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First Impressions of UK’s Basketball Future

Calipari and Kenny Payne watch uncommitted P.J. Washington (25) at the Peach Jam.

Every year around this time The Peach Jam, Nike’s National Championship, provides the BBN with a sneak peek of the possible players with a future in Lexington.

Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of my first trip to the tournament.  My initial takeaways on the future Wildcats were semi-newsworthy at the time, but in hindsight they are much more interesting.

Knox vs. Diallo

The second game I saw at the Peach Jam was an action-packed showdown between two future Kentucky stars.  Now they are friends and teammates.  A year ago they were throwing each other to the ground.

“Going for the dunk in the fast break, Diallo took out Knox.  Knox’s head hit the wooden bleachers and Diallo got hit with an intentional…Probably wasn’t intentional, but Diallo showed no mercy (almost got the block) so the refs will give him none.”

Reading between the lines of my 140 character Tweets, I became a big fan of Diallo on that play.  In many AAU settings, most players will easily surrender a transition bucket to the opposing team’s best player, but Diallo isn’t like most players.  He went for the block, and when he didn’t get it, he made sure Knox was going to earn those points from the free throw line.

I was impressed with Diallo after that play, but questioned his shooting form on every jump shot he took. Knox on the other hand was the total package.

“Of all the SFs I’ve seen in this talented SF class, Knox is the most physically impressive. Not a bad 3-point shot either.”

He had all of the tools — a smooth shot, exceptional ball handling, a weapon in transition — and he was physically gifted well beyond his peers.  To be fair, Jarred Vanderbilt was in a walking boot and did not play, but Knox still had it all.  He came up big in the biggest moments too.

“Knox just made a poster to go up 4 with .35 to play.  If that’s the dagger, it’s one of the most impressive I’ve ever seen.”

I don’t recall the specific play to describe it, because it was not the dagger.

“Diallo’s defense kept his team in the game. Not enough to win, but he did all the little things. Knox was annoyed every time they matched up.”

Two minutes later, Diallo did enough for his team to win.

“Then a guy hits a fadeaway three to tie it at the buzzer. I spoke too soon.”

“A guy” was named Hamidou Diallo.  I could not see who it was because every person in the audience was standing when he let the deep, contested game-tying three fly.

Hami kept the team on his back and carried the NY Rens to an overtime victory over Knox’s E1T1.

P.J. Washington vs. Marvin Bagley

The first game I watched at the Peach Jam did not feature as much drama, but there was still some awesomeness to be seen thanks to P.J. Washington.

“PJ Washington with a tough finish at the rim, an And 1 over 6’11” #NotTooShabby”

Upon further investigation, I discovered that 6’11” guy was Marvin Bagley, the No. 1 player in the 2018 class.  A center with guard skills, some think he’s the best recruit in a decade.  He receives that tag because his skills are incomparable to any player his size.

“Bagley, the #1 player in 18, just had a nice top in transition.  A 6’11” athlete that I can find no immediate comparison for.”

Bagley hasn’t given much away in his recruitment, but the Kentucky Wildcats are currently his Crystal Ball leader at 50 percent, just ahead of Duke, UCLA, USC and Arizona.  A West Coast kid, getting him across the country may be difficult, but if anyone can do it, Calipari can.  I’ll have updates on Bagley from the Peach Jam next week.

Quade Green vs. P.J. Washington

Green with Greg Anthony following a quarterfinal Peach Jam win via @AdamZagoria

Quade Green was the person I knew the least entering the event.  Leaving the event he was one of my favorite players.

Nobody was more clutch than Quade.  His PSA Cardinals teammate, Mo Bamba, received all the attention, but Green stole the show at the end of games.  He penetrated to finish with contact near the rim, or created space with a step-back.  At the highest level in the semifinals against Washington’s Team Penny, PSA couldn’t win without him.

“Team Penny is up 17 now in the first half. The difference? Quade Green isn’t playing like himself tonight”

32 minutes later…

“Green has come back to life and it’s a one point game”

29 minutes later…

“PSA wins thanks to Green’s second half heroics. Came from 18 down for the win”

Next weekend I’ll get a first look at guys that could become Wildcats in the 2018-19 season at the Peach Jam in North Augusta, South Carolina.  Who knows, maybe Cameron Reddish could be the next P.J. Washington…

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

21 Comments for First Impressions of UK’s Basketball Future

  1. DelrayCat
    4:10 pm July 8, 2017 Permalink

    Diallo…good player….can’t shoot for chit.
    Man…UK is REALLY going to struggle at times with all these Freshmen.

