doesn't require plays to be set up for him, is versatile enough to guard three or four positions on the floor, depending upon the opponent, and does a lot of little things to help a team win games.

With the return of Patterson Kentucky's power forward and center positions would appear to be a bit crowded. The youngsters Orton and Cousins, as well as Matt Pilgrim, are the types of players who will carve out playing time, as they bring a varying set of intangibles to the team, and are scoring threats that will aid warding off the opposition's tactic of playing multiple players on Patterson, as they did last season. This sets up a situation where the opponents could get burned by the passing skills of Patterson for easy baskets.

Where does that leave veterans such as the enigmatic Perry Stevenson, a turnover prone senior and reluctant scorer, who can look fantastic for two or three minutes a game, then disappear. Or Josh Harrellson, who currently lacks the quickness to play within Calipari's system, but is a good shooter from the perimeter? Where does A.J. Stewart fit into the roster? Stewart is plenty athletic to play in Calipari's system, has shown an increased range on his jump shot, but needs a greater understanding of the game?

Which of the current players may decide that their positions have become too crowded?

One thing is certain; the next few weeks should settle the situation and give the Kentucky fans a better idea of the composition of next season's team.

Track roster moves and other UK sports news as it happens on KSR's WildcatChat, the premiere UK fan messageboard for more than a decade.


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