“He’s marginally competitive, marginal athletically. He’s not overwhelmingly skilled. He is a big body, so if you want somebody to buy some minutes for your team at center, I guess he could do that.
“When B.J. Mullens came out of Ohio State last season, he had the same sort of motivation problems and similarly terrible stats, but he was a phenomenal athlete. And he only was selected in the middle of the first round. I don’t see how Orton’s long arms alone would put him in the same category.
“If there are five first-rounders, will we ever see that again? Probably not. But how can one predict something like that?”
Question: What do you think of the way Calipari has reloaded his roster for next season?
DeCourcy: “It’s obviously a great group of players coming in. I’m really impressed by Enes Kanter, Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones.
“Kanter and Jones will be exceptional freshmen and Knight has a very good chance to be, although I hope there’s not too much pressure on him to be John Wall or Derrick Rose. He’s not as gifted as either. He just needs to be himself.
“I’m not as moved by Doron Lamb as some others. I think he’s a terrific kid. I really enjoyed meeting him last summer. I’ve watched him play several times, though, and he didn’t show a lot as a shooter or scorer. I think he’s built to be an amazing defender if he’ll embrace that role. Will he?”
Question: Could Kanter be the most intriguing recruit ever at UK, not only because of his ability but also because of the international doors his arrival could open for Calipari and Kentucky?
DeCourcy: “Framed as you asked the question, the honest answer is no. Although the rules have been relaxed on international prospects to make it more fair for them in terms of gaining eligibility, most European players would prefer to play for pay in the European club system.
“I think history has shown NCAA basketball turns out a better brand of pro prospect, but a lot of players aren’t willing to make the sacrifices college basketball requires.
“However, Kanter is an intriguing prospect on his own because most of us have seen so little of him. ... He’s probably had less exposure here than any elite UK freshman in decades.”
Question: What player will Kentucky miss the most next year?
DeCourcy: “It’s fairly obvious when you have a first-team All-America point guard (Wall) you’re going to miss him, even with a big-time recruit arriving to replace him. But for argument’s sake, I think the correct answer might be Patrick Patterson.
“Presuming Kanter takes the center spot and Knight is the point guard, the one player who’s not truly replaced with a like physical specimen is Patterson.
“Terrence Jones brings a whole new set of possibilities to the position with his playmaking ability, but he’ll need some taste for physicality to hold up at power forward. I’m not saying he doesn’t have it; I’m saying he hasn’t had to show it playing on the wing against high school kids.
“He’ll have to rebound. Robert Dozier did it for Calipari at Memphis and was even leaner than Jones, so it can work.”