#6 Kentucky Men's Basketball 2018-2019 Preview

Kentucky Wildcats
2018-2019 Overall Rank: #6
Conference Rank: #2 SEC
 Kentucky Logo
For the first time in a while, Kentucky has some veterans to build around. Coach John Calipari has not picked up many graduate transfers, but adding Reid Travis provides some much needed experience in the frontcourt. Travis averaged 19.5 points and 8.7 rebounds with Stanford last season and he will spend plenty of time crashing the glass and getting to the free-throw line. The frontcourt also returns starters PJ Washington and Nick Richards. Washington is poised for a big season after averaging 10.8 points and 5.7 rebounds as a freshman. Richards, a seven-footer, added 5.1 points and 4.4 rebounds and should emerge as the team’s top shot blocking threat.
2017-18 Record: 26-11, 10-8
2017-18 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: John Calipari
Coach Record: 275-64 at Kentucky, 720-204 overall
Key Departed Players:
Kevin Knox, Forward, 15.6 ppg
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Guard, 14.4 ppg
Hamidou Diallo, Guard, 10.0 ppg
Wenyen Gabriel, Forward, 6.8 ppg
Jarred Vanderbilt, Forward, 5.9 ppg
Sacha Killeya-Jones, Forward, 3.3 ppg
Tai Wynyard, Center, 1.0 ppg
Key Returning Players:
PJ Washington, Sophomore, Forward, 10.8 ppg
Nick Richards, Sophomore, Center, 5.1 ppg
Quade Green, Sophomore, Guard, 9.3 ppg
Brad Calipari, Junior, Guard, 0.3 ppg
Key New Players:
Jemarl Baker Jr, RS Freshman, Guard
Ashton Hagans, Freshman, Guard
Tyler Herro, Freshman, Guard
Keldon Johnson, Freshman, Guard
EJ Montgomery, Freshman, Forward
Zan Payne, Freshman, Guard/Forward
Immanuel Quickley, Freshman, Guard
Reid Travis, Senior, Forward, Grad Transfer from Stanford
The frontcourt is in great shape with Travis, Washington and Richards, but of course Coach Calipari has some talented freshmen coming in too. EJ Montgomery is an athletic 6-10 forward who can stretch the defense with his outside shooting ability. Keldon Johnson, a 6-6 wing, is a very good scorer who will add some nice size on the perimeter. Combo guard Ashton Hagans, point guard Immanuel Quickley and wing Tyler Herro all have the talent to make an immediate impact. But like in the frontcourt, Kentucky does have some talent returning to the backcourt. Quade Green had a decent freshman campaign, averaging 9.3 points and 2.7 assists. It was not the smoothest debut campaign, but Green should emerge as a solid floor leader who can also knock down some outside shots. As usual, Kentucky will have to rely on freshmen, but it is not as extreme as it has been in years past. The Wildcats have a little more experience than normal, but it is still not much. This group has more than enough talent to win the SEC, but their season will come down to how well the young players can come together in March.  
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 76.8 (87th in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 70.2 (116, 7)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.2 (50, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.4 (14, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.3 (340, 14)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.7 (136, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.8 (242, 10)
Rebound Margin: 5.1 (40, 3)
Assists Per Game: 13.2 (204, 9)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.0 (178, 9)
Madness 2019 NBA Draft Rankings:
#18 Keldon Johnson
#39 PJ Washington
#42 E.J. Montgomery
Madness 2018 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#8 E.J. Montgomery
#11 Keldon Johnson
#13 Ashton Hagens
#20 Immanuel Quickley
#33 Tyler Herro