Is there such a thing as too much talent? That is the one lingering question about this year's national title-chasing Kentucky Wildcats, a team that not only returned future NBA lottery pick Terrence Jones and sharpshooting guard Doron Lamb from last season's Final Four team, but added a downright legendary recruiting class that features that top point guard (Marquis Teague), top small forward (Michael Kidd-Gilchrist) and top power forward (Anthony Davis) in the class of 2011. How does all that talent fit together? Are Jones and Kidd-Gilchrist -- and maybe even Davis, to some extent -- redundant pieces? And how can coach John Calipari balance all that talent?
Don't feel bad if you don't have the answers; as of today, Calipari doesn't seem to, either. In a sign of just how talented this team truly is, Wednesday night Calipari began an exhibition against Transylvania with Kidd-Gilchrist -- the No. 4 player in the class of 2011 -- on the bench. Kentucky started slow, allowing Transylvania to take an 11-4 lead in the first four minutes, before Calipari decided to insert Kidd-Gilchrist into the lineup. The youngster did what he's earned consistent raves for doing: He brought not only sheer talent but energy, competitive desire, defensive intensity, all of the intangible qualities that made scouts love him for more than his already-dazzling pure skills.
Now, it seems, Calipari is devoted to the idea of making Kidd-Gilchrist a starter. From the Lexington Herald-Leader:
"I would say, looking at today, he's a starter, because you have to have him start the game," Calipari said of UK's early 11-4 deficit. "Can't start the game like we did today."
Perhaps earning a starting position in his debut left Kidd-Gilchrist unmoved.
"It doesn't mean (anything)," he said with a shrug. "I just want to win the basketball game. And that's it."
It's still early, and Calipari still has plenty of time to figure out which combinations of players at various times will give him the best chance to win. The good news? No matter what he decides, he's going to have a very, very talented team on the floor.