Monday, October 27, 2014

Blue Team Wins Blue/White Scrimmage 95-66

(Photo Courtesy of: Clay Jackson)

Tonight was the Blue/White Game and as always, it didn't disappoint. There is SO much talent on this team that it's ridiculous. This team is going to dominate opponents with talent as it will come in waves throughout the course of a game. The fact that Cal can sub 5-for-5 and there is absolutely NO drop off in talent is mind boggling. There are literally FOUR NBA ready big-men that will be splitting time this season and will be a nightmare for any team in the country. This is going to be one helluva year folks...

Here is the final box-score...

There were some things that stuck out to me, so I'm just going to go over them very quickly here as I'm sure everyone picked out the same things as well....

First, Dakari Johnson looks like a completely different player. He has lost a ton of weight, gotten in shape and because of that, runs the floor better than he ever has in his career. Several times tonight, he was the first big down the floor which led to some easy baskets underneath. He is going to be a force this year in the paint for the Cats, but the one thing he will need to work on is free-throws. He will be fouled a lot this season and he must be able to convert at the line.

The injury Willie Cauley-Stein suffered last season during the NCAA Tournament looks to be long gone. He shows no signs whatsoever of any lingering effects from the injury. He, like Dakari, was able to run the floor very well and finish around the rim. Several times, Stein altered shots inside and out, and at one point, stole the ball at the top of the key and drove the floor against two defenders for a reverse slam that was very impressive. The Cats will need his ability to guard out on the perimeter for them to be effective on the defensive end of the floor this season.

Once again, my favorite player tonight was Tyler Ulis. This kid has A LOT of heart and hustle, something you don't find very often.  Because of his size, he will often times find himself guarding a much bigger player and tonight was not different as he went up against Aaron and Andrew Harrison. The size difference didn't bother Ulis as he played some of the toughest defense that I have seen in a Blue/White Game. That's just his style however, go hard all the time and don't let up until the final horn blows. He is going to cause a lot of problems for opposing players this year. Also, he is going to be more than fun to watch run in the open floor. This kid can absolutely fly down the floor and make quick correct decisions on the fly. I can't wait to watch him progress throughout the season.

The Harrison's look quicker and more athletic this season as well. The have both lost between 10-15 pounds and it shows. Both of them look much improved from last season and with the entire season to go one can't help but be excited at what the end result may be for these two.

Probably the best player on the floor tonight was Karl Anthony-Towns Jr. This kid is simply unreal. At seven foot, he runs the floor like a guy that is 6'6" and can handle the ball in traffic while going towards the rim. He altered too many shots to count, something you'll see him do more of once the season gets started. He has excellent foot-work and his ability to finish around the rim will cause teams trouble this year. I will be interesting how Calipari finds enough time for all of these NBA quality big men. 

I also have to talk about freshman, Devin Booker. This kid is a true scorer and and knows what to do with the ball when he has it. Devin done the bulk of his damage inside the three-point line, but don't let that fool you as he is one of the best shooters in this years freshman class. When he starts hitting his outside shot (and he WILL start hitting his outside shot), things just get a lot harder for the opposition as they will have to guard him close on the perimeter. 

At the end of the night, this was a fun game to watch and one that gave you a little glimpse of what to look forward to this season. The most interesting thing that kept running through my mind tonight was, how in the hell are teams going to compete with Kentucky under the basket? This has all the makings of a very special season...

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