Kentucky held their third-annual Pro Day tonight, where scouts from all 30 NBA teams were in attendance.
We have all of the initial reactions you need.
Seth Greenberg said PJ Washington reminded him of an old-school Calipari player from the UMass days. His teammates told KSR back in the player interviews that his nickname in practice is Charles Barkley, and we definitely saw the resemblance tonight. He’s an extremely powerful and explosive athlete, will be a bully on the inside and on the glass. There was one drive and score in particular that made the announcers rave about him. He’s an early fan-favorite.
Hamidou Diallo is one of the most ridiculous athletes I’ve ever seen. In every drill, Diallo showed off his hops, agility, or pure speed, and no one came close in any of those departments. Be prepared for some #SCTop10 plays this year. Also, Diallo’s shot issues are completely blown out of proportion. He’s not going to be the best shooter on the team, but he will absolutely knock them down when he’s open.
Calipari downplayed Diallo’s time in practice against Fox and Monk last season because he didn’t have to give it his all knowing he wasn’t getting in the game. Now, he tells his star guard he has to “double down” in practice to make up for it.“I’m having to get on him now about every drill matters. And every shot matters and you’ve got to be more consistent in your workouts. And when it doesn’t go right, you’ve got to come back and double down. ”
“I’m having to get on him now about every drill matters,” he said. “And every shot matters and you’ve got to be more consistent in your workouts. And when it doesn’t go right, you’ve got to come back and double down. ”
Gilgeous-Alexander is going to be a sneaky stud this year. He’s extremely wiry on offense and defense, slips through defenders with ease, and is a tireless worker. Calipari kept talking about his 7-foot wingspan and how much of a pest he is on defense, and it was evident. I don’t believe he’s going to be a knockdown shooter or put up a huge number of points per game, but I can see a guard version of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in the making.
Gabriel isn’t the same player as he was last season. He’s extremely comfortable dribbling the ball, his shot falling much easier, and he doesn’t ever look lost like he seemed to be last year. We weren’t able to see his weight gain put to use as much, but there is a definite improvement. We saw him dominate against LSU last year, and I believe those kind of performances will not be out of the ordinary this season. Effort has never been a problem, but his consistency will determine his ability to be good or great.
Knox settles for jump shots a little too often, but they fall at a solid rate. Calipari commented on this, saying he’s been pushing for him to drive to the basket more. He looked comfortable dribbling the ball, and the guard skills are absolutely real. At times, it’s hard to believe he’s a legit 6’9 guard, but it’s absolutely true. Once he learns to use his size to his advantage, I don’t know how anyone in the country will be able to stop him.
Calipari said he didn’t want Quade Green to be compared to Tyler Ulis because he’s a once in a lifetime player, but I think the similarities are there. Extremely vocal, smooth handles, plays like a veteran already. He made a few silly turnovers, but they can be certainly cleaned up. His jump shot looked smooth and he was comfortable taking them under pressure.
He’s extremely raw on offense, but we saw his athletic potential. The Willie Cauley-Stein comparisons were discussed, and I definitely see it already. When the defense focuses on Kentucky’s star guards and forwards, Richards will be wide open for alley-oops all day long. He’ll be a tenacious rebounder, as well. Those two aspects of his game come naturally to him.
SKJ is incredibly smooth with the ball in his hands, making some effortless baskets in drills. He reminds me a lot of Trey Lyles, mid-range jumper and all. I may be in the minority here, but I believe a spike in playing time and production is inevitable for the sophomore big man.
Five Wildcats measured with wingspans of 7’0 or more, with Nick Richards leading the team at 7’5.
PJ Washington measured in at 6’6, which is a bit smaller than originally announced. His wingspan of 7’3 makes up for it, though.
To no one’s surprise, Hamidou Diallo led the team in max-vertical drill. We haven’t gotten an official number yet, but it was way above the rim.
Brad Calipari hit 67 threes in five minutes, Wenyen Gabriel hit 66 in the drill.
Jemarl Baker did not participate with a knee injury.
Tai Wynyard suffered a minor undisclosed injury, and didn’t participate for the remainder of the event.
Jarred Vanderbilt will be out for three months, so he just took it all in on the sideline.