Kentucky wildcats

Kentucky Coach Mark Pope Drops Honest Admission On Roster Construction

New Kentucky Wildcats head coach Mark Pope inherited an unusual situation when he stepped foot on campus. Pope took over the most popular one-and-done program in college basketball.

The Wildcats have long been associated with loaded recruiting classes. Yet many of those classes have been comprised of players who would like to depart for the NBA relatively quickly, if not after one season on campus.

Former head coach John Calipari benefited from the previous arrangement since it gave him enough of space to add fresh talent to the roster each offseason. For Pope, who values development and experience in roster building, it’s not ideal.

Pope spoke with Fox Sports’ John Fanta about how he had to momentarily adjust this year in order to assemble a roster.

There is a wide range of things. It’s not how we’re going to construct this year in and year out because we have to go from 0 to 12 in the portal season alone. However, it was the only option available to us this year. There weren’t many alternatives left for us.”

Mark Pope Kentucky

Pope’s system is such that inexperience is disadvantageous in getting his team to operate at a high level. To add experience this offseason, the Kentucky coach had to go to the portal.

The former Kentucky player has fared well in the portal so far.

San Diego State guard Lamont Butler and BYU forward Jaxson Robinson supplement what the Wildcats could get from Oklahoma State transfer big Brandon Garrison on the inside.

To further reinforce the portal class, facilitating point guard Kerr Kriisa (West Virginia) and perimeter scorer Otega Oweh travel from Oklahoma.

The head coach of the Wildcats is eager to get started. He knows he’ll need depth to do it.

Pope has experience playing with a full roster. The former athlete was a member of former Kentucky head coach Rick Pitino’s 34-2 national championship squad in 1995–96, which produced nine NBA players.

While it’s unclear if Pope will achieve the same degree of success, his goal is to return Kentucky to winning in crucial moments.

On November 12, the Wildcats will play an early test against the Duke Blue Devils in Atlanta in an attempt to get off to a fast start.

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