Clanton the final piece to the puzzle?
Keith Clanton
Keith Clanton

Posted Aug 8, 2012


University of Central Florida was hit with NCAA probation a few days ago, making their senior players immediate "free agents," free to transfer and play immediately One of those is talented senior forward Keith Clanton, a 6'9, 245 pound space-eater who averaged 14.5 ppg and eight rebounds last season. Clanton is reportedly considering transferring to Kentucky.

Disclaimer: Clanton may or may not transfer from UCF. Reports are he is considering staying or transferring, and if he transfers, he is considering Florida State or Kentucky. We make no predictions for what he may do.

Kentucky's team will be a rebuilt team next year, of course, after losing six NBA draft picks last season, including the top two draft picks, Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. But don't fret too much for the Cats, as their rebuilt lineup will include the nation's top recruiting class, as well as returning 5-star sharpshooter Kyle Wiltjer, redshirt sophomore point guard Ryan Harrow, and senior transfer Julius Mays in the backcourt.

Without Clanton, the lineup is formidable, and consensus top five. The Wildcats are among the favorites to reach the Final Four, with many having Kentucky in the top 3 preseason.

With Clanton, and UK's rivals start getting dizzy again. For John Calipari, it could provide a depth of talent he has not yet had at Kentucky, although other squads may possess more talent 1-5.

Picture this lineup, if you will: PG: Ryan Harrow
2G: Archie Goodwin/Julius Mays
WF: Alex Poythress/Kyle Wiltjer
PF: Keith Clanton/Kyle Wiltjer
C: Nerlens Noel/Willie Cauley-Stein

The lineup looks better with Clanton in it than without. It also provides two seniors in the regular rotation with Mays (a 5th year senior, at that) and Clanton, a redshirt junior in Jon Hood (RSCI # 64 for his year, Dave Telep ranked # 45) and a redshirt sophomore in Ryan Harrow. Will Calipari ever possess a more experienced team, albeit one that has not received much of their experience playing at Kentucky? They would certainly be among the oldest Calipari-Kentucky teams ever.

The lineup would be improved, and perhaps bumping the Cats from a # 3 preseason ranking past consensus preseason # 1 and # 2 picks Indiana and Louisville, an incredible feat given losing as many as Kentucky did from last year's team. But it appears within the realm of possibility. And if it does--watch out. You just thought the 1996-1997-1998 era was the Golden Era of Kentucky basketball. The best could be yet to come.


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