Injuries have forced Coach John Calipari to use small-ball lineups but there are a ton of bigs either on the current roster or committed to the next one. Zvonimir Ivišić could be gone after this year since he’s yet to even be cleared by the NCAA, while Aaron Bradshaw is likely a “one and done” freshman for the program.
Kentucky likely is going to have Ugonna Onyenso going forward and they already have two elite five-star prospects committed in Somto Cyril and forward Jayden Jayden Quaintance. There’s going to be a battle for minutes at the five-spot and like other past players, Maluach could risk being on the bench as a freshman.
It’s been a rough season so far for the Bruins, who are under .500 with this young roster. They have sophomore center Adem Bona who is producing 12.1 ppg and 6.5 rpg and could be a contender to go pro. Unless 7’3 Spain freshman Aday Mara improves, he might be a long-term prospect that even Maluach could pass up early on.
The concern here is that if the team doesn’t get it together and misses out on the NCAA Tournament, Coach Cronin could be determined to avoid the “youth” route again, preferring older players. So if Maluach isn’t ready to contribute early on, he also could risk limited minutes.
Of the five “current options”, Baylor and Kansas stand out when it comes to getting early minutes, while Duke and Kentucky are the biggest risks. Of course, that can be said for the many other five-star recruits that go there. So ultimately, it could be anyone’s game if he opts to go the college path.