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Jeff Eisenberg

No Darnell Dodson means other Kentucky players must step up

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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It looks like Kentucky may have to rely on its talented freshmen class next season even more than we expected.

Darnell Dodson, one of the Wildcats' few returners to receive significant playing time last season, will not play next year, coach John Calipari announced on Sunday as his team began preparation for its upcoming exhibition games in Canada. Calipari said Dodson was academically eligible but did not reveal what off-the-court issues led his decision

I do want to let you all know that junior Darnell Dodson will not be playing for UK this season. If Darnell, who is academically eligible, decides to return, he could practice with the team if he meets our standards.

Dodson averaged 6.0 points and 2.4 rebounds in about 15 minutes per game as a sophomore last season, but the 6-foot-7 wing's role likely would have increased significantly next year. His outside shooting would have been a huge boost for a Wildcats team whose three-point shot deserted it at times last season including its Elite Eight loss to West Virginia.

Instead the burden falls squarely on the shoulders of promising incoming freshman Doron Lamb and fellow returners Darius Miller and DeAndre Liggins. Miller has to be a favorite to earn one of the two wing starting positions after playing 21 minutes a game last season and Lamb could start alongside him if he proves he's capable of knocking down an open jump shot.

There had been speculation all summer that Dodson might not be part of Kentucky's team next season, but Wildcats assistant John Robic seemed to douse that last month when he said the junior guard will remain on the team.

Now we know that's not the case and the Wildcats will have to win without Dodson.

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