This afternoon Kentucky and Auburn face off for the first time since Trayvon Reed and Tyler Ulis went at it in the SEC Tournament championship game last year. Lucky for Reed, he is not playing this year, so, the obvious question is: who should the Cats focus on in today’s game?
The answer to that: Kareem Canty. The junior guard out of Harlem, NY has quickly become Auburn’s front man since transferring from Marshall and sitting out last season. So, here are five things to know about him:
He does the Shabazz Napier step back
I don’t know about you all, but I think I will forever be scarred from watching Shabazz Napier hit one after another in the 2014 national championship game against UCONN. Napier’s step back caused problems for the Kentucky defense all night, and, well, Canty has the same step back. I realize that this isn’t the same team from that game (except for Marcus Lee and Alex Poythress) and Napier was a first round pick that year, but the Cats are going to have to be on guard in order to keep Canty from repeating Napier’s process.
He plays considerably more minutes than anyone else
So far this season, Canty is averaging 33.8 minutes a game; about four more than the rest of the Auburn squad. This means that Kentucky will not be able easily wear him out. He has the ability to go almost a full game, just like Tyler Ulis, which means they’ll have to stay on top of him for 40 minutes.
He (probably) Stole Briscoe’s mouthpiece
Canty loves to post game photos of himself on Instagram. In almost every single one of those photos you can see his mouthpiece hanging out of his mouth. What’s weird is that all of those photos have been posted since the disappearance of Briscoe’s mouthpiece. So did he steal it? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t count him out.
He’s fourth in the SEC for points per game
Canty shoots 41% from field-goal range and is averaging .9 more points than Jamal Murray. He’s Auburn’s primary offensive threat with a team-high 18.5 points per game. Bruce Pearl refers to Canty his primary playmaker.
Doron Lamb follows him on Twitter
Doron Lamb’s Twitter is simultaneously both a source of inspiration and comedy. He’s easily become one of my favorite follows over the years (along with Papa Brooks) and for whatever reason, he follows Canty on Twitter. I don’t know if Doron Lamb just likes to keep up with SEC point guards, but it’s whatever floats his boat, I guess??