Mar 062014
 
Photo: Jonathan Palmer

Photo: Jonathan Palmer

Since many have asked in recent days, here’s a closer look at the UK basketball team’s scholarship situation for next season:

Each school is allowed 13 athletic scholarships per season. UK is playing with only 12 scholarship players this season due to the summer departure of Kyle Wiltjer. Two of the current scholarship players are seniors (Jon Hood and Jarrod Polson), so those scholarships will open up going into next season.

That means there are currently 10 underclassmen on scholarship, in addition to the four players who have signed with Kentucky for next season — making a total of 14 scholarship players for 2014-15. That’s one over the limit if no current underclassmen go pro, which is highly unlikely.

The most recent mock drafts project Julius Randle, James Young and Willie Cauley-Stein as first-round picks in this year’s draft, and all three players are widely expected to leave UK after this season. If that happens, it would leave the Cats with 11 scholarship players and two available scholarships going into next season.

If just one of those players leaves, UK will be right at the 13-player scholarship allotment. If two leave, the Cats would have one open scholarship for next season.

Freshmen Andrew and Aaron Harrison, Dakari Johnson and sophomore Alex Poythress are also still being mentioned by various sources as possible NBA Draft picks following this season.

Here’s a full list of possible scholarship players for 2014-15:

1. Willie Cauley-Stein (junior) — Expected to be a first-round pick
2. Alex Poythress (junior) — Possible NBA Draft pick
3. Julius Randle (sophomore) — Expected to be a first-round pick
4. James Young (sophomore) — Expected to be a first-round pick
5. Andrew Harrison (sophomore) — Possible NBA Draft pick
6. Aaron Harrison (sophomore) — Possible NBA Draft pick
7. Dakari Johnson (sophomore) — Possible NBA Draft pick
8. Marcus Lee (sophomore) — Expected to return
9. Derek Willis (sophomore) — Expected to return
10. Dominique Hawkins (sophomore) — Expected to return
11. Karl Towns (freshman)
12. Trey Lyles (freshman)
13. Devin Booker (freshman)
14. Tyler Ulis (freshman)

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  21 Responses to “UK scholarship situation: How many spots for 2014?”

  1. KY will have a better team next year if the Harrison Twins and James Young move on to the NBA or somewhere else. They hog the ball, hog the shots, can’t pass, and don’t play defense. Coach is right…KY isn’t the place for everyone. Willie Stein might as well move on too. His effort is unpredictable, he wimps out when play gets physical, and he simply doesn’t have a very high basketball IQ. Randle is ready to go pro, but he will leave just the same. I can’t say that I blame him. The last thing he wants to do is take a chance on playing another year with the twins. Dakari and Alex should stay. They will get a better environment to play under next year that will get them ready for a realistic consideration for NBA play. Marcus, Kevin, and Dominique should see more playing time next year as well. 2015 can be a good group if the right addition and subtraction takes place.

  2. ^^^^ Lol, who the hell is Kevin bro?

  3. I think having Ullis on board next year will transform Kentucky. Unlike Andrew Harrison, Ullis will be a pass-first point guard, and Kentucky’s assist numbers and offensive productivity will skyrocket. This year our assist numbers are anemic, and teams that don’t dish effectively don’t go all the way.

  4. I DON’T SEE ANYONE ON THIS CURRENT TEAM MAKING IT IN THE NBA. WILLIE AND JULIUS MAY RIDE THE BENCH FOR A YEAR OR SO AND NEVER PLAY. THE HARRISONS AND YOUNG ARE NOT EVEN CLOSE TO BEING NBA READY AND ALEX IS NOT EVEN GETTING A CHANCE TO IMPROVE DUE TO NOT GETTING ANY PLAYING TIME. THIS GROUP HAS BEEN MISTAKEN FOR FUTURE NBA PLAYERS. THEY MAY SOMETIME LATER BUT NOT NOW, NO WAY.

  5. I don’t know where Barry is getting all his information, but I don’t think many players get away with much the coach does not allow. Cal has repeatedly said he want the Harrisons and Young driving to the basket and just through it up. Don’t worry about whether or not it goes in, just throw it up and let our bigs go get it. Of course, this hasn’t been working too well, but to call players ball hogs when the coach is telling them to do it, just doesn’t seem like someone is listening to what is being said by the coach.

