With the addition of Julius Randle, the Kentucky Wildcats have promised 7 new players a scholarship for the 2013-14 season. The NCAA mandates 13 players on a college team can have scholarships. With Goodwin, Poythress, and Cauley-Stein all saying they were coming back, and the possible addition of more recruits, what does this situation look like for Kentucky? I’ll try and help you out:
Remember, the magic number is 13. Here is the current roster of players without Julius Mays and Twany Beckham who will both graduate
Here are the new guys: 1. Aaron Harrison, 2. Andrew Harrison, 3. Julius Randle, 4. Marcus Lee, 5. Derek Willis, 6. James Young, and 7. Dakari Johnson
Here are the returnees: 8. Jon Hood 9. Jarrod Polson, 10. Archie Goodwin, 11. Alex Poythress, 12. Ryan Harrow, 13. Willie Cauley-Stein, and 14. Kyle Wiltjer.
In this scenario, the ‘Cats have one player too many for next year. This also assumes that Goodwin, Poythress, and Cauley-Stein all return to school, and Nerlens Noel goes to the NBA.
Who could leave or forfeit their scholarship?
The first person you may think could/would/will leave is Ryan Harrow. I personally do not believe Ryan Harrow will transfer, and he will remain on the team. Harrow would have to sit out another year if he transferred, and only play one more year as a collegian absent a waiver from the NCAA. The NCAA’s 5/4 rule states a student-athlete has 5 years to fulfill 4 years of eligibility. Harrow has 2 years left, and I don’t think he wants to sit another year at another school.
Most recently, Kyle Wiltjer has been rumored to leave the Kentucky program. After his sub-par sophomore season came to a close, the rumors immediately began to swirl that Wiltjer would transfer to Gonzaga. Why the ‘Zags? I’m not really sure, but it may have something to do with his family, as well as his play at Kentucky. The Wiltjer’s are an extremely close bunch, and the long distance between Oregon and Kentucky may be too much for them. Gonzaga is in Washington, but it’s a lot closer than Kentucky.
Jon Hood and Jarrod Polson are set to graduate academically as early as this year. If that is to occur, both players would need to apply for graduate school and maintain a full course load to still be eligible to play on the team. Polson is still considered a “preferred” walk-on, which means he could be switched back to walk-on status even though he carried a scholarship this year. I highly doubt John Calipari would move Jarrod Polson back to a walk-on, but Polson might volunteer to do so.
It’s no secret to anyone that John Calipari still wants Andrew Wiggins in Lexington next year. After this year’s state tournament in Kentucky, local point guard Dominique Hawkins was in heavy discussions to earn a scholarship offer from Calipari. Hawkins is a noted UK fan, and he has said publicly he will not accept a walk-on position on any team (Sorry, Louisville). Aaron Gordon also still holds a scholarship offer from UK. With the addition of Randle, that is probably not going to happen.
Kentucky will have to have at least 2, and as many as 3 more guys to transfer, leave for the NBA or forfeit their scholarship. I noted above that Harrow, Wiltjer, Polson, and Hood could be those guys. I know, I also said it was unlikely for Harrow to leave. Another guy that could be thrown into that pile is Willie Cauley-Stein. WCS is still a lottery pick, unlike the other ‘Cats not named Nerlens Noel.
My Honest Opinion: I think Kentucky will get Andrew Wiggins, and Calipari really wants to add Dominique Hawkins. Three players will have to not be on the roster for this to occur. As I stated earlier, I don’t think Ryan Harrow would want to leave. I don’t think Calipari makes him leave, but I’ve also heard he won’t be on the team next year. I heard from the same source that Kyle Wiltjer will not be on the roster, either. I would say the three guys will come from the group of Harrow, Wiltjer, Polson, Hood, and Cauley-Stein. Obviously, the futures of all of these players at Kentucky are rumored to be over and the situation is very fluid. When I hear anything, I’ll be sure to pass it along.