With a lot of roster attrition happening this summer, some Cats fans are starting to voice their frustration. Kevin Knox and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander were expected to head to the draft, that was a no brainer. No harm, no foul for BBN. Even Hamidou Diallo was expected to leave.
But shortly after those 2 sure-fire first rounders declared, mid 2nd round projections Jarred Vanderbilt, PJ Washington and Wenyen Gabriel declared for the draft. After each player declared, the fans’ groans got louder and louder. Vanderbilt played less than half the season, PJ is an undersized 4 in the NBA and Wenyen isn’t on any draft boards. The fans were frustrated, saying “something’s gotta give” in terms of the 2nd round players even wanting to declare or test the waters.
With the NBA’s new combine policy, players can test the waters up to 2 times and return to school as long as they don’t sign an agent. This is a positive move for the NBA as it’s giving the college players a fair shot to find out where they stand and what they need to work on. But in Kentucky’s sake, with the One and Done culture firmly in place since 2010, it raises some concern for fans.
BBN is accustomed to the revolving door around the basketball program, with 5 star players coming and going year after year. The fan base doesn’t let it phase them when it’s a sure-fire lottery or first round pick that’s leaving. A kid is becoming a man and has to support his family. It’s the borderline 2nd round picks that leave to go play in the G League or overseas that bothers the fan base. It seems that ever since the 38-1 team in 2015, that there’s been a player leave that should’ve came back and could’ve really helped Kentucky the next season. Dakari Johnson and Isaiah Briscoe come to mind.
Kentucky fans used to embrace the one and done, but it feels like some are starting to get burnt out on it. The fan base is starting to shift to the want of having some veterans. And it even seemed like Cal was going after more multi-year guys with Devin Booker, Tyler Ulis, Sacha Killeya-Jones, Charles Matthews and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, none who were very highly ranked. The longest one of those players stayed on the team…2 years.
There has been a feel around the program that, for some reason, if you were a multi-year guy that you were a failure. Let’s look at last year’s roster. Sacha Killeya-Jones has already transferred this offseason and Wenyen Gabriel has declared for the draft, but could come back. That brings me to the point of this whole thing…
Kentucky fans are more concerned about getting a multi-year guy back in Quade Green than they are getting another one and done 5 star point guard in Tyrese Maxey, and understandably so. For once, Cats fans would like to have a guy back who has been through the rigors of college basketball and isn’t new to the scene.
Quade Green has been rumored as a potential transfer this offseason after playing 27 mins per game as a freshman. Quade wasn’t great, but he wasn’t horrible. BBN has been spoiled with the John Wall’s and Brandon Knight’s that have came through here. Some of the fan base would like to have a journeyman point guard instead of bringing in a new guy to learn the system in a couple of months. With only 1 championship to show for all of the 5 star players, Cal might be changing up his formula for the make up of his teams, as he met with Quade last week to tell him how much he wanted him back.
With Quade and Immanuel Quickley already on the roster and with Ashton Hagans being committed as well, (and it being the worst kept secret that he will reclassify to play next season) it’ll be interesting to see if Coach Cal takes Tyrese Maxey for this upcoming season or not.