  6. Everyone should stay except Randle and WCS. I think the Harrison’s and Young will humble themselves in learn the concept of selflessness. Along with next years class and the returning players that would give us depth at all positions and have players fighting for playing time and that makes a hungry and dangerous team

  7. Randle is the only one of the group that would get a spot on an NBA bench. Hopefully the remaining guys would mature over the summer. Would love to see 40 minutes of full court press to keep the guy’s focused!

  8. These players are not ballhogs. Coach Cal has said a million times over that is exactly what he wants them to do. What he doesn’t want them doing is taking bad shots but he tells them if they are open then take the shot and if they have a lane to the basket then “GO!” If Goodwin got drafted last year then Young will get drafted this year and as far as the Harrison’s go I think they will leave when they know both will get drafted. Heck, I believe they might even wait until they both feel comfortable thinking they will both get drafted in the first round. I don’t think one will go knowing he is going in the first round for sure and the other pretty much knows he is not. Question is, will they both leave if they know they are both going to be second rounders? If they do come back next year then look out. If Randle, WCS and Young are the only guys to leave then UK will be a college basketball demolition squad.

  9. While no one on this squad SHOULD go or is ready to go Randle will certainly take the $$. The NBA loves 7’ers so WKS will probably go as well. Young would gain the most by staying & learning how to pass + developing consistency in his outside shot. 2012 was a MAGIC season & will be tough to duplicate without a mix of veterans & “Hot Shot” Freshmen.

  10. Kentucky needs a few players that can SHOOT! None of these guys have shooting skills! I fear that these five stars are so dominate in high school they rely on overpowering their opponent and never develop basic fundamentals! If these guys try to go pro next year I hope they can speak a foreign language!

  11. Let me lead with an apology…. but come on… how can so many be predicting next year’s team to be so great if this and that happens? It seems I remember all the fans talking about this team, this year, going undefeated! Face it, UK has a very young team. I am a fan, not a coach, and I have been the “odd fan” out in some discussions for saying the following… but I don’t like the way our program is being run. That said, I do like Coach Cal, I like what he tries to teach, Servant Leadership, and the values that accompany that philosophy. It takes a lot of time to learn this and more to learn to implement it in your behavior, and I can’t imagine how long it really takes to make it a part of your game!!

    Now remember, I am not a coach of any kind. Coach Cal and all coaches obviously know more about coaching than I do. But as a fan, I don’t like the fact that we (fans) basically have a completely new team to support each year. It reminds me a lot of free agency in the pros. I like it better when we, the fans, get to know players and watch them grow and improve. It is hard to see a lot of that in one year. I don’t think it is bad to have the uber talented players, but I also don’t think you can have a full team of superstars.

    If I think back to what I consider maybe the best “team” in basketball, it would be Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls. No he didn’t own them, so don’t play gotcha, but he was the undisputed leader. He was the superstar, then you had Scottie Pippen who was just a little less than a superstar, then role players. Dennis Rodman, the rebounding machine, Steve Kerr (I think that was the guard) he was a shooter and defender… but not a superstar, and then a center who defended the basket, rebounded and scored some. I think that is the formula, at least from this fan’s perspective, and the formula I’ve found that has worked really well in business “team” formats. If everyone tries to be the superstar you have last year, and a little of this year, if you have guys who will sacrifice and embrace the Servant Leadership model, you can have a team of superstars who go all the way, ala the 2012 championship.

    Now bash away, I’m used to it. But to be honest, this is the first time in my life that I really don’t care if I miss a UK BB game!!

    Go CATS!!!!

  12. Cal’s got to keep up his NBA numbers. Wasn’t this last class pronounced the best recruiting class in college basketball history? Geez, people you want the guy to actually coach the team too?

  13. This seasons disaster is entirely on the Great Ego ie coach cal( also know as “10 loss tubby”
    What happened to the novel idea of benching those who will not play team ball. Has Dr Andrews been contacted to see why the Harrison twins knees won’t bend ?? I’m extremely
    tired of hearing the Great Ones excuse of how young they are. It’s his damn fault they have
    zero clue on offense. Of course, if the coach is clueless, the players will be. Let’s all dribble drive into the teeth of a 2-3 zone !!!! If Coach Martin is suspended for foul language, why wasn’t the Great One held out for waking out on his team and the press (money !!!)
    This is poor coaching nothing more nothing less.

