Vargas to go on China trip


Junior Eloy Vargas dunks during the UK mens basketball Dillard exhibition game. Photo by Mike Weaver

Last year, Josh Harrellson couldn’t find enough space in his duffel bags for all his jorts while he was traveling to China.

Eloy Vargas will probably not encounter the same problem.

However, UK would love to see Vargas emerge from his round-the-world trip with the same productivity as Harrellson, who along with Jon Hood participated in the Sports Reach program. This year’s team will play nine games in 10 days.

Is that drastic improvement realistic? No. Harrellson’s improvement came almost exclusively through the hard work accompanying his Twitter saga and subsequent workout program — along with the sole rights to being the big man on the team. But he did get the chance for game action over the summer, and that certainly played a part, although probably miniscule.

Still, the China trip should help Vargas, especially when that trip is coupled with his tryouts for the Dominican Republic national team. But the biggest factor if he does improve will probably be from simply being a year older, a year more experienced, a year more used to the college game.

For some perspective on how players end up after the trip, here’s the rosters of the last two years plus this summer’s:

Summer of 2009 (roster via)

Ali Farokhmanesh Northern Iowa
Kwadzo Ahelegbe Northern Iowa
Alex Legion Illinois (transferred to Florida International)
Dominique Keller Illinois
Carlton Fay Southern Illinois
Paul Carter Minnesota (transferred to Illinois-Chicago)
A.J. Slaughter Western Kentucky

Summer of 2010 (roster via)

Peyton Siva Louisville
Brandon Barnes Lipscomb
Malik Story Nevada
Jon Hood Kentucky
Skylar McBee Tennessee
Xavier Silas Northern Illinois
Steffphon Pettigrew Western Kentucky
Jeremy Williams UTEP
Carlton Fay Southern Illinois
Josh Harrellson Kentucky
Sean Kowal Northern Illinois

Summer of 2011 (roster via)

Eloy Vargas Kentucky
Jordan Hulls Indiana
Victor Oladipo Indiana
Malik Story Nevada
Justin Bocot Southern Illinois
Austin Hollins Minnesota
Garlon Green TCU
Marcus Thornton Georgia
Keith Clanton Central Florida
Devonte Elliot Nevada