There are those that would say that if one is planning to go away the Kentucky Wildcats basketball program, there is likely to be no higher time than on the eve of a visit to Lubbock, Texas.
Lubbock jokes are straightforward, particularly for individuals who’ve by no means been there.
School basketball is difficult.
Nobody ever stated this could be a layup, even for a participant corresponding to Kahlil Whitney, who was a McDonald’s All-American and ranked No. 11 within the 2019 recruiting class by 247 Sports activities. He was thought of the prize of Kentucky’s class, a designation that previously has typically led to standing as an All-American or a lottery decide.
MORE: Chaotic groups value your consideration forward of NCAA Match
Now, for Whitney, it has resulted in entry to the NCAA switch portal. He introduced the choice by way of social media Friday. His more than likely vacation spot, in keeping with recruiting sources, is Georgetown, however colleges nearer to his Chicago house — Illinois and DePaul — determine to attempt to persuade him in any other case.
Whitney’s stature as a prospect helped result in a spot within the Kentucky beginning lineup on opening night time within the Champions Basic in opposition to No. 1 Michigan State. It didn’t, nevertheless, result in all that many factors or rebounds. He began eight video games earlier than coach John Calipari determined to attempt one thing else. Whitney averaged 13 minutes per sport. He shot 37 p.c from the sector and made simply 4 Three-pointers.
What Whitney is doing, although, leaving the UK program now — midway by way of the season, with the Wildcats ranked No. 15 and trying to construct towards one other SEC championship and NCAA Match run — is completely pointless.
He loses not less than 15 video games of school expertise that he’ll by no means get better. Every time his subsequent 12 months in school begins — maybe this autumn if he can safe a waiver of the year-in-residence rule, maybe in 2021 — he could have sophomore eligibility.
He’ll lose the chance to develop in follow. It’s not like gamers by no means enhance at Kentucky. Ask wing P.J. Washington, for example, or Chicago’s personal DeAndre Liggins.
Within the 2010-11 season, Liggins turned a defensive specialist for Calipari and averaged 32 minutes a sport, after averaging about 16 in his first two seasons. He turned a key to the Wildcats reaching the Ultimate 4.
It’s additionally not as if we’ve by no means seen a participant wrestle by way of a lot of his freshman 12 months after which blossom within the sport’s largest highlight. In his freshman 12 months, Duke’s Grayson Allen performed greater than 20 minutes simply twice. Within the NCAA championship sport, nevertheless, he performed 21 minutes, scored 16 factors and was the important ingredient in getting the Blue Devils previous Wisconsin for the 2015 NCAA championship.
Kentucky had not given up on Whitney. He performed 10 minutes within the loss to South Carolina, however when he obtained solely 4 minutes mixed in two subsequent video games, it appeared issues weren’t shifting in one of the best path.
His season might need been recovered, although. A constructive method and some dropped pictures might need elevated his taking part in time. It wasn’t too late for him to get one thing constructive out of his freshman season.
Now, he’ll simply transfer on, leaving all that risk unspent.
Regardless of what some coaches say, there’s nothing flawed with the NCAA’s “switch portal.”
It’s all in whether or not one chooses to make use of it properly, which didn’t occur right here.