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Devin Askew embraces point guard competition, learning from Davion Mintz

Davion Mintz. Devin Askew. Men’s basketball practice. Photo by Noah J. Richter | UK Athletics

Photo by Noah J. Richter | UK Athletics

Just one day away from college basketball season tipping off and the Kentucky Wildcats taking the floor for the first time, many of our answers about the 2020-21 roster have been answered.

Who are the star talents? Easy, BJ Boston and Terrence Clarke, two consensus top-ten prospects in the 2020 recruiting class.

Who will anchor the frontcourt? Olivier Sarr, the nation’s top transfer this summer, has been declared eligible and Keion Brooks Jr. is also back for year two. Talk of Isaiah Jackson being one of the biggest surprises in college basketball is also spreading like wildfire. UK has options there.

What about depth? With Jacob Toppin’s immediate eligibility, Kentucky now has 11 scholarship players at its disposal. With five 5-stars, three 4-stars, and three high-profile transfers, the team has plenty of star talent lining the roster from top to bottom.

But what about the point guard position? Who is going to be starting for the Wildcats when the ball is tipped tomorrow evening?

That remains to be seen.

“Davion [Mintz] and Devin [Askew] are totally different,” UK head coach John Calipari said today.

On one end, Askew is an incoming five-star prospect known for being a floor general and a fierce competitor. On the other, Mintz is a college veteran with NCAA Tournament experience playing for Creighton, a perennial top-25 program in the nation.

It’s a great problem to have, one the UK coaching staff is certainly grateful for.

It’s going great, me and him compete every day in practice,” Askew said of Mintz. “It’s fun learning from an experienced point guard like him, he’s been in college for five years now and he knows a lot. I just learn from him every day. … The way he helps lead our team. I’m a pretty good leader, but seeing the way he leads gives me the extra edge. It’s fun learning from him.”

“Just to attack practice every day with a competitive spirit,” Mintz said of what he has learned from Askew. “Just being able to teach him the fact that you have to have a great relationship on the court and that’s by him competing against me every day and that’s by me competing against him every day. That’s just us guys wanting better for each other. It’s been fun and he’s been doing really well so far.”

Askew says both players can give you something different depending on what the team needs at that given moment.

“I mean, I’m a pass-first point guard,” Askew said. “Davion, he scores the ball and he can pass as well. He can really shoot the ball well. I can shoot it, but he can shoot it really well. But, yeah, it’s just two point guards.”

“I think I can be a guy that does it on both ends,” Mintz said. “I can pass it up ahead or be the guy that’s catching it or receiving up ahead and making a play. I think with me it’s just versatility. I can do whatever is asked of me on the court.

“I just try to make the right play, whatever that it is,” Mintz added. “If that’s an opportunity for someone else to score or someone else open, then that’s what it’ll be. If it’s an opportunity for me to finish it, that’s what I do. But, in all situations I just try to make the best play just to convert. No wasted possessions. So, that’s my philosophy.”

That versatility extends to the entire backcourt, something that separates Kentucky’s roster from the rest of the college basketball world.

“You can do whatever with our team,” Askew said. “We have a lot of guards and we can play anywhere on the court. With us being able to do that, you can put anyone at the one, anyone at the two, even at the three.”

As for who will start from day one, that remains unclear, though Olivier Sarr did note on Monday that Askew has been running with the starters in the team’s preseason scrimmages.

“The usual like you’ve seen in the scrimmage before. The white team against the blue team,” Sarr said. “The white team was Devin (Askew), BJ (Boston), TC (Terrence Clarke), Isaiah (Jackson) and myself.

We’ll find out for certain either way when Kentucky tips off its season against Morehead State tomorrow at 6 p.m. ET on the SEC Network.

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

11 Comments for Devin Askew embraces point guard competition, learning from Davion Mintz

  1. wildcatdon
    7:44 pm November 24, 2020 Permalink

    Won’t surprise me if Cal starts Askew. Feels like he owes the freshmen so he can get them to the league and feed that ego. Mintz should start and maybe he will but that isn’t how Cal does things.

    • BlueSteel
      8:14 pm November 24, 2020 Permalink

      Askew does not strike me as one who needs his ego fed. Also, I don’t believe anyone came into the season thinking Askew will go to the league after one year – Askew included. But you do you.

    • wildcatdon
      9:08 am November 25, 2020 Permalink

      Blue steel I meant Cal had to feed his own ego. I have no clue whether any of these freshmen are good enough to leave without seeing them play. I just know Cal and what he does. He does play favorites so we shall see how things go.

    • IrishCat
      10:35 am November 25, 2020 Permalink

      I’m not one to criticize Cal often, but my thoughts exactly catdon. It seems hard to justify having Askew ahead of Mintz right now.

    • TBW3011
      10:46 am November 25, 2020 Permalink

      No doubt the 5 star starts. It’s how Cal has always done things regardless who is better.

  2. BBN4LIFE03
    8:26 pm November 24, 2020 Permalink

    If the champions classic was the first game, i would go with mintz. Since it is Morehead State, you should start Askew

  3. UKFanSC
    9:20 pm November 24, 2020 Permalink

    I predict they both will see considerable minutes. All season long.

  4. millertim
    8:13 am November 25, 2020 Permalink

    This whole question of who should start is ABSURD! Of course you start Mintz— experienced point guard who plays exceptional on both ends and is the best pure shooter on the team. The fact that Coach Cal is even pondering starting Askew makes me question his commitment to advancing the best interests of this team. In no other collegiate campus would any other coach have trouble deciding between a seasoned veteran point guard vs. a true Freshman (should technically still be in high school). Askew should be brought along slowly as point guard as this D-1 level is exteremly tough. Again, why create headaches and tough growing pains at the outset of an unknown season? Who knows how many games will be played and you want to jeopardize bracket selection with early losses that were avoidable. Cal complains every year that his team is too young and inexperienced— well who caused that??? Now he has a talented, experienced point guard and he’s contemplating sitting him for a raw rookie—- UNFORCED ERROR!

  5. wildcatdon
    9:10 am November 25, 2020 Permalink

    Millertim, Cal’s excuse is the freshmen can’t get enough reps or minutes sitting on the bench.

    • millertim
      4:05 pm November 25, 2020 Permalink

      If that is truly Cal’s reasoning, then I’m even more concerned…

  6. wildcatdon
    6:09 pm November 25, 2020 Permalink

    Well Cal started Askew. Unreal but typical Cal. Gotta take care of the freshmen.