In terms of impressive debuts, it rates right up there with the premiere of “Justified”. 31 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 0 turnovers. Brandon Knight totally dominated the game for the Cats and even in the first time on the court as a UK player, was the best player on the court. What surprised me most about Brandon Knight’s game is just how quick he is in person. While I knew that he was known for his ability to get up and down the floor, I hadnt seen his quickness in person in two years. He has gotten faster and found a way to finish better, than during his high school years. Add in the fact that he was 8-8 from the free throw line and I am not sure that anyone could be more pleased with the performance.
However even before the game was over, fans were attempting to compare Knight’s abilities to that of John Wall. On our live blog, the comments came in fast and furious. “Is Knight quicker than Wall?” “I think he shoots the ball better than Wall.” “He cant guard people as well as Wall.” “I think he will be better than Wall.” The only way for most fans to process what they had seen from Knight was to try and compare it to John Wall, arguably the best point guard to wear the Blue and White. This is a concern for those around the team and is a subject that Calipari has brought up a number of times. He has used the quote, “let Brandon Knight be Brandon Knight” a couple of times during the summer for one obvious reason. John Wall has VERY big shoes to fill. He was the National Player of the Year and the #1 NBA Draft pick. To expect that from Knight, means that if he comes up just short….which would still potentially make him beyond good…he will be seen as a disappointment. That isnt fair to the kid.
AFter the game last night, a reporter asked Calipari how Knight’s debut ranked against other point guards that Calipari had coached and he refused to take the bait. He smiled and said, “I have coached some pretty good point guards.” He then praised Knight but didnt engage in a ranking system. Fans should try and avoid such comparisons as well, at least in early August. It really isnt fair to either of our two UK point guards. When I read quotes such as “Knight is quicker….a better shooter….a better overall IQ, etc”, I want to say, “hey John Wall was pretty freaking good.” And then when I read quotes that suggest he wont be as great as Wall, I want to say, “how do you know….and if not, he can still be REALLY good!” Filling in the shoes of a legend can be difficult…and if people dont give the individual some slack, it can be impossible. Brandon’s debut showcased that he is going to be a special player. Lets appreciate that and try not to simply compare him to our departed great PG from the past.