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Kentucky's Depth Chart And Projected Starting Line Up For The 2014-15 Season


Not including the Harrisons (whom I believe are a guarantee to enter this year's draft), the (unofficial) depth chart of Kentucky's big-man centric roster heading into the 2014-15 season:


1. Devin Booker, freshman, 6-foot-5 shooting guard: Number 18 ESPN top 100, ranked 93/100 (top-ranked Jahlil Okafor is a 97, Julius Randle and Andrew Harrison were 97s last year)

2. Tyler Ulis, freshman, 5-foot-9 point guard: Number 25 ESPN top 100, ranked 92/100

3. Walk-ons and benchwarmers: Sam Malone (rising senior, no minutes played last season), Tod Lanter (senior, benchwarmer), Ej Floreal (sophomore walk-on, didn't play first season), Dominique Hawkins (sophomore, played sparingly, ranked 72/100 coming out of high school), Brian Long (senior, benchwarmer). One of these guys is going to have to step up (with Floreal and Hawkins the most likely candidates).

Small forward:

1. Alex Poythress, junior, 6-foot-8: Poythress is probably more of a power forward, but he's the smallest of their legion of big man. He should focus on improving his small-game this offseason or drastically improving his big-game. Booker might also have to play some SF.

Power forward:

1. Willy Cauley-Stein, junior, 7-foot: Of the returnees, Cauley-Stein had the highest draft stock and surprised Calipari when he announced his return. He's listed as a power forward, but could play some center.

2. Trey Lyles, freshman, 6-foot-10: He's the sixth ranked recruit in the land, meaning he could start in Calipari's experience-blind system.

3. Marcus Lee, sophomore, 6-foot-9: He didn't play much his first year, but his physicality was impressive in the NCAA tournament games he appeared in because of Cauley-Stein's absence. Still, he was an 89 coming out of high school. Thus, he waits behind Lyles, for now.


1. Dakari Johnson, sophomore, 7-foot: Ranked ahead of James Young and Aaron Harrison in high school, Johnson was overshadowed by more advanced big men last season. The center position is his to lose though the incoming freshman were slightly more highly regarded in high school.

2. Karl Towns, Jr., freshman, 6-foot-11: Towns is the ninth ranked recruit of his class and received one more rating point than Johnson. This figures to be a battle for the starting spot though both should see decent court time.

Other big men:

Derek Willis, sophomore, 6-foot-9: A 77 coming out of high school, Willis was among the top 100 recruits last season, but likely won't play much if at all next year. He may want to consider transferring.

Projected starting lineup:

Point guard: Tyler Ulis

Shooting guard: Devin Booker

Small forward: Alex Poythress

Power forward: Trey Lyles

Center: Willy Cauley-Stein

I don't know much about Lyles or Towns, Jr., but the more offensive-minded they are the better (for their playing time and for Kentucky). None of the returning big men averaged more than 10 points per game last year, which is in part due to the offensive weapons around them and also in part due to their still developing games.

In light of the glut of big men, it might make sense for recruits to monitor a school's draft situation before committing. Lyles or Towns, Jr. might be wishing they chose another school with more guards to get them the ball and less big men to steal their playing time. Or they might welcome the chance to compete against the nation's best in practice every day.

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