After five of last year’s Cats signed NBA contracts, head coach John Calipari has reloaded his squad with more young talent. Have a look at the 2017-18 UK men’s basketball team:
PJ WASHINGTON (#25)
Position: Power Forward
Hometown: Dallas, TX
High School: Finday College Prep (Henderson, NV)
FYI: Washington was ranked 11th in the ESPN Top 100. This makes him the second highest-rated player in this class of newcomers. Washington is long and athletic, great at attacking the rim and also has an impressive mid-range game.
JARRED VANDERBILT (#2)
Position: Power Forward
Hometown: Houston, TX
High School: Victory Prep Academy
FYI: With a wingspan of 85 inches, it’s needless to say that Vanderbilt is a powerhouse. He’s very versatile, aiding in passing, assisting and finishing while on the court. His length and athleticism also allows him to rack up plenty of rebounds.
QUADE GREEN (#0)
Position: Point Guard
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
High School: Neumann-Goretti
FYI: Green is a playmaker. He is considered one of the best guards in the country, despite his height. Getting things done on both ends of the court, he racks up assists and is a key player on defense. He isn’t ‘athletic’ or ‘speedy’ but he is a leader on the court, which is what a point guard should be.
HAMIDOU DIALLO (#3)
Class: Redshirt Freshman
Hometown: Queens, N.Y.
High School: Putnam Science Academy
FYI: Diallo was a midyear enrollee, joining the team in January 2017. He is primarily a player who plays above the rim, using his length and strength to be an attacking powerhouse. He is a perimeter player but also utilizes his length by collects boards.
SHAI GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER (#22)
Hometown: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
High School: Hamilton Heights
FYI: Despite Gilgeous-Alexander not being a top-ranked player in his class, he has a lot of talent. He is a speedy and versatile guard that can play more than one position, making plays offensively and defensively.
JEMARL BAKER (#13)
Hometown: Menifee, CA
High School: Eleanor Roosevelt
FYI: Baker is a great scorer with an impressive jump shot, hitting 94 three-pointers his senior year. Shooting is not the only thing he is capable of though, he is a playmaker and a pretty good defender.
KEVIN KNOX (#5)
Hometown: Tampa, FL
High School: Tampa Catholic
FYI: In high school, Knox was ranked 10th in the ESPN Top-100, making him the highest-ranked player in this class of newcomers. He’s an amazing athlete for his size with impressive speed. He attacks the rim with grace and is quick on his feet.
NICK RICHARDS (#4)
Hometown: Kingston, Jamaica
High School: The Patrick School
FYI: With an impressive wingspan of seven-foot-three, he is marked as a long, athletic and strong center. He was considered one of the best rebounders and post defenders in high school basketball. He utilizes his size by being a tool on the defensive end, playing tough and also finishing plays around the rim.
Here are the returners for the Wildcats:
WENYEN GABRIEL (#32)
Position: Small Forward
Hometown: Wilbraham, MA
High School: Wilbraham & Monson Academy
FYI: Gabriel is one of the key returning players for the Wildcats. His ability to switch off screens and guard multiple positions makes him a stand out player. He is extremely versatile and hopefully this season will be his breakout season.
TAI WYNYARD (#14)
Position: Power Forward
Class: Redshirt Sophomore
Hometown: Auckland, New Zealand
High School: Rangitoto College
FYI: Wynyard proved himself last season when he subbed in for Bam Adebayo and shocked fans and coaches with his impressive game. His size and strength allows for him to be a powerhouse defensively.
SACHA KILLEYA-JONES (#1)
Hometown: Chapel Hill, N.C.
High School: Virginia Episcopal
FYI: Killeya-Jones was the first player to commit to the 2016 recruiting class. He appeared in 15 games his freshman year. He has the length and offensive skills to be a key player for the Wildcats this season.
BRAD CALIPARI (#12)
Hometown: Franklin Lakes, N.J.
High School: MacDuffle School
FYI: Calipari played in 15 of 36 games last season, proving that he is a good shooter. He nailed two threes while getting his shine on the court. Wanting to prove he is a key player, Brad will definitely be showcasing his skills this season.
JONNY DAVID (#10)
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
High School: Mt. Lebanon
FYI: David is a walk-on forward for the Wildcats. He went to a Division III school in Pittsburgh before coming to Kentucky. Coming from a Division III school, Jonny is still looking to improve his game every day while being a Wildcat.
DILLON PULLIAM (#30)
Class: Redshirt Junior
Hometown: Cynthiana, KY
High School: Harrison County
FYI: Pulliam is another walk-on for the Wildcats. His strong suit is scoring. In high school, he racked up a total of 1,000 points. Growing up, Pulliam watched UK basketball as a kid. He chose UK over scholarships to many other schools.