Ah, the Blue-White Scrimmage. It’s that inevitable time of the year when fans get a generally unrealistic view of what this basketball team will be. Why? Not because you don’t see the talent oozing out of the guys. Of course you can see that. But when scrimmaging against your teammates, you really don’t see how a team will gel together. Take 2013 and 2014. The 2013 team, with freshman Harrisons, Randle, Young, and Co. had tons of talent. But that team never really gelled until March. You couldn’t tell that during the Blue-White game. Then the next year, with many of the same players, that team played perfect together. Also not able to tell that during the blue-white game.
Take a look back at all the Calipari Blue-White games and then consider how that scrimmage ended up (or not) giving us an insight into what the season would become:
2009: BOX SCORE
-Well, we found out real quick that John Wall was going to be something special. 25 points and 11 assists while playing 39 of 40 minutes. If there were any doubts Patterson would have any trouble in the Calipari system were smashed as he poured in 24 points and 8 boards while shooting 11 for 15. Demarcus Cousins and Darius Miller were both solid but not standouts. How about that sharpshooter Ramon Harris? Led the team by hitting 4 three-pointers in just 5 attempts. And what about our boy Jon Hood? Took the 2nd most shots in the game, a whopping 21 attempts for Hood.
2010: BOX SCORE
-Brandon Knight scored 37 points, Terrence Jones scored 29, Darius Miller scored 20. This game was a very good preview of what that team would become. Also, don’t forget that was the game Josh Harrellson pulled down 26 boards and got in trouble for it after the game.
2011: BOX SCORE
-A total of 182 shots were put up in this game, so defense was not exactly the name of the game. But Terrence Jones put up the greatest Blue-White exhibition we’ve ever seen with 52 points and 16 rebounds, thinking he might be 1st team All-American potential. Jones ended up not earning those honors, it was clear his game had gone up another notch from his freshman year. Anthony Davis scored 27, Wiltjer 27, Lamb 31, and Miller 24. Hard to find too many guys who didn’t play well, at least on offense.
2012: BOX SCORE
-A game dominated by guards and wings, Nerlens Noel only scored 9 points in this scrimmage. Archie Goodwin led all scorers with 32, while Wiltjer scored 28 and Poythress 25. Of the 138 shots attempted, only 18 were attempted by Noel and Cauley-Stein. Of course, this actually was an accurate portrayal that UK was going to struggle on offense in the post for the season. And the guards would tend to love to shoot.
2013: BOX SCORE
-Who was the star coming out of this game? Maybe Derek Willis. His 21 points were certainly a surprise to many fans and gave hope he would be a major impact on that team. Didn’t turn out that way. Julius Randle showed his ability in the post and the Harrison’s showed flashes of what people thought they were going to be. 40-0 talk was not squashed after watching that game.
2014: BOX SCORE
This game actually was a decent portrayal of that team, with balanced scoring and the Harrisons/Towns leading the way. Weird stat from that game was Devin Booker went 9-11 of the field, and those 2 misses were the only 2 threes he put up in the game.
So, you now have 7 examples of Blue-White scrimmages during Calipari’s tenure at UK. What do you think? Do you gain much about how good this team might be? Or is it just a chance to see the guys on the floor and we won’t know until real competition begins?