Thursday, October 27, 2011
Blue White Game
Last night, we finally got a look at what this Kentucky team may look like in somewhat of a game setting. Granted, there wasn't much defense played (the cut above Kyle Wiltjers' eye would disagree), but I can't recall a blue white game in recent memory where a team looked this good. Usually in a blue white game, there is lots of turnovers, missed shots, and just looks of confusion during the game. That's to be expected in a preseason scrimmage with a team that is freshman heavy. But not this time.
This time the team looked like a.... Well.... A team. It was good to see how they already understand how to play together. And you could tell, they actually have fun on the court together. Not that the past two Calipari teams didn't have fun, it just took them a few games to look this good and comfortable on the floor together. But this team is just different, and it's a difference that you can see immediately. They have all the tools unlike the previous two teams who seemed to be just missing something. Whether it be outside shooting (which this team has), or an inside presence (this team also has).
Calipari's first year, he had a very talented team in Couisns, Wall, Bledsoe, Orton to go along with Patterson and company. But what was missing from that team, was what eventually left them short of a final four. Outside shooting. That is not a concern for this years team as they have several guys who can step out and hit the long ball. And that was on display last night as guys like Wiltjer, Miller, Lamb and even Terrance Jones drained it from long range numerous times, and with ease. The most impressive of the four was Kyle Wiltjer. The kid has one of the smoothest shooting strokes from outside on this team. Sure it's kind of a slow release, but at 6'9 he would be tough to block.
The second edition of a Calipari led wildcat team saw a good outside shooting team, with a ok to decent inside game. Which eventually is what led to their ousting in the semi-finals last year against UCONN as they had no one to defend the basket when someone got beat off the dribble. Again, this years team looks to have an remedy for that as well. There are many defensive weapons on this team from Darius Miller, to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Just about every guy on this team is a good defender, and if someone actually gets lucky enough to get past the half court stripe, they will have the likes of Terrance Jones, Anthony Davis, and Kyle Wiltjer to deal with around the basket. And believe me, after last night, that does not look like an easy task. Davis is so long his arms stretch from baseline to baseline. So, good luck with that.
The freshman showed why they were ranked the nations #1 recruiting class. And after Vanderbilt's coach Kevin Stallings comments (I don't know much about Kentucky's team, they are all freshman) at SEC media days, he will be wishing he had chosen his words differently. Because after SEC play starts he will be greeting them with a MR. in front of their last name.
Of course the story of the night was Terrence Jones' record setting 52 points which he scored in every way possible. This kid has improved and looks to be on a mission this season. He dominated everytime he touched the ball, and had just one thing in mind, ripping the rim off everytime the opportunity presented its self. He is going to be a joy to watch this year if he keeps up this type of aggressiveness.
Judging by last night, this is going to be an exciting season with one of the most talented Kentucky teams (at least on paper) in history. The early season battles with Kansas, North Carolina, and Louisville just can't get here soon enough!