Another season of Kentucky basketball is over, and although it didn’t end as we all had hoped, there were some fun moments. Before we move on to the 2018-19 squad, let’s honor this season’s best performances.
Best Single Game Performance: Wenyen Gabriel, SEC Tournament semifinal
Who would have predicted that Wenyen Gabriel would turn in the best three-point performance of the John Calipari era? Wenyen’s perfect 7-7 mark from beyond the arc vs. Georgia was an SEC Tournament record. Seeing Wenyen own the spotlight was easily one of the highlights of the season.
Runner up: Kevin Knox, West Virginia
Knox scored 34 points (19 in the second half) to lead Kentucky back from a 15-point halftime deficit to beat No. 7 West Virginia in Morgantown. Knox was 5-8 from three-point range and 7-8 from the free-throw line in a performance that showed just how dangerous Kentucky could be when he’s dialed in.
Best Face: PJ Washington
You know PJ Washington is feeling good when he puts on his mean mug. PJ’s stank face/snark — often accompanied by a flex — became his trademark in the last month of the season, with his teammates teasing that he even makes it in practice.
Runner up: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
Shai is the captain of funny facial expressions, and this picture by our photographer Dr. Mike will go down as one of my all-time favorites.
Best Accessory: Quade Green’s glasses
After getting poked in the eye, Quade Green was forced to wear protective Oakleys, giving a young team a much-needed boost of swag and personality. Once Green’s eye healed, he stopped wearing them, which is truly unfortunate because they were awesome.
Runner up: John Calipari’s pullover
Kentucky’s trip to Morgantown was fun for many reasons, one being seeing Calipari coach in a pullover instead of a suit, an homage to his friend Bob Huggins. Given Kentucky’s impressive comeback, maybe Cal should wear those more often.
Best Dunk: Hamidou Diallo vs. Buffalo
After struggling most of the season, Hamidou Diallo broke out in a big way in Kentucky’s win over Buffalo. This dunk says it all:
Runner up: Sacha Killeya-Jones vs. Davidson
Two days earlier, Sacha Killeya-Jones put the exclamation mark on a series of strong performances with this alley-oop from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, a dunk so good it made a Kentucky band member go viral:
Toss it up, throw it down! pic.twitter.com/hG1T0Mk39f
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 16, 2018
Best Celebration: Hayden Hooper
You didn’t think that’s all we’d say about the flex and dab, did you? Hayden Hooper is a household name now thanks to his celebration after Sacha Killeya-Jones’ dunk. Thankfully, he’s only a sophomore.
Runner up: Shhhhhhhai Gilgeous-Alexander
Normally very reserved, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander couldn’t help but silence a pro-Buffalo crowd after a big three.
Best Game: Tennessee, SEC Championship
Kentucky’s win over Tennessee for the SEC Championship gets my nod for best game of the season. Not only did the Cats avenge their two losses to the Vols earlier that season, the win featured another monster performance from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who earned SEC Tournament MVP honors.
Runner up: Louisville
The West Virginia game was more entertaining, but beating your rival by 29 points always deserves a spot on lists like this.