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Skal’s Slow Start Places Him In Elite Company

As our fearless leader Matt Jones has said, the two most important days in your career are your first day on the job and your last day on the job. So often in life your last impression ends up being your lasting impression and that fact is especially is true in the world of sports. When you think of Anthony Davis the image of a lob-slamming, shot-blocking superstar comes to mind but that wasn’t what we had in early 2011. Cal’s centers have a pretty solid track record of taking adjusting from high school stud to playing a role in the offense. Need proof? Just look at these stats from two number one picks:

Anthony Davis

Penn State: 3 points, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks

North Carolina: 7 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks

Indiana: 6 points, 9 rebounds, 3 blocks.

It can be easy to forget that the best player to ever play at this school had to go through some freshman growing pains but it is true. Way back in the early goings of the 2011-12 season the team relied on the returning Doron Lamb and Terrence Jones to shoulder the load. The result was some pretty pedestrian numbers from UK’s future superstar. It wasn’t until late December that AD made the leap. He came 4 blocks away from a triple double against Louisville and would put up stellar numbers for the remainder of the season.

Karl-Anthony Towns

Boston: 3 points, 5 rebounds.

Columbia: 6 points, 3 rebounds, 3 blocks.

North Carolina: 2 points, 2 rebounds, 1 block.

As Gary Parrish mentioned in his article on Friday, Karl Towns took some time to get going as well and UK fans were quick to overreact. Just check out these tweets from UK’s trip to South Carolina in late January:

Lesson learned: give these kids some time to adjust before you make grand pronouncements about their future. Towns would  break out in February and go on to have an incredible season. One number one pick later and he’s one of the most beloved Cats of all time.

Skal Labissiere

Duke: 7 points, 4 rebounds, 1 block.

Illinois State: 2 points, 2 rebounds, 1 block.

UCLA: 6 points, 1 rebound, 2 blocks.

In Skal’s other 5 games this season he’s averaging 16 points, 5 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks. That’s higher a offensive output through the first eight games than either Anthony Davis or Karl-Anthony Towns.

Skal may take longer to adjust to the college game because he hasn’t played a full season of basketball in over a year. Last year his prep school had a schedule of just 15 games and that wasn’t against what I would describe as elite competition. The bottom line is that a 19 year kid is going to require patience in order to learn the timing and physicality to be a good rebounder and shot-blocker. And that time it takes to develop places Skal in some pretty elite company.



Article written by Andrew Cassady

Follow me @ACassady_KSR

18 Comments for Skal’s Slow Start Places Him In Elite Company

  1. UKBlue1
    9:57 pm December 4, 2015 Permalink

    We should all stop comparing players especially past players against current players ya know because they are all different. Skal only has a couple of years of actual basketball experience so this kid is more than likely a project.

    • Long Dong Silver
      8:42 am December 5, 2015 Permalink

      I agree. You have to think, he missed his whole Junior season of high school, and last year he basically played 15 games against church league teams. His offensive game makes you think he’s farther along as a player than he really is. I think he needs to work on his legs. He’s got some muscle on his arms. His legs are the problem. He needs some work to be able to hold his position. The new officiating still allows a wrestling match in the paint.

  2. Big Meech
    10:23 pm December 4, 2015 Permalink

    Thank you for a post that will bring some of these bridge jumpers off the ledge. Skal is fine. We are going to be right back where we were the last few years. Another final 4 is on the way

  3. Kyblue34
    10:33 pm December 4, 2015 Permalink

    Big difference is AD and KAT did other things to help the team when they weren’t scoring the ball like playing defense and not allowing easy layups, deflecting passes, diving on the floor for loose balls, passing the ball to open shooters, setting solid screens, etc. I don’t see Skal really making much effort to do many of these things right now. I’m less concerned about how much he scores than his overall effort. Hopefully he wakes up soon, and actually starts playing.

    • UK Big Board Update
      11:20 pm December 4, 2015 Permalink

      Face it – this post makes you, and others like you, look stupid.

    • Long Dong Silver
      8:54 am December 5, 2015 Permalink

      Big Board, why do always get on here acting like an ass and jumping on folks? You’re a coward, and a child molester. We’ve already established that. You call everyone a troll, but it’s obvious you are the troll. KyBlue didn’t say anything crazy, or even negative. Yet, here you are, insulting them. You truly must be a small and miserable person.

    • KTower
      11:05 am December 5, 2015 Permalink


      Thank you for another insightful, thought provoking post. Your use of flowery language is second to none.


    • Long Dong Silver
      11:10 am December 5, 2015 Permalink

      Ktower, and I thought you didn’t care! You love me too much. You tease.

    • UK Big Board Update
      11:34 am December 5, 2015 Permalink

      LMAO…. You’re gonna ave to do better than that. Accusing someone of being a child molester only makes YOU look all the more retarded…

      As if the name Long Dong Silver didn’t…. You seem like the truckstop-bathroom-artist type.

    • Long Dong Silver
      11:53 am December 5, 2015 Permalink

      You are a child molester. I ran your background. You are a registered sex offender. People on here know about you. You cowardly bully.

    • UK Big Board Update
      12:36 pm December 5, 2015 Permalink

      Okay, kid.

    • Long Dong Silver
      12:38 pm December 5, 2015 Permalink

      Yes. Indeed.

    • syrin23
      1:37 pm December 5, 2015 Permalink

      His effort concerns me too. He had a moment when he caught a pass in the post, faked right, turned left and did a running left handed hook shot like it was as easy as breathing. There are only a handful of people in college basketball who could have made that shot. Then on the other end, he stands there watching a shot get taken and makes no effort to get the rebound, just stood there taking pictures.

  4. girl wildcat fan
    10:48 pm December 4, 2015 Permalink

    I love Skal and think he will be fine. Everyone needs to lay off the criticism.

  5. Badboy
    9:17 am December 5, 2015 Permalink

    Skal doesn’t have the bulk to be effective. He will be pushed around all year.

  6. Stopover
    10:14 am December 5, 2015 Permalink

    Poor comparison. Skal is totally lacking physically. Even if Cal could find his mean streak, Skal will still be a weakling that gets sand kicked in his face.

  7. BBNloutolex
    10:49 am December 5, 2015 Permalink

    Anyone with eyes can see Skal is not in the same stratosphere as those guys. Why don’t we take out Anthony’s and Karl’s bad games, too? Like we did for Skal? I wonder how close their statistics are then? Not to mention the fact that Karl’s minutes were hamstrung as a result of having a ridiculous amount of front court talent and depth.

  8. syrin23
    1:34 pm December 5, 2015 Permalink

    Two games of 9 rebounds against top flight competition is not a “slow start”