By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky has already lost two guards — Tyrese Maxey and Ashton Hagans — to the NBA and one — Johnny Juzang — via transfer. Odds are the Cats are also going to lose Immanuel Quickley to the NBA.
Even with a talented freshman class that includes some terrific guards/wing players, Kentucky could obviously use some backcourt depth/experience next season.
Speculation started Thursday that it might come from Davion Mintz, a transfer from Creighton.
Don’t know Mintz? That’s understandable because he missed last season. A preseason ankle injury led him to redshirt and now he’s a grad transfer who will be immediately eligible to play next season.
However, he’s a solid player. He started all 35 games in 2018-19 when Creighton went 20-15 and finished third in the Big East. He averaged 9.7 points per game, 3.0 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game.
He played 29 minutes per game and had four teammates average in double figures so he obviously gets the idea of team play. He shot 34 percent from 3-point range — not Quickley-like but better than Maxey or Hagans.
Most basketball analysts rate him as a solid defender. Maybe he won’t be the lockdown defender Hagans was or Quickley became, but a fifth-year player knows the tricks of playing defense.
It could be the same with 7-3 Matt Haarms, who is transferring from Purdue. He will announce his final 10 schools Saturday after hearing from more than 20 schools in the first few hours after he announced his decision to leave the Boilermakers.
Haarms averaged 8.6 points, 4.4 reboundsand 2.1 blocks per game last season.
With UK likely losing both Nick Richards and EJ Montgomery to the NBA draft also, he would be a welcome addition and give John Calipari a needed rim protector. Even if Montgomery comes back, Haarms’ depth/experience could be just as valuable as what Mintz could add. Get them both to go with the the incoming freshman talent and Calipari will have another roster he certainly will like next season.