If Meeks stays in draft, Wall becomes key

Kentucky fans await the news from Jodie Meeks regarding his draft status while also awaiting news regarding the destination of John Wall. What has become apparent to me is that the loss of Meeks to the NBA increases the need to land Wall exponentially.

Should Jodie Meeks not withdraw from the NBA draft this spring many fans are painting a gloomy forcast for the Kentucky Wildcats. That is not necessarily true.

Meeks not returning would however necessitate that Kentucky and Coach John Calipari sign John Wall. With Wall the Wildcats can succeed without Meeks, by employing the DDM offense Calipari is so fond of in much the way Memphis did in route to the 2008 NCAA Championship game. The Memphi guards, Chris Douglas-Roberts and Derrick Rose continuously assaulted the basket by nifty moves to the hoop, and could feed teammates, or elect to take the shot themselves, with teammates crashing the boards looking for second chance putbacks.

Wall and Eric Bledsoe could play similar roles for the Wildcats, as Kentucky would be in much the same position with a backcourt of Wall and Eric Bledsoe. The duo share many of the same attributes. While Wall's ability to get to the rim and finish with either hand, dish to teammates cutting to the basket, or pitch the ball out for the open basket it is not known that Bledsoe's game is quite similar.

Kevin Scarbinski, who covers SEC basketball for the Birmingham News, and has seen Bledsoe play numerous games gave KSR's Larry Vaught his evaluation of Bledsoe's game.

Scarbinski said, "True point. Great off the dribble. Seems able to get in the lane at will. Perfect for John Calipari's dribble-drive motion offense. Very unselfish. Best high school point in this state since Ronald Steele."

After exploding onto the scene in the Real Deal on the Hill in the spring of 2008, Telep's evaluation of Bledsoe was as follows: A true quarterback, Bledsoe's best gift may well be the ease in which he makes the game for his teammates. He opened with an alley-oop and used his strong body to make plays in between. His AAU coach described the game as "average" but we loved his presence..

In his senior season Bledsoe displayed versatility as he averaged 20.3 points, 9.4 rebounds and 11.5 assists per game. This indicates that Bledsoe may be a pass first guard, but is not a reluctant scorer.

What would enable this offense to work for the 2009-2010 edition of the Kentucky Wildcats is the shooting ability of freshmen big men Daniel Orton, DeMarcus Cousins, junior Patrick Patterson, and sophomore wing forward Darius Miller. All players who can knock down the jumper from midrange and beyond. Toss in two very quick guards with blow by speed, the strength to get to the paint and get the ball up on the glass, and the passing skills to find open teammates and you have the opportunity to win a lot of games without having a guard that can knock down a lot of threes.

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