Basketball is just around the corner!
We are still awaiting a finalized schedule for the Lexington Multi-Team Event, but we do know that the Wildcats will be playing on November 25, 27, & 29 in Rupp Arena against three teams. Former Kentucky Men’s Basketball staffer Preston Spradlin brings his Morehead State Eagles to Rupp Arena, John Calipari will go head-to-head with his son Brad Calipari and the Detroit Mercy Titans, and the Richmond Spiders bring an extremely veteran, Top 25 caliber team to face the ‘Cats.
As always, I’ll be providing full Scouting Reports for each team on gameday, but I wanted to go ahead and give a quick primer on these three teams that will be playing Rupp Arena THIS MONTH (yes, it is somehow November now)!!!
Morehead State Eagles
Coach Preston Spradlin lost his two leading scorers and starting point guard from last season’s team that finished with a 13-19 record. The return of Redshirt Junior Devon Cooper who was injured last season should help inject some additional talent into a team that desperately needs it. Point Guard Ta’lon Cooper was the Eagles’ most efficient perimeter player a year ago and will be called upon to play an even bigger role this season. Coach Spradlin has three transfers to add to the roster as well. Christian County graduate Jaylen Sebree comes back to the Bluegrass State after two seasons at Florida Atlantic and KJ Hunt Jr. is eligible after sitting out last season following his transfer from McNeese State. The Eagles, to my knowledge, are still awaiting an eligibility decision on Wright State transfer Skyelar Potter.
#0 Tyzhaun Claude: 6’8” 240 lbs, Sophomore
9.5 points per game, 6.4 rebounds per game. 59.7 FG%. Started 19 games as a Freshman.
#3 James Baker Jr.: 6’6” 205 lbs, Senior
9.1 points per game, 4.4 rebounds per game. One of the top shot blockers in the OVC.
Other Expected Contributors
#55 Ta’lon Cooper: 6’4” 190 lbs, Sophomore
7.0 points per game, 3.1 assists per game. Shot 38.8% from 3 (31/80).
#1 Devon Cooper: 6’4” 201 lbs, Redshirt Junior
Started all 33 games as a Sophomore. Received medical redshirt after playing five games last season. 8.8 points per game, 3.4 rebounds per game as a Sophomore.
#22 LJ Bryan: 6’9” 235 lbs, Junior
4.6 points per game, 3.3 rebounds per game. Started 13 games as a Sophomore.
#23 Jaylen Sebree: 6’7” 200 lbs, Junior
Transfer from Florida Atlantic. 3.6 points per game as a Sophomore at FAU. Former Kentucky Mr. Basketball Finalist at Christian County.
#2 KJ Hunt Jr.: 6’3” 170 lbs, Redshirt Junior
Transfer from McNeese State. Sat out last season due to transfer rules. 6.9 points per game as a Sophomore at McNeese State.
#5 Skyelar Potter: 6’3” 198 lbs, Junior
Transfer from Wright State. 6.4 points per game as a Sophomore, 5.8 points per game as a Freshman.
Detroit Mercy Titans
Led by last season’s fourth-leading scorer in the nation Antonio Davis, the Titans went 8-23 in 2019-2020. Playing for his father Mike Davis, Antonio Davis is one of two returning full-time starters on this squad. Detroit will rely on an influx of five transfers to improve their team from a year ago. Seton Hall Graduate Transfer Taurean Thompson headlines the group. Thompson scored 13 points and pulled down 6 rebounds in Seton Hall’s win over Kentucky at Madison Square Garden in 2018. Only Niagara transfer Noah Waterman has yet to be granted immediate eligibility.
#0 Antonio Davis: 6’1” 165 lbs, Junior
24.3 points per game, 4.5 assists per game. Shooting splits: 38%/32.4%/90.1%. Two time First Team All-Horizon League. Fourth leading scorer in the country last season and made the ninth most 3-pointers.
#21 Chris Brandon: 6’8” 212 lbs, Junior
6.3 points per game, 8.1 rebounds per game (3.1 offensive), 1.4 blocks per game. Jai Lucas’ cousin.
Other Expected Contributors
#4 Dwayne Rose Jr.: 6’4” 195 lbs, Senior
7.3 points per game. Derrick Rose’s nephew. Made eight starts last season, including the final seven games of the season.
#41 Willy Isiani: 6’8” 230 lbs, Junior
4.9 points per game. 3.3 rebounds per game. Started 15 games, including the final five games of the season.
#12 Brad Calipari: 6’0” 180 lbs, Graduate Student
6.1 points per game. Started six games and played in 27. 38% from 3 (led team).
#15 Taurean Thompson: 6’11” 245 lbs, Graduate Transfer
4.6 points per game, 2.3 rebounds per game at Seton Hall. 13 points and six rebounds in win over Kentucky.
#25 Marquell Fraser: 6’5” 200 lbs, Graduate Transfer
7.1 points per game, 3.9 rebounds per game at Idaho over two seasons. Started 13 games.
#13 Matt Johnson: 6’4” 180 lbs, Senior
Played in 22 games with one start last year at St. Bonaventure.
#10 Bul Kuol: 6’7” 205 lbs, Graduate Transfer
5.6 points per game, 3.1 rebounds per game last season at Cal Baptist. Played in 91 games with 39 starts in career at Cal Baptist.
#1 Noah Waterman: 6’11” 210 lbs, Redshirt Freshman
7.0 points per game, 3.3 rebounds per game in seven games at Niagara last season. Missed remainder of the season with an injury. Still awaiting immediate eligibility decision.
Right out of the gate this season Kentucky will go up against one of the most, if not the most, veteran teams in the country. Richmond’s expected starting five includes 439 games played and 328 starts, and that isn’t including Nick Sherod who suffered a season-ending right knee injury. The Spiders will run a traditional Princeton offense and that style of play is especially effective with guys that have run it consistently in the past. This team features three All-A10 performers from a year ago and Richmond went 24-7 last year including a 14-4 mark in the Atlantic 10 Conference. There will be plenty more coverage on Richmond specifically moving forward, but just know this team is really, really good.
#1 Blake Francis: 6’0” 175 lbs, Graduate Student
17.7 points per game. 66/182 from 3-point range. Second Team All-A10.
#33 Grant Golden: 6’10” 255 lbs, Graduate Student
13.4 points per game, 6.9 rebounds per game, 3.4 assists per game. 3x All-A10 (2x Second Team, 1x Third Team). 1,472 career points, 12th most among active players.
#0 Jacob Gilyard: 5’9” 160 lbs, Senior
12.7 points per game, 5.7 assists per game, 3.2 steals per game (led NCAA). Most career steals in NCAA among active players.
#4 Nathan Cayo: 6’7” 225 lbs, Senior
8.9 points per game, 5.3 rebounds per game.
Expected Fifth Starter
#22 Andre Gustavson: 6’4” 195 lbs, Junior
4.4 points per game. Started six games last season.
Additional Team Information
- Only lost rotation player from last season is Jake Wojcik who transferred to Fairfield.
- Scored 75.3 points per game last season and held opponents to 66.8 points per game.
- Shot 36.2% from 3-point range while holding opponents to a 30.5% clip.
- Shot 77.6% from the Free Throw line.