Kentucky basketball roster: Starting lineup prediction, bench rotation, depth outlook for 2022-23 season

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The ending of Kentucky’s 2021-22 season by the hands of No. 15 seed Saint Peter’s within the first spherical of the NCAA Tournament solid a pall over an in any other case strong season for the Wildcats, who bounced again from an abysmal 2020-21 marketing campaign to reclaim their place among the many SEC and nationwide elite. With a roster components that skewed far older than regular, coach John Calipari fielded a group that spent a lot of the season ranked within the prime 10 earlier than its marketing campaign got here to a shocking finish towards the Peacocks.

With the ache of that loss as a backdrop, Kentucky is returning two anchors from final season’s lineup in level guard Sahvir Wheeler and heart Oscar Tshiebwe for the 2022-23 season. Round them might be a combination of recent faces and returning function gamers because the Wildcats set out on the redemption path.

By the point the 2023 rendition of March Insanity rolls round, it can have been practically 4 calendar years since UK’s final NCAA Event victory. However with productive veterans in key positions and a pair of five-star freshmen arriving on campus, there may be sufficient expertise at Kentucky for the Wildcats to regain the championship trajectory it has loved for a lot of Calipari’s tenure.

Now that faculty basketball’s model of free company has died down, it is time to take a look at Kentucky’s roster and assess the way it shapes up as we begin flipping the web page to a brand new season.

Projected beginning lineup

1. Sahvir Wheeler

5-10 | 180 | Sr.

Wheeler led the SEC in assists with 6.9 per sport final season in his first 12 months with Kentucky after two seasons as Georgia’s level guard. At 5-foot-10 and as only a profession 27.5% 3-point shooter, Wheeler has his limitations. However he is a wonderful, old-school level guard who can facilitate an offense, run the break and supply important veteran management.

2. Cason Wallace

6-4 | 185 | Fr.

Wallace completed the 2022 recruiting cycle ranked No. 5 general within the class by 247Sports. He ought to have the ability to slide naturally into the function that TyTy Washington performed final season for the Wildcats as a combo guard who performs tenacious protection. Calipari likened Wallace to Eric Bledsoe and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander when he signed. No surprise he landed at No. 7 in Kyle Boone’s 2023 NBA mock draft final week.

3. Chris Livingston

6-6 | 200 | Fr.

Livingston closed because the No. 15 general prospect within the 2022 class, per 247Sports. He’ll carry athleticism and flexibility to the wing for UK and will play his method into the lottery decide dialog if he can reveal a constant 3-point shot. For floor-spacing functions, it might even be enormous for UK if Livingston can hold opposing defenses sincere from the perimeter. Early returns on that quest appear positive.

4. Jacob Toppin

6-9 | 200 | Sr.

With Keion Brooks transferring out to Washington, Calipari has choices right here. Toppin will get penciled in for now after averaging 17.7 minutes per sport whereas largely coming off the bench. He is a flexible defender and elite finisher on the rim, however he’ll be preventing for minutes with a handful of teammates.

5. Oscar Tshiebwe

6-9 | 255 | Sr.

Tshiebwe swept the nationwide participant of the 12 months awards circuit after averaging 17.4 factors, 15.2 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per sport whereas taking pictures 60.6% from the ground in his first season with this system after transferring in from West Virginia. Now, he is hungry for extra group success after racking up a ridiculous quantity of particular person {hardware}. Tshiebwe’s physicality, tenacity and contact across the rim is an issue for opponents.

Bench

Antonio Reeves

6-4 | 185 | Sr.

After averaging 20.1 factors for Illinois State as a junior final season, Reeves faces an enormous transition in his fourth season of school basketball. As a substitute of being the dude for a foul group, he’ll be preventing for a job on a terrific group in a a lot more durable convention. It is conceivable that he may play his method right into a beginning job, but it surely’s simple to see him serving as a dose of instantaneous offense off the bench.

Lance Ware

6-9 | 223 | Jr.

After seeing his function diminish as a sophomore, Ware appeared like a possible switch candidate. As a substitute, the previous top-50 prospect is coming again to struggle for a rotation spot as a junior. Calipari is making an attempt to bulk Ware up, and if he can develop his offensive sport a bit, he may change into the kind of stretch ahead that UK has been lacking.

CJ Frederick

6-3 | 190 | Sr.

Fredrick knocked down 46.6% of his 3-point makes an attempt over two seasons at Iowa earlier than lacking all of final season at UK due to hamstring surgical procedure. With Kellan Grady out of eligibility and UK already among the many nation’s least 3-point-oriented groups within the nation, having Fredrick as a dependable exterior risk could be enormous for the Wildcats.

Daimion Collins

6-9 | 202 | Fr.

Collins closed the 2021 recruiting cycle because the No. 14 participant within the class, per 247Sports. However with a number of different gamers additionally jockeying for frontcourt taking part in time, Collins logged simply 7.4 minutes per sport as a freshman.

Depth

Adou Thiero | 6-5 | 180 | Fr.

Thiero is “solely” a four-star freshman, which makes him a low-key late addition by UK’s requirements. However there is a motive Calipari provided him a scholarship, and there may be a lot to love about his long-term upside. Thiero was a late-bloomer, and he will not be executed rising but. So whereas it is unlikely that he performs a major function within the season forward, he’s a worthy developmental participant for a program that had roster spots obtainable.





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