After UK’s loss to Robert Morris on Tuesday night, freshmen Willie Cauley-Stein, Alex Poythress and Archie Goodwin all pledged to return for their sophomore seasons. Sophomore point guard Ryan Harrow also said he isn’t planning to transfer.
Keep in mind that plans made by 18- and 19-year-olds just minutes after their final loss of the season don’t always pan out. In other words, any or all of this group could still opt to go pro.
UK will have 13 scholarships to give next season. If all of these players return (we’re assuming Nerlens Noel is definitely gone), this is what the scholarship situation looks like for 2013-14:
LOCKED-UP SCHOLARSHIPS (11)
Ryan Harrow, junior
Kyle Wiltjer, junior
Willie Cauley-Stein, sophomore
Archie Goodwin, sophomore
Alex Poythres, sophomore
Andrew Harrison, incoming freshman
Aaron Harrison, incoming freshman
Dakari Johnson, incoming freshman
Marcus Lee, incoming freshman
Derek Willis, incoming freshman
James Young, incoming freshman
OTHER POSSIBLE RETURNEES (2)
Jon Hood would be a senior athletically, but he has already spent four years at UK and is on pace to graduate, which would allow him to transfer to another Division I school and play next season without sitting out. If he stays at UK, he would have to enroll in graduate courses.
Jarrod Polson is on pace to graduate this spring. Polson came to UK as a preferred walk-on who was not guaranteed a scholarship every year. Many UK fans would say that he’s earned an athletic scholarship if he wants to come back for a fourth season, but the possibility of an academic scholarship would also be there should he want to pursue a graduate degree.
OTHER TARGETS (4)
Julius Randle, undecided prospect
Andrew Wiggins, undecided prospect
Aaron Gordon, undecided prospect
Dominique Hawkins, undecided prospect
Even if all three freshmen and Harrow return for next season, John Calipari would still have wiggle room with at least two scholarships, which could go to Randle, Wiggins, Gordon and/or Hawkins.
Simply put, available scholarships shouldn’t be a problem if UK wants to add two more players.