Opening Night in Rupp Arena saw the Blue-White Game and a lot to chat about from the new Cats…a few thoughts:
— Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones are revelations….although the type that we should have already known about long ago. Knight will likely break the Freshman scoring record at UK (Wall-Cousins finished 1-2 last year) and can get to the rim against almost anyone. Watching him led many on media row to compare him to John Wall, but dont sweat that comparison. Different teams and different roles…what is is most important is that he is very good. Same goes for Jones…he is the most versatile player on the team and can guard the 3-4-5 position. A young Lamar Odom, just without the Kardashian baggage.
— It is odd to say in his Junior season and when he scores 20 points, but Darius Miller seemed to blend into the woodwork a bit. He is this team’s third (and potentially second) scorer and needs to step up and be aggressive. We saw none of that in the first half, but things got much better in the second. Miller doesnt have to take over games, but he needs to be an aggressive option all year…more like what we saw towards the end of the game than the beginning.
— I was very happy to see the strong play from Josh Harrellson who, in addition to the 26 rebounds, also controlled the inside defensively a great deal of the time. The Cats will need much more from Eloy Vargas than what we saw on Tuesday. He was all too often timid and unable to make a presence and many around were using the dreaded word “soft” to describe him. It is one game and his first time in front of a big crowd (and it wasnt even big for UK standards). Lets see what happens in the two exhibition games before we worry too much.
— Free Enes
— The team you saw last night will play a lot of the same offense you will see all season. A ton of Dribble-Drive and attacking the basket will be the main offensive gameplan and going to the rim is what all must do. Calipari wants threes and layups as the main feature of the team. He utilized a lot more pick and roll and Calipari believes that will be a much bigger part of the offense this season. With that offense however, the team will get to the line a great deal, but they must shoot free throws better. The Calipari free throw curse still seems to haunt.
— All in all, a decent effort. The haters will say the team has a long way to go, while the optimist can find a great deal to hang your hat on postively. For me, this is the key….without Kanter, UK has to find a way to utilize its thin roster and still get up and down the floor. In the half court, this team isnt the greatest…but it can run and attack with anyone and the Cats must do that and still find a way to play with a 7 man rotation. IT wont be easy and the guys need to be in tremendous shape.
Big night tonight as Boogie and Bledsoe begin their NBA careers. Below was today’s radio show, which included potentially the best phone call in the show’s history. Plus we talk about the Blue-White game and all that is going on in UK land…make sure and check it out: