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How the Kentucky Commits Fared in the McDonald’s All-American Game


The 40th McDonald’s All-American Game ended with the Cats on the losing end.  Kevin Knox and Mo Bamba helped chip away at the late lead to make it a two-point game with 20 seconds to play, but alongside the four UK commits on the East Team, they couldn’t get the final bucket to tie the game at the buzzer.

Statistically, Quade Green had the best performance of the four commits, finishing with 9 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds.  However, he had a bad shooting game (4-12), missing his first four threes before knocking down one in transition.

“I was going to keep shooting regardless.  It doesn’t really matter,” Green said.  What mattered is that his team lost after winning the scrimmage earlier in the week.  “We lost.  I wanted to win the game.  I don’t care how many times I shot the ball, I just wanted to win.”

The most efficient Cat was Washington, who had 7 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals in just 15 minutes of action.  Washington had a few good dunks, but he was at his best running the break off defensive rebounds.

The other two Wildcats, Nick Richards and Jarred Vanderbilt, struggled to get into a rhythm.  For most of the second half they had four fouls, limiting the two to one combined field goal attempt.

Calipari’s final two targets, Bamba and Knox, played exceptionally well.  Knox hit 7-of-11 shots for 15 points and Bamba completely dominated the first half with 11 points and 3 blocks in 12 minutes.  More from tonight’s all-star game:

Vanderbilt Ain’t Mad

Even though he was forced to the sideline for most of the second half in foul trouble, he has no regrets.  “My team wasn’t getting back, and I don’t like just giving up free points,” Vanderbilt said.  “I’d rather give a foul and make hem earn it from the free throw line.  That’s my motto.”

Vanderbilt was arguably the best player on the floor during yesterday’s practice, but attempted zero field goals today.  Getting shunned in the spotlight would bother most, but not Vanderbilt.

“I knew guys were going to be reaching for points.  It’s an all-star game.  Everybody’s reaching for MVP.  It really wasn’t that important to me.  I feel like I did my work throughout the whole week.  I just try to let the game come to me, instead of trying to force it.”

Being unselfish is something he will take to Kentucky and will play an important part in next year’s team.

“Especially in a world where everybody’s trying to get buckets, get buckets, get buckets, I like to have a balance.  Go and get some buckets, but also distributing and try to get everyone involved to keep everybody happy,” Vanderbilt added.  “Keeping everybody involved, that’s very important.”

Mo Bamba was Hilarious

His sense of humor has been my favorite part of the week.  The 7-footer’s sarcasm combined with a deadpan delivery creates gold.  Tonight he had three hilarious moments in the press room.

1. The reporter’s asked the players if they knew it was going to be a bad shooting night at the United Center.  After the others responded, Bamba added, “I missed two threes, and I’m not used to missing threes.”

2. Michael Porter was asked if being a vegetarian helps him on the court. When he was finished speaking, Bamba interjected, “Wasn’t you eating a hotdog yesterday?”

3. A kid reporter had not one but two questions (and surprisingly a journalist didn’t have an aneurism). The second question: “I plan on playing in this game in 2022, do you have any advice?” Bamba: “Keep that confidence.”

Love for Mo

Bamba had plenty of highlights in the first half, but this might have been the best.

After one thunderous dunk, ESPN went to a TV timeout.  Bamba was immediately embraced by the four Kentucky commits on the sideline, another attempt to convince Bamba to come to Kentucky.

“We’re trying to get Mo so we had to do everything the best we could,” Quade Green said after the game.  “We’re trying to get Mo.  I don’t care if he fell on the floor, I’m going to run on the court and pick him up.”

Vanderbilt knows how much of an impact Bamba could make next year in Lexington.

“We need that.  Bamba was very impressive this weekend, this whole week actually.  He’s great.  He defends the basket well.  He finishes.  He’s everything you want in a big man.  We’re showing our love and he hears us.”

Washington has No Time to Rest

P.J. Washington only played a few minutes, because he has serious minutes to play tomorrow.  He’s flying out of Chicago at 4:00 a.m. to head to the Dick’s Sporting Goods National Basketball Tournament.  At 2:00 ET his Findlay Prep team will take on Oak Hill Academy.  The game can be streamed on Watch ESPN. Everything Washington said after the game:

Article written by Nick Roush

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

16 Comments for How the Kentucky Commits Fared in the McDonald’s All-American Game

  1. Kevin C
    11:04 pm March 29, 2017 Permalink

    Oh well, if they’re gonna play for UK, they might as well get used to getting whistled for fouls.

