Posted: 8:26 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013
By Glenn Logan
The 2013 men's basketball Blue/White scrimmage is in the books. It was a very interesting game with a lot of things to talk about, but one thing is as we expected it to be — this is one of, and perhaps the most talented team of the John Calipari era. No, it isn't a finished product, and there are plenty of imperfect things that need work, but overall, there is a lot more to praise than criticize.
Let's run down the items on my checklist:
We had plenty of passing and very little selfishness. For a team of this talent, that's amazing, and very pleasing to the Kentucky fan.
We don't handle the ball all that great. It will get better, but tonight it wasn't great.
We saw very little hot-dogging tonight.
Some of the guys played defense. Others, not so much.
I was very pleased with the perimeter shooting, it was way better than I expected.
We have some big guys who can get it done on the inside, both offensively and defensively. The size of the backcourt is also a major plus for the team.
The practice extension that was given to college basketball this season really showed up in this game.
We really saw no lingering injury effects, although Andrew Harrison got a knee bruise and was out for the second half.
Game ball, Blue team: James Young. Young was not only dominant on offense with 25 points, but he had 7 (!) steals.
Game ball, White team: Derek Willis. He had 21 points and 8 rebounds, and was 5-6 from 3-point range. Mobile Kyle Wiltjer, anyone?
Dominque Hawkins is ready to contribute, like Willis.
Aaron Harrison played very well. Andrew didn't play that well for whatever reason.
Alex Poythress seemed not to really be there. He just disappeared into the background.
Willie Cauley-Stein was fine, he did what he usually does, added energy, blocked shots, ran the floor. He even made a free throw, and his shooting form is improved.
Julius Randle was a beast, but he needs to play with more consistent effort, especially on defense. But it's hard to argue about 21 points and 8 rebounds. He didn't get a second-half rebound, though.
Loved what Marcus Lee brings. He's a work in progress and a raw athlete, but he ran a couple of beautiful pick and rolls.
Dakari Johnson has soft hands and can use them both, as well as his ample backside. He really dominated the low block against everybody. Full-grown man.
Jarrod Polson and Jon Hood both played very well, particularly Polson. He just doesn't know what "You're in over your head" means. Never has.
That's about all I really have. The game was as expected, although I'm unsure whether the defense was just really that bad or the players are taking the whole new officiating thing to an extreme. I'm inclined toward the former, but Calipari hasn't even really installed the defense yet, so that's fine.
Overall, this team promises a huge year, and if they don't deliver, it will be a dead shock to me. They are beyond talented, and there is no aspect of offensive basketball in which they do not excel. They are vastly athletic and outrageously long and big — there are probably professional teams smaller than this one. And James Young might be the best player among them. He sure looked like it tonight.
We'll have more on this tomorrow. I have to go be a good husband now. Talk about it.