With so much talent for UK men’s basketball, who is supposed to start?


Wenyen Gabriel lays on the ground during the NCAA Tournament Selection Show on Sunday, March 12, 2017 in Lexington, KY. Photo by Addison Coffey | Staff.

Kernel Sports Staff

It’s a pleasant problem to have: too many talented and athletic players have been recruited to the UK men’s basketball team to showcase their abilities for fans and NBA scouts. Now, head coach John Calipari and his staff must decide who to grant the honor of becoming a starter for the forward-heavy team. While fans will likely see several different starting lineups during the season, the Kernel sports staff gave their best shots at a likely starting five for the Cats.

Point guard

Quade Green. This is the easiest choice on the list, as he’s the only point guard on the list recruited as a starter. Last year’s big three: Malik Monk, De’Aaron Fox and Bam Adebayo, all believed that Green would be the player to watch during the upcoming season, and with good reason. If there’s one position that Calipari knows how to recruit, it’s the point guard.

Shooting guard

Hamidou Diallo. The 6-5 combo guard is one of the more experienced players on the team after practicing with the squad during the second semester of the 2016-17 season. He’s spent half a season practicing in Calipari’s system and will be expected to be a leader from the beginning, despite having never played a game for UK.

Small Forward

PJ Washington. Calipari has a problem he hasn’t had at UK yet: an abundance of talented wing players. Currently in the NBA, there are two consistent starters at either wing position that hail from UK, and now, the Cats have four talented players standing between 6-8 and 6-9. He’s the heaviest of the wings at UK, listed at 237 pounds in Cairo for Team USA. In Cairo he lead the team of young stars in scoring, and is expected to fill a similar role at UK.

Power Forward

Wenyen Gabriel. The short answer to this is that Calipari needs a sophomore on the floor at all times to have an “experienced” player helping his younger teammates. Wenyen is expected to be much better at spacing the floor this year, as well as working the post. He’ll create a problem for any traditional big man in the four spot.


Nick Richards. The 6-11 center is the tallest player on the team, and has already been projected to enter the NBA draft before he’s even suited up in the blue and white. The 17th overall recruit in the ESPN 100 is poised for a great year, and there’s no reason he shouldn’t get the starting nod at center once the season gets rolling.