  14. No one on the present team will be on an NBA roster for 2014-15, except Randle and maybe WCS. We will find them in the development league or playing in Italy, maybe. Lets be honest, those freshmen never graduated from the playground basketball.

  15. We have been spoiled by the success of previous Cal teams except for last years. We get what the experts call the high school “cream of the crop” but they are still kids. Kids stepping up to the next level. These are 17 and 18 yo kids playing against men 20, 21, 22 and maybe older.
    Not one of our players is ready for the NBA. They are not consistent in any phase of the game, shooting, passing, free throws (OMG) rebounding we do well. If any of them go, it’s because of outside influence greedy parents, family members and agents. Maybe it’s time to recruit good high school players who work hard are thrilled to be at Kentucky and want to be at center court on Senior Night.

  16. Ive been a cats fan for 36 years and im ready to hang up the blue forever.coach cal cant figure out offense or defensive schemes. There is more to the game than the dribble drive.there is no movement on offense. Nobody knows that defense wins championships.i havent even seen a shot fake all year.we need a true point guard.we dont have one player that can feed the low block accurately. Cal rumors of leaving may be a good thing.kentucky basketball has always been able to get recruits solely on tradition. We need to impose the same rule in football where players have to stay through there sophomore year. We go to college to earn a degree , the last time I checked two years was the minimum. I give up on the cats, since they have already given up on themselfs. Nit would be best for them.

  17. I’ve been terribly disappointed in this years team as far as improvement goes. There must be some kind of inside conflict, because these player haven’t improved at all from the very first game till now. I’ve heard coach Cal mention accountability, well who does this so called accountabilty apply to, the players or him. When i see the same stupid elementary basketball mistakes over, and over each game, who is being held accountable. Just to take a player out and chew on him for a minute, and then stick him right back in the game, that’s not teaching accountability. Take his butt out, and put him on the end of the bench for a game or two, then he might learn something about accountability. When you have two power forwards in the game at the same time such as Pothress and Randle, along with Johnson and the twins, who the heck in that group can shoot the ball. You have five players on the court at the same time who can’t shoot their age. If Hood, Willis and Lee would’ve had the same freedom of play as Cal’s first seven, this team would be twice better than it is now. Young has shot so much this year that he has developed tennis elbow, and that’s all that he does is shoot, because he sure doesn’t play any defense. Come to think of it, nobody on this team plays defense. My two cents worth….

  18. Some of these recruits should have gone where they would be getting playing time.
    Wiltjer knew he was too soft to get any playing time so he left. Marcus Lee hasn’t seen any playing time lately. Lee should have stayed out West. There is no reason to expect Lee to get in any more games next season.

  19. I don’t think any of these leftover players back next year will get any playing time Jake, because we have to cater to these incoming “superstars” we promised a starting position to, and a big NBA contract after their freshman year. The cycle must go on…………..

  20. Nobody seems to want to say what the true problem is with this team. this team was supposed to be one of the best shooting teams Kentucky ever had but in fact is one of the poorest shooting teams we have ever had. We have an extremely low shooting percentage from beyond 15 feet and that’s why cal has them attacking the basket,it’s the only shots we can make. Teams have realized this as the season has progressed and have packed in the zones making it impossible to get to the basket. They are daring us to shoot 3 point shots. Until we can make three point shots the worst teams are going to be able to beat us. It’s not rocket science ,it’s easy to figure out how to beat Kentucky at this point.

  21. The only two players on that list I think should go pro are Randle and Young, and I think staying could help them but they aren’t gonna stay. I honestly think WCS, Randle, Young, Johnson, Poythress, and both the Harrisons will go pro. Why? Because they want money, that’s why they go to Kentucky, they see other players from Kentucky go pro after one or two seasons and they wanna do the same. These guys aren’t here to get an education, or make a name for themselves, or even have minimal success in their college careers, they are on the path to the NBA and college is just an unnecessary stop for them. Almost all of these players would have entered the draft straight out of high school if they could, but they can’t, so they hop on the bus to the NBA which is the University of Kentucky and they don’t plan on riding any longer than they have to. I’m not saying they are ready to go pro and I’m not saying they should go pro, but when NBA teams are stupid enough to pay them millions based off their potential, why wouldn’t they go pro?

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