Thursday, March 21, 2013
Three of Kentucky's freshmen returning?
By Joe Kaiser
UPDATE: Yesterday we speculated what Kentucky's 2013 incoming class would mean for the three freshmen who are on the fence to return to UK next year. As many have mentioned, it's thought that their returning could influence players like Julius Randle or Andrew Wiggins from attending Kentucky. At least in Randle's case, it clearly wasn't enough. He committed yesterday and immediately bolstered what most experts are terming the greatest class ever on paper. But will this amazing class influence Archie Goodwin, Alex Poythress, and Willie Cauley-Stein in their upcoming NBA decisions?
Outside of Nerlens Noel, the three players are still on the fence. It's not outlandish to think Kentucky's historic reloading could influence Goodwin, Poythress, and Cauley-decisions about the next level. On the one hand, they can provide leadership for the talented freshmen and bolster their own draft stock in the process. Freed up from their own enormous expectations and playing on a squad that will have many building blocks, they may be able to impress scouts even further. On the other, their draft stock might suffer from the standpoint that less playing time might not allow them to develop as much or display their strengths as prominently. It will be interesting to see who stays and goes and evaluate what exactly John Calipari will be working with next season.
After the disappointment of missing the NCAA tournament and bowing out in the opening round of the NIT, there is actually some potential good news around Kentucky -- three players from their top-rated freshmen class may return to Lexington for another season.
Archie Goodwin, Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein all said after the Wildcats' shocking loss to Robert Morris that they would return to Kentucky in 2013-14.
"I don't think it's a question of whether I'm going (to the NBA) or not," Goodwin told the Herald-Leader. "I don't think I'm ready to go."
Poythress echoed Goodwin's sentiment. "I don't think I'm ready," he told the paper.
And Stein-Cauley, who moved up into the back end of the lottery on the Big Board after taking over as the team's starting center, sounded as if the thought hadn't crossed his mind. "No," he said, when asked if he'd be entering the NBA draft. "Nobody's ready for it. I don't think anybody's ready for it mentality-wise, body-wise, athletic-wise."
If all three do in fact return, it will mean Nerlens Noel is the only player expected to leave UK and create arguably the nation's most talented roster next season with six newcomers that make up 2013's top-rated recruiting class. As Adam Zagoria points out, the return of Goodwin, Poythress and Cauley-Stein could also affect the impending decisions of Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle and Aaron Gordon -- each are thought to have UK among their favorites, but now the roster could be overly loaded for any of these future "one-and-dones." That's something to keep an eye on in the weeks ahead.