In a CBS interview, Kentucky Wildcats coach John Calipari talked about his current roster and his expectations. While nothing shocking came out of the interview, we did get an insight on how coach Cal was picturing breaking down his rotation.
While it may be a good problem to have, Kentucky has about seven players that would easily be starters on any other team. Julius Randle, Andrew and Aaron Harrison, Willie Cauley-Stein, Alex Poythress, James Young and Dakari Johnson. Obviously, due to the rules of the game, only five of those guys will be able to play starter minutes. While some believe it may become an issue down the line, Calipari believes everything will be fine.
“In a normal season, the sixth man always seems to get the most minutes on my team. I don’t know, but the rotation works out that the sixth man gets the most minutes and even the seventh man is going to get around 20 minutes a game,” said Calipari.
The two men expected to come off the bench are James Young and Dakari Johnson. Johnson will be forced to play behind Cauley-Stein which means his minutes might vary greatly from game to game. Big men often get into foul trouble every now and then and in those games, Johnson could see big time minutes. He will have to be mentally ready and aware that in any given game, he could play anywhere between 10 and 30 minutes.
As for Young, he will have much more regular minutes. The one spot Kentucky is really hurting for depth is at guard. Outside both Harrisons, there have been no stand outs. As such, Young will be expected to come in and take over guard duties as the 6th man, coming off the bench to provide instant offense. He will be playing much more like an NBA sixth man than a college player who comes off the bench.
Coach Calipari also revealed that he believed Aaron Harrison was a big surprise at camp. So far, he has been looked at as the weak link in the expected Wildcats starting five. When people talk about his basketball ability, they always compare him to his brother, Andrew, as a less talented version. Calipari doesn’t necessarily agree.
“People say there’s this big difference between him and Andrew — I laugh. They’ve got the same DNA. I will say this. Their personalities are different, but Aaron has played really well up to this point”.
Both Harrisons will be important for the Wildcats on offense and especially on defense. They are big guards who should be able to bully their defenders around and disrupt the flow of the opponent’s offense. A commitment to defense will be expected from them and it will be a big key to Kentucky potentially going all the way in 2013-14.