After every commitment to Kentucky (and there have been a lot of them lately), UK fans have asked, “How many scholarships does John Calipari have for the class of 2013?”
Don’t worry, folks. He has plenty.
College basketball programs are granted 13 athletic scholarships. This season’s squad had only eight scholarship players. Twany Beckham, Jarrod Polson, Sam Malone and Brian Long all came to the program as walk-ons, although those four players have received scholarships for 2012-13.
So this season’s team has 12 scholarships spoken for, leaving one open for the possible midseason addition of a player like Tony Trocha.
Next season, UK will be in a similar situation.
Nerlens Noel, Alex Poythress, Archie Goodwin and Ryan Harrow are all projected to be first-round NBA draft picks after just one year at Kentucky. Senior transfer Julius Mays will have exhausted his eligibility after this season.
If all of the players projected to be drafted move on to the NBA, that would leave Jon Hood, Kyle Wiltjer and Willie Cauley-Stein as the only returnees who entered the program as scholarship players.
That would leave Calipari with 10 scholarships to play with, and the UK coach is not going to bring in 10 newcomers.
UK’s class of 2013 currently consists of five recruits: Andrew and Aaron Harrison, James Young, Marcus Lee and Derek Willis. If Noel, Poythress, Goodwin and Harrow go to the NBA, UK would still have five scholarships to give.
The uncommitted 2013 players with UK scholarship offers are Julius Randle, Aaron Gordon, Tyler Roberson and Kennedy Meeks. Andrew Wiggins, who could reclassify to 2013, also has an offer.
It’s probably unlikely that Calipari would add more than two of those players to his current class. Adding two would make it a class of seven. If Wiltjer, Hood and Cauley-Stein come back, that’s 10 scholarships with three left over.
Yes, this is all based on the assumption that Noel, Poythress, Goodwin and Harrow all go to the NBA. It’s also based on the assumption that Wiltjer and Cauley-Stein won’t. Some think they could, which would obviously mean even more open scholarships.
So you can worry about whether or not Randle will commit to Kentucky. You can worry about whether or not Wiggins will reclassify. But don’t worry about a shortage of scholarships for 2013-14.
Calipari will have plenty.