Kyle Wiltjer's ready to go (AP Photo)

Kyle Wiltjer could end up staying at Kentucky, redshirting

Leave a comment

Kyle Wiltjer doesn’t want to leave Kentucky, it seems.

The 6-foot-9 forward received a release last month to look into transferring and has already taken a visit to Gonzaga to check out the facilities and the program.

But just because Wiltjer is doing his due diligence and looking into his options doesn’t mean that he’s made the decision to leave Lexington. His father told the Portland Tribune that Kyle’s “not 100 percent committed to transferring”.

“Kyle is midway through the college process,” Greg Wiltjer told Kerry Eggers. “The reason he chose Kentucky was a chance to win a national championship, play with the best players in the nation and be in position to have an opportunity to play beyond college. Now he’s looking at what lies in front of him.

“Kyle has a great relationship with Calipari, but he’s not a stereotypical Calipari player. If he were at Duke or some other place, they’d be running him off screens, but that’s not the Kentucky system. And now he has all these thoroughbreds coming in. Kyle’s biggest challenge is his body. He needs to get stronger and quicker, to get help with nutrition, strength and agility.”

If Wiltjer does decide to return to Kentucky, it looks like he may end up redshirting, which could end up being the best possibility for him in the long run. The bottom line is that he’s not going to be getting minutes with Kentucky this season. I don’t care how well he can shoot, a slow-footed power forward that’s too slow to defend on the perimeter and too weak to defend in the post isn’t going to play when Coach Cal has Julius Randle, Willie Cauley-Stein, Alex Poythress, Marcus Lee and Dakari Johnson at his disposal. He just won’t.

Wiltjer needs to spend a season getting stronger, getting quicker, improving his footwork, developing some kind of post-game even if he relies strictly on face-up moves and quick cuts to the rim.

Essentially, Wiltjer needs to do exactly what Kelly Olynyk did for the Zags last season. Whether that happens in Gonzaga or in Kentucky probably doesn’t matter, but the bottom line is that is what has to occur is Wiltjer is ever going to live up to the hype he had coming out of high school.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
1 Comment

Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Leave a comment

Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: