Florida State's Leonard Hamilton has a comical response whenever someone questions him about available scholarship numbers. "Don't count my scholarships," he says, before laying down a classic Leonard Hamilton stare. Is he joking? Is he serious? With that stare, reporters don't find out – they move on to some other topic, and Coach Hamilton doesn't have to address the situation.
And while Hamilton's 13 available scholarships are all in use at the moment, it's John Calipari – considered to be Ham's main competition in the Andrew Wiggins sweepstakes – who people keep questioning.
So, let's clear the air. Let's count the Kentucky scholarships.
The news today is that Alex Poythress is returning to school.
Freshman forward Alex Poythress will return to the UK men’s basketball program for the 2013-14 season.
— DeWayne Peevy (@UKDeWaynePeevy) April 2, 2013
This of course set off a whole new round of wondering where Calipari is getting all these scholarships from – much of it completely incorrect.
UK already has 13 scholarship players for next season. The university only gets 10. I doubt Calipari cuts Goodwin from the team for Hawkins.
— Micah (@MicahLainhart) March 28, 2013
First, UK gets 13 scholarships, and 2nd, relax.
The Cats recruiting class is seven players, and let's assume that all seven of those players are on track to qualify and will, in fact, be using scholarship space. That leaves six available spots.
From the current roster, Archie Goodwin is turning pro, and Nerlens Noel is pretty much a lock to go as well.
Julius Mays has used his four years, so he's gone as well, and Ryan Harrow transferred.
That leaves Poythress, Kyle Wiltjer, Willie Cauley-Stein, Jon Hood, Jarrod Polson, Sam Malone, and Brian Long.
That's seven. Uh oh.
And this is where people stop thinking and start tweeting.
Pitino has so much more class than calipari.He basically is saving wards scholarship for him…calipari is taking some away.
— robin quattlebaum (@robshq) March 31, 2013
But Polson, Malone and Long all entered the programs as walk-ons. The only reason they're on scholarships now is because Kentucky wasn't using all of their scholarships, and so they awarded them to the walk-ons. It's safe to assume that the situation was explained to them when they were awarded. This happens every year, across hundreds of programs. Should Calipari have withheld those scholarships so that down the road he wouldn't get ripped for "taking them away"? Apparently.
This leaves four scholarhsip players. Add that to the seven that are coming and Kentucky has used 11 of 13.
So yeah, they have one spot left for Nerlens Noel, should he stay, and another for Andrew Wiggins.
If those two end up somewhere else, then more walk-ons will get a free ride. Calipari, however, will get ripped regardless. And I'm sure he really cares what you think.