After watching UK kick off the 2007-2008 basketball season there is one thing we know for sure, you play hard or you take a seat. The effort was impressive for every player that logged minutes last night in the Cats 99-64 win over Pikeville College. The defense continually pushed the tigers offense away from the basket as UK showed glimpses of how tough it’s man to man D’ will become as the season progresses. Offensively we witnessed something we did not see a lot under Tubby Smith and that is constant movement and quick passing. There will be no standing around under this staff nor will there be any one player dominating the dribble and wasting time off the shot clock while the other four players stand there trying to figure out what to do.
In a lot of ways, last nights team looked eerie similar to Bill Self’s Kansas Jayhawks. Obviously as most know BCG coached under Self and uses a lot of the same principles as his mentor does, so the comparison is not earth shattering. What is nice though is that I watch teams like Kansas who get up and down the court and produce constant ball pressure on defense while at the same time giving a 100% effort and would wish Kentucky would play that way. Well now they do, and it is going to get extremely exciting from this point forward.
We got glimpses of how good Patrick Patterson is going to be as he scored a very quiet 21 points added with 9 rebounds. PP intensity level is something that you can’t teach in athletes, it is just a natural ability that some players carry on their shoulders. That attitude cooped with the desire to win of BCG will reflect on everyone’s play, which will ultimately mean a lot of victories. You can’t say enough about Jodie Meeks. First and foremost, my god how good of shape is this guy in? He looks like he could suit up in any sport you choose and be successful. Jodie’s confidence is booming right now as we saw him score as many points in the first half as Pikeville did mainly due to his dead eye three point shooting. Ramel looked far more under control last night than he has at any point of his career as he was patient and didn’t force anything up at the rim. This guy is going to be the leader of this team this season and his improvement in game situation skills will be night and day compared to last year. Joe and Perry Stevenson had solid games while Razor Ramon and Coury left a lot to be desired.
All in all, it was a great portrayal of what we can expect this season and in the future from our Cats. There is no doubt in my mind that BCG is the perfect fit for Kentucky basketball. His determination, desire, and coaching skills will turn UK back into a top ten team in a blink of an eye.
Already can’t wait until Saturday!