But Mooom... I don't wanna go to the offseason!
At this point in the very young offseason, I'm operating under the assumption that all five guys that have a choice between school and the NBA will leave.
I'm not saying that I think that will happen, necessarily (one or two might stick around), but it's a healthy frame of mind to be in. Under-promise, over-deliver, right? That way, I can only be pleasantly surprised if, say, Marquis Teague wants to stick around to try to claim the Cousy Award next year, or Doron Lamb wants to put together one final push to break into the first round, or maybe even the lottery. Both of those guys coming back probably won't happen, I know, but it could.
But with the impending mass exodus coming no later than the 29th of this month, I wanted to take a minute to examine the questions that I think are vital for next season's success (not including "Will ____________ sign?").
-Just how good is Ryan Harrow?
I think this, more than anything, is the key to just how good next year's team can be. Trouble is, we've seen so little of him over the past year. This guy is the new Matt Pilgrim. Not to say he's a Beast, necessarily, or that he'll be on trial for abuse in the near future, but he's already got that "pick-up game buzz" surrounding his play. His HoopMixtape video
has almost one and a half million
views, and he's apparently got hops like John Wall (he's 5'11" and can absolutely throw it down). But more interesting to me is that this is a style of point guard that is completely different than what we, and Cal, are used to. Most of Cal's guys have been scoring point guards out of necessity. If you're the best player on the team, you're gonna have to make some shots. They've also all been ridiculously oversized for the PG position at the college level. John Wall was particularly unfair at 6'4". Cal's point guards are your prototypical NBA point guards, guys who can shoot or drive as well as they can pass. Harrow looks to be the first "college" point guard he's had in a while, and I'm curious to see how his year of practice shows up when next season starts.
-If Shabazz Muhammed signs, who plays the 2?
He's made it pretty clear that he wants to be at that shooting guard spot, and if Rashawn Franklin's opinion of his offensive skills is even half correct, he deserves to be there. Guy can straight up score in every way possible
. But, that leaves Archie Goodwin, at 6'5", to either play the 3 or come off the bench. Before you get all up in arms about the possibility of a top-15 recruit coming off the bench, keep in mind that Kyle Wiltjer is a top-20 recruit himself. Granted, last year's team (it seems so weird to call them that) had more talent than the upcoming one has signed on so far, but the point is still relevant. Goodwin seems like he would be a little small to play the college 3, especially considering that he would be shorter than the 2. Strange, but I bet Cal could make it work. If there's room on the lineup (read: if only one of the other big guys signs), you could always just call both positions 2.5, and put each of them out there on the wing with basically identical jobs
, which I think would be perfectly okay for the college game. If Cal can play two point guards and make it work, he can probably throw both of those guys out there and make it work okay, too.
-Speaking of Wiltjer, what will Kyle's minutes look like next season?
Obviously, this one is contingent on the decisions of the Big Three recruits. If one of the big guys signs, but nobody else, I'd actually be looking for Wiltjer to get a lot of minutes at the 3. His height advantage would make up for a few lapses in defense (which got rarer as the season went on), and his versatile scoring ability works well for a position that really does a little bit of everything. However, if BOTH big men sign, then it's likely that Poythress would take up a lot of time at his natural 3 spot. If all three recruits sign? Well, I don't want to get excited about that just yet, but it would obviously make everybody's minutes more valuable.
Basketball already seems so close behind us, and so far in front of us, that it's hard to picture just what next season could look like.
I'm happy just to know that Cal is out recruiting, and he normally does a pretty okay job. I'd even forgive him if he ended up with the #2 overall class. Streak can't last forever, can it?
Who am I kidding, of course it can. But that won't be settled for a little while. For now, just enjoy Keeneland, Kentucky fans.
We've earned it this year.