Will Kentucky Basketball Miss Kyle Wiltjer?

In July news broke that Kentucky sophomore forward Kyle Wiltjer was transferring to Gonzaga. The news wasn’t  surprising since he had mentioned earlier he was considering transferring. Many wonder why the transfer  and Wiltjer answered by going to Twitter to address the Big Blue Nation on why he believed Gonzaga’s program would help his draft stock improve.

Wiltjer believes that he can follow in the footsteps of Olynyck and Gonzaga is where his game will improve the most. “I’m choosing to transfer to Gonzaga because I feel they have a proven plan in place to help develop players similar to me (Kelly Olynyk), which has seen great results.” Wiltjer said.

The decision comes on the heels of Kelly Olynyck’s ( Gonzaga) success from red shirting a year ago to gain muscle mass and propelled the slender forward who averaged 5.8 points to 17.2 points per game and a lottery pick in the 2013 NBA draft.
Wiltjer began by thanking the Kentucky fans for their support throughout the difficult process of deciding whether or not to transfer away from Lexington. “I feel like in my basketball career I’m facing a make it or break it moment, and the primary factor in this decision is transforming my body.”

Wiltjer averaged 10.2 points in the disappointing 2012 season in which the Wildcats got defeated in the first round of the NIT tournament. That team lacked leadership and strength in which Calipari looked toward Wiltjer and Harrow to step in and be leaders and help the young freshman in difficult situations.

So what does this mean for Kentucky’s 2013-14 team? Kentucky may miss his outside shooting but Aaron Harrison and James Young are expected to step in and take on that role. As far as leadership Kentucky will lack a true leader who can come on the floor in harsh road conditions and help settle the young cats. These freshman will have to grow up fast and with a few SEC road games under their belts, they should be fine. As Calipari says, “Talent over experience, anyday.” Well after last year Calipari may have changed his tune but I believe coach Cal believes in this class and sees a bright future for them.


Many believe that Wiltjer could have red shirted at Kentucky while practicing against the best players in the nation making him bigger, stronger and faster ultimately improving his overall game and draft stock but once Wiltjer seen Olynyk’s success, his mind was made.

As for this season Calipari and the Cats will not miss Wiltjer but with a loaded roster in which most will go in the draft and next years class unknown Kentucky could have used Wiltjer after his red shirt year. By that time Wiltjer would have either improved or was just over ranked coming out of high school.

Coach Calipari wished the best for Wiltjer and tweeted, “I will be here for you if you need me. Love you, kid.” @kwiltj will always be a part of the #BBN.

Wiltjer’s decison took a long period of time, he was open and honest about the decision and thanked the fans for their support. Wiltjer showed the upmost respect for the transfer process and hope that other high profile player will do the same.

As far as Wiltjer being a Gonzaga Bulldog now, I hope most of the BBN will follow him and have respect for his decision and wish him the best.

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