By LARRY VAUGHT
Sports Illustrated writer Emily Caron has been previewing some of the nation’s top freshmen for the 2019-20 college basketball season and one of her picks is Kentucky’s Kahlil Whitney.
Here’s part of what she wrote about Whitney:
“The New Jersey native should slide into the small forward slot this season. Not as proven of a scorer as Keldon Johnson was, Whitney has some work to do offensively but brings a notable athleticism and more defensive upside to the position. The 6-6, 210-pound freshman comes to Kentucky with an NBA-ready body and the ability to pose a physical threat at the wing and in the paint. His physical tools give him a ton of potential defensively and the versatility to guard multiple positions.
“He should also be able to help on the boards, which is huge given that this new-look Kentucky front court is also without last season’s leading rebounder, PJ Washington, at the four. Whitney is explosive but he’s not the best ball handler or the most consistent shooter, skills which could use some work if the Wildcats want to get more out of him offensively without their top five scorers from 2018–19’s team that made it to the Elite Eight.
“Whitney can, however, contribute consistent points at the rim, and he’s big enough to body his way through traffic in the lane to get to the basket. He’s a versatile defender and high-end athlete, but Kentucky will have to take what it can get offensively as he develops his shots and a greater range.”
Whitney’s physical play on both ends should be a big boost for coach John Calipari. He can be a bulldog on defense that Calipari likes and might impact the game more defensively and with his rebounding that he does offensively.