    • Luether
      5:46 pm July 8, 2017 Permalink

      And point guard Green is way overrated – a big letdown to what we’ve had over the past 2 years…

    • BBNDan7
      9:18 pm July 8, 2017 Permalink

      He’s played 0 college games…

    • UK Big Board Update
      9:39 pm July 8, 2017 Permalink

      Luether is full of “hot takes”, like this gem last season:

      Luether August 26, 2016 at 10:06 pm | Permalink
      Like It (0)
      Just hope the hype around Bam turns out better than Skal’s did last year…

    • UK Big Board Update
      9:41 pm July 8, 2017 Permalink

      (He’s also really butthurt his UL basketball team has to vacate 4 years of wins, two Final Fours, and a National Title. He’s so mad.) 😀

  2. Kat4Life
    4:19 pm July 8, 2017 Permalink

    I’ve been watching the USA – Canada game and Diallo has absolutely sucked……in every possible way…..horrible…horrible……pouting on the bench, poor shot selection, no defense, stupid fouls……he sure as hell doesn’t look like NBA timber to me (I’ve watched him 4 times)…..he’s an athletic guy that needs to learn how to play basketball…….looks like the USA goes home with NOTHING…….Diallo a big part of it too…..god I wanted to throw something through my TV watching that game……finally had to turn it off.

    • DelrayCat
      4:22 pm July 8, 2017 Permalink

      Dude..I totally agree. If he is the most “senior” of UK’s team, we are in much deeper trouble than I thought. The utter lack of defense played by kids at this age is to most serious cause for alarm. Apart from maybe Knox and Shai, who on next years team can even shoot? I was very optimistic, but watching these USA games has really lowered my expectations.

  3. BBNDan7
    4:23 pm July 8, 2017 Permalink

    ^Y’all need to chill. It’s July….

  4. BBNDan7
    4:25 pm July 8, 2017 Permalink

    There’s also only TWO of our players on that team so I don’t know how them having like one bad game in JULY lowered your expectations for the whole season and team. Jesus Christ y’all are the fans that make us look stupid

    • DelrayCat
      4:43 pm July 8, 2017 Permalink

      I admit to being a little quick to jump to conclusions. However, I do believe my assumption that we will have a very poor shooting team is correct. In reality, had Briscoe returned….he might have been the best shooter on the team. That is a scary thought.

    • BBNDan7
      4:49 pm July 8, 2017 Permalink

      It’s still July. We haven’t seen any of the team other than two guys actually play. You can teach shooting, you can’t teach raw athleticism

  5. Kat4Life
    6:35 pm July 8, 2017 Permalink

    I made the cardinal sin of typing while I was still outraged at the impossibly pathetic effort the USA squad had against a 17 year old Canadian stud and a group of marginal fill-ins…….obviously it was an over-reaction, but mark my words……Diallo is going to struggle…..Archie Goodwinish struggle…….wild drives with no plan, poor shots, many, many charges…….and not the best of attitudes……..just sayin’

  6. DelrayCat
    7:14 pm July 8, 2017 Permalink

    I think we all have to hope Gabriel shows up in beast mode this year and leads the team in scoring.
    However, Knox will probably assume that role nicely, providing Diallo doesn’t take 15 wild, double and triple teamed shots a game. On the positive side, I am confident Richards and Washington will both average near 10 rebounds a game. Also having such length down low should hopefully negate the pisspoor defense we will likely see on the perimeter.

    • UK Big Board Update
      9:14 pm July 8, 2017 Permalink

      “I think we all have to hope Gabriel shows up in beast mode this year and leads the team in scoring.”

      Okay, take a deep breath, splash some water on your face, and step away from the computer for awhile….

  7. henderblue
    8:20 pm July 8, 2017 Permalink

    ^What BBNDan7 said. Kat4Life get a grip. Good grief

  8. FroggyFrog
    8:36 pm July 8, 2017 Permalink

    In response to not finding a Marvin Bagley comparison, he reminds me A LOT of Chris Bosh. Both long, lean bodies with a great deal of bounce. Both are lefties who are terrific face up guys who can step out or put the ball on the floor.

  9. Angelo
    1:36 am July 9, 2017 Permalink

    Great work Nick!! Great info and analysis!

  10. ClutchCargo
    1:50 am July 9, 2017 Permalink

    Cal has had several weeks to bond with a couple of incoming freshmen and recruits. Having.been around the other players this summer at the camps, I think we’re fine.