John Calipari's second batch of Kentucky Wildcats was already going to be startlingly young. Sunday night, Kentucky accomplished something rather impressive. It got even younger.
That's the result of Calipari's announcement (via Facebook, of course) that junior Darnell Dodson would not be playing for the Cats in 2010-11. Calipari's brief news flash allows for the possibility of Dodson's return and notes that Dodson is, in fact, academically eligible:
I do want to let you all know that junior Darnell Dodson will not be playing for UK this season. If Darnell, who is academically eligible, decides to return, he could practice with the team if he meets our standards.
No reason is given for Dodson's quasi-expulsion from the team, but by ruling out academics, the announcement likely means Dodson has had some internal behavioral issues that got him in hot water.
Whatever the cause of the decision, the result is that Kentucky will lose one of its few returning players from last year's 35-3 team. Dodson scored 6.0 points in 14.5 minutes per game in 2009-10, and his role as an outside shooter on Calipari's freshman-laden squad was expected to be much larger in the coming year. Without him, the Wildcats lose a chunk of experience, one of the few remaining after this year's talent exodus -- to say nothing of Dodson's ability to shoot the basketball from deep. It's a tough blow.
The good news for Kentucky is, well, pretty much the same as it's been all offseason: Those freshmen are going to be really good. But if there were two things the Wildcats couldn't afford to sacrifice, they were experience and shooting. Without Dodson, they lose a bit of both.