This article is part of our Recruiting Recap series.
Kentucky is usually at its best under coach John Calipari when it does not have to rely exclusively on freshman. Last year was not a banner season for the Wildcats because they basically had nothing returning. Although three of the top four scorers – Kevin Knox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Hamidou Diallo – left for the NBA, the entire recruiting class did not leave.
PJ Washington, Quade Green, and Nick Richards all stayed for their sophomore seasons and should progress admirably. Furthermore Stanford graduate transfer Reid Travis (19.5 points, 8.7 rebounds), who should help anchor Kentucky's frontline. As noted in the Duke recruiting recap, Calipari no longer has his pick of the recruiting litter, but he is still able to pull in excellent players to Lexington.
We'll profile the five freshmen who should play major minutes for Kentucky this season.
Keldon Johnson, G/F, (6-6, 211 lbs)
Johnson will jump into the hole left by the departures of Gilgeous-Alexander and Diallo. If there is one thing that Kentucky has lacked in bulk in past seasons, it has been outside shooting. Johnson has a sweet-looking jumper and should lead the team in 3-point baskets. The 6-6 guard can also score around the tin and made a number of shots that were originally generated by offensive rebounds (as seen in the video below from the Wildcats' recent tour of the Bahamas).
Johnson should also give opponents problems on the perimeter defensively. He plays with intensity and has enough strength to hold his position. The