Kentucky's roster has been in flux ever since the 2017-18 season ended. With two players already opting to pursue opportunities elsewhere (Tai Wynyard and Sacha Killeya-Jones) and two more deciding to enter the NBA Draft and sign with agents (Kevin Knox and Shai Gilegous-Alexander), the only thing certain about its roster of late is that there is a great deal of uncertainty.
And I'm even more certain there is still an element of unknown in Lexington moving forward, specifically as it relates to Jarred Vanderbilt, Wenyen Gabriel, P.J. Washington and Hamidou Diallo, all of which could just as easily leave as they could stay for another round at Kentucky.
As a result of Kentucky's wild roster rollercoaster, the most relevant question to ask isn't who is leaving, but rather, who in the world is staying, and who will be a part of its new-look roster reconstruct in 2018?
Let's dig into exactly that with a look at an updated scholarship chart for the Cats going into the 2018-19 season.
Sacha Killeya-Jones (transfer)
P.J. Washington (declared, no agent)
Jemarl Baker (RS in 2017)
Tai Wynyard (transfer)
Kevin Knox (declared, signed with agent)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (declared, signed with agent)
The NCAA stipulates that a maximum of 13 scholarship players are allowed in any given season, though most tend to operate efficiently below the limit as to allow for potential transfers or midseason additions. Last season, for example, Kentucky operated at 11; it projects to have 11 again in the 2018 season, assuming the current players who haven't signed with agents return to school.
No matter the case with potential NBA departures, Kentucky doesn't appear to be done crafting its roster for next season.
On Tuesday, the Wildcats added five-star 2019 point guard Ashton Hagans to the fold. Hagans, a top-10 prospect in the class viewed as the top ball-handler in his classification, may be a candidate to play as early as next season. While he's still considered a 2019 prospect, Hagans, like Duke's Marvin Bagley last year, is considering to reclassify to the Class of 2018 in hopes of gaining eligibility for the upcoming season.
Whether Hagans successfully reclassifies to 2018 to be eligible for the upcoming season is obviously yet to be determined. But assuming he clears all academic and compliance hurdles, UK would be sitting at 12 scholarships for 2018 -- again, assuming all the balls currently up in the air fall back in Kentucky.
So while Calipari appears to be in the midst of a massive juggling act as he sorts through numbers and tries to assess who will be back, who's coming and who's leaving for next season, skeptics questioning his ability to re-stock the roster will soon be biting their tongues.
Kentucky, roster flux and all, projects as a top-5 team entering 2018. When all the shoes fall with potential NBA departures and transfers and recruits, the Wildcats will still have an embarrassment of riches that could give Calipari a fifth Final Four in ten seasons during his tenure in Lexington.