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Shai Alexander building case to start at point guard


Photo by UK Athletics

No player has garnered more positive buzz in the preseason than Shai Alexander. The 6-6 combo guard was recruited to play the two at Kentucky alongside Quade Green, but he’s been so good in practice as of late that’s he’s making a case to start at point.

“Oh yeah,” Cal said. “He could start [at point guard]. Quade’s doing fine, too, but they’re competing for [the starting job]. I would say, they’re both going to play.”

Part of the reason Shai stands out is his seven-foot wingspan, second only to Hamidou Diallo among guards in the Calipari era. Calipari says that wingspan is a game-changer on defense.

“With his wingspan and all that stuff, he’s really disruptive. Really disruptive.”

Wenyen Gabriel agrees.

“I’ve said it before. Shai, I really thought he surprised me over the summer and he just kept it rolling ever since. He’s really into this. His focus is right. He’s got the length, all you need. Cal tells him every practice, ‘You have a 7-foot wingspan.’ He’s a talented player and he can shoot the ball. He’s learning the game like the rest of us. We’re still putting the pieces together but I think Shai’s going to be a really good player. Whether he starts or not, he’s going to have a big role on this team.”

Like Calipari, Gabriel said Shai’s wingspan can be a catalyst for the Cats on defense.

“It’s an advantage, definitely, for the rest of us. He’s bothering the point guard, which makes it really hard for the other team to get into it. Our defense really starts with the point guard in that aspect. We all feed off of that.”

Hamidou Diallo agreed that Alexander’s competitiveness has stood out in practice.

“Shai can definitely play point guard,” Diallo said. “He’s a great player. He can play multiple positions, one or two. He’s been bringing it everyday. He’s very competitive. He and Quade have been battling it out everyday. Two great point guards going after each other. Both of them, I feel like, want to see each other play and they’re fighting for minutes.”

Solution: Quade plays point on offense, Shai guards point on defense.

For fun, check out a chart of the wingspans of the guards of the Calipari Era below:

Player Height (with shoes) Wingspan
Hamidou Diallo 6’5.5” 7’0.25”
Shai Alexander 6’6″ 7’
James Young 6’6.75″ 7’
DeAndre Liggins 6’6.25” 6’11”
Archie Goodwin 6’5.25” 6’9.5”
John Wall 6’4” 6’9.25”
Mychal Mulder 6’4.5” 6’8”
Isaiah Briscoe 6’2.5” 6’8”
Aaron Harrison 6’6.25” 6’8”
Andrew Harrison 6’6” 6’8.25”
EJ Floreal 6’4” 6’7.5”
Eric Bledsoe 6’1.5” 6’7.5”
Marquis Teague 6’2” 6’7.25”
Doron Lamb 6’4.75” 6’6.75”
Brandon Knight 6’3.25” 6’6.75”
Jamal Murray 6’4.25” 6’6.5”
Devin Booker 6’6.25” 6’6.25”
Dominique Hawkins 6’0.25” 6’5.5”
De’Aaron Fox 6’3.25” 6’4.5”
Malik Monk 6’3” 6’3.5”
Quade Green 6’ 6’2.5”
Tyler Ulis 5’9” 6’1.25”

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

9 responses to “Shai Alexander building case to start at point guard”

  1. TBW3011

    Hope this happens.

  2. JTHinton

    What is Quade honest opinion

  3. bbnZach

    Give me Quade. Vocal leader and can control the pace of the game.

  4. bigblueinyoureye

    Shuffle a few players and it would appear wingspan is inversely proportional to being good at basketball.

    1. ukjaybrat

      i think you have a point offensively, but defensively, all the best p[layers are at the top except hawkins and ulis (but his wingspan is proportionately small bc he was small)

  5. Cletis75

    Anyone else notice that the guys with height and wingspan closest together were the better shooters on the list.

  6. Angelo

    I want a 6’6″ point guard!! But Shai is a 4 star, Quade 4-5. We shall see.

    1. Sentient Third Eye

      Those star ratings are just opinions by people who were not good enough to actually coach, so they don’t really mean much.

  7. BCO

    Hopefully hes better at playing point than he is at catching Bart Simpson

    …am I the only one who loves the Side Show Bob hair? I hope he starts for that reason alone…