There’s been a lot of talk over the past few days about UK’s scholarship numbers for next season, specifically how many spots are left as John Calipari continues to pursue Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle, Aaron Gordon and possibly Dominique Hawkins.
Here’s a breakdown of where things stand. The magic number is 13, which is how many scholarship players UK can have next season:
LOCKED-UP SCHOLARSHIPS (7)
Andrew Harrison – Incoming freshman
Aaron Harrison – Incoming freshman
Dakari Johnson – Incoming freshman
Marcus Lee – Incoming freshman
Derek Willis – Incoming freshman
James Young – Incoming freshman
Kyle Wiltjer – Not projected as NBA draft pick
SCHOLARSHIPS ON HOLD (2)
Aaron Gordon – Undecided recruit
Julius Randle – Undecided recruit
Andrew Wiggins – Undecided recruit
Note: UK’s best scenario here is to get two out of three, with those two likely being Wiggins and Randle. No one thinks UK will land all three, hence the two scholarships on hold.
So that’s 9 of 13 scholarships accounted for, at least for the time being. Moving on …
REMAINING PLAYERS CURRENTLY ON SCHOLARSHIP (7)
Nerlens Noel – Projected NBA pick
Archie Goodwin – Projected NBA pick
Willie Cauley-Stein – Projected NBA pick
Alex Poythress – Projected NBA pick
Ryan Harrow – ???
Jon Hood – On track to graduate
Jarrod Polson – On track to graduate
To have one more available scholarship for 2013-14 (which at this point could go to Hawkins), four of the seven players above would have to leave UK.
Noel and Goodwin are considered locks to declare for the draft. Cauley-Stein and Poythress could join them. All four freshmen are pegged as Top 20 draft picks by ESPN’s Chad Ford.
Harrow will undoubtedly have to take a smaller role on next season’s team and could look to continue his career elsewhere. Hood and Polson — assuming they do graduate — would have to enroll in post-graduate classes at UK to be eligible to play. Also, Polson joined the team as a walk-on with the understanding that a scholarship might not be available every year.
Add all of that up, and it seems likely that at least four (probably more) from this group won’t be on the team next season. If four players from this group do return (or three players return and Calipari wants to keep a scholarship open for a possible graduate student transfer like Julius Mays), UK could still offer Hawkins a preferred walk-on spot.
But with other big schools coming at Hawkins with scholarships, would he take it?
We’ll just have to wait and see.