  2. chris43
    11:47 pm March 29, 2017 Permalink

    If Bam, GABRIEL, and Humphries end up staying and we’re lucky enough to snag Bamba and Knox they’ll have to make someone transfer. Hopefully that’s Wynard. Humphries has his moments and I truly think he’ll be a solid player the next two years. Killeya Jones finally started to deal with the knee pain and practice so hopefully he’ll stick around because the potential is there. If Bam stays and we get Bamba and Knox….watch out! We should be an extremely tough out next year.

    • catsarerunnin
      7:32 am March 30, 2017 Permalink

      Oh I hope so because we haven’t won a title since way back in ought12…..

    • cking
      8:46 am March 30, 2017 Permalink

      We won’t Get Bamba if Bam stays…Knox is going to NC or Duke.

      We already have 4 forwards and 2 centers for next year…

    • TBW3011
      9:17 am March 30, 2017 Permalink

      Bam isn’t staying, but if he did, it has no impact on Bamba. Bam would play his real position, the 4 and Bamba starts at the 5

  3. SamKat83
    8:16 am March 30, 2017 Permalink

    I watched some, but the game presenters don’t realize that the nation doesn’t recognize any or many of these wonderful high school players. I believe it tis terrible that they have only talking heads presenting their ideas while the game is going on.

    I don’t think these national championships are getting easier to come by ‘catsarerunnin’. Given all of the coverage and the higher levels of competition all over this country (did I say world), so many tall foreigners are making it a world championship here in the USA.

    I also really liked the 2016/2017 Wildcats and felt the Ninth was a strong possibility. Go

    • CatBlue in LR
      12:38 pm March 30, 2017 Permalink

      ESPN has been taking this approach to calling these all-star games for several years now, and I’ve commented on it in years past. Drives me freakin’ crazy. It’s obviously a conscious strategy. The only thing I can figure out is they think identifying who does what in the game interrupts the flow of their ongoing conversation and would be distracting. Their conversation is what’s distracting to me. I want to know who these guys are!

  4. cking
    8:16 am March 30, 2017 Permalink

    I wasn’t really impressed with the recruits…
    Green looked OK…Sexton looked like he was on another level.

    Maybe they will perform better in the Jordan Game…

    Next year is going to be a down one compared to what we are used to…

    • Tylerwatson50
      8:51 am March 30, 2017 Permalink

      I like how you have no confidence in the team based on a glorified AAU game no one cares about, and before they even have a chance to get on campus and practice.

  5. Jiminy Crickets
    8:35 am March 30, 2017 Permalink

    Looks like we’re replacing the top 8-9 in our rotation with 4 above average HS guys, and our “experience” will be Issac, Gabriel and Diallo. I’d say with Knox and bamba we will be top 10, without those 2 it will be a long year. I’m still not convinced Issac comes back.

  6. winagain1
    8:44 am March 30, 2017 Permalink

    I’m ok with the kids coming in next year not being one and done. I’m ok with one and done stars too, however the kids coming in seem to really be generally excited about U.K. and are really trying to get Bamba and Knox to come join in on the experience. They might be much less talented than what we are used to, but in a few years I believe we will looking back and be glad we have/had them.

  7. secrick
    8:57 am March 30, 2017 Permalink

    Shaun Sutton won the MVP in an all star game back in his day. Does that tell you anything about a All Star game. CATARERUNNIN, The cards haven’t won one since 1986 so 2012 doesn’t sound that bad to me. No 2013 doesn’t count its going.

  8. TBW3011
    9:19 am March 30, 2017 Permalink

    This class is weak. Hardly any game changers. Just a down year in general for incoming freshman. Last year was loaded with studs.

  9. CatBlue in LR
    12:46 pm March 30, 2017 Permalink

    Judging by that game alone, next year pretty much rests on Bamba’s shoulders. Even with him I’m not sure we go in as the SEC favorite. (I’m not considering Bam coming back because I don’t think there’s a chance of that.) It’d be nice to have Knox, too, but that’s less of a possibility from what I’m reading. Plus, the way he plays, he just looks like a Dukie. His game is very similar to that of Tatum and Parker. Love to have him, though.

  10. CatBlue in LR
    12:56 pm March 30, 2017 Permalink

    Green has just not impressed me that much when I’ve seen him. (The only other time was last summer when he went head-to-head with Trae Young, when Young was considered UK’s top guard target. Young out-played him then.) What bothers me more than Quade’s 4-12 from the floor was his seven turnovers. He had a good night delivering the ball, but his seven assists were offset by seven turnovers. Compare that to the Alabama kid who, despite gratuitous flashiness with the ball, had seven assists and only three turnovers.

  11. Luether
    6:24 pm March 30, 2017 Permalink

    Nick, you failed to mention that Quade Green led both teams with an astounding seven (7) turnovers – most unforced. By Ky standards, I thought he played like crap – everything considered.

    There will be a big drop off at the point next year compared to what Fox and Ulis brought to the table…