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Pikeville College at Kentucky: After Action Report

What a load of fun that was.  Yes, the game was a blowout, but it sure is nice to watch college basketball again after a long summer layoff.  The much-anticipated debut of Billy Gillispie and almost equally anticipated debut of Patrick Patterson is in the books.  Did it live up to hype?  I would have to say it pretty much did, inasmuch as I'm feeling very satisfied this morning with the progress the team is making.  FYI, the link for the team statistics is here.

I'm going to take a look at each player who played, and give you my impressions.  I invite everyone to add theirs in the comments below, I would love to see them.  The letter grade is not a reflection on how they should be playing, but how they played last night compared with my expectations, which will rise as the season goes on.  OK, here goes:

Billy Gillispie

I have watched a number of TAMU games, so what I saw from Gillispie on the sidelines was what I expected to see.  I was very pleased to see his assistant coaches active in the coaching process, that was one aspect of Tubby Smith's tenure that I am happy to see continued with Gillispie.  Overall, I was impressed with Gillispie's "hands on" approach to coaching.  I hate to say it, but he reminded me very much of Rick Pitino as he coaches now, not as he coached when he was at UK.  Grade:  A

Ramel Bradley

Ramel played 33 minutes and scored 15 total points on 3-5 shooting and 9-9 from the line with 5 rebounds.  That's right, Ramel only shot the basketball 5 total times.  And had 9 (!) assists and 5 turnovers.  Now, that turnover number is a little high, but one less and he is at better than 2-1 assist/TO ratio that is the gold standard for measuring success in college point guards.

Ramel showed exactly the leadership we had hoped for.  To me, he was one of the high points of the game, because his play was unselfish and very consistent.  He made a couple of mistakes that we all hope will be eliminated soon (like getting stripped at mid-court late in the game), but Ramel is on his way to a very successful season at the lead guard position.  Grade:  A

Joe Crawford

Joe didn't start, and I thought he might sulk.  He didn't.  In fact, he showed me the kind of maturity that makes me think I'll be eating crow about my earlier comments by the time this season is over.  I hope so, because nothing would make me happier than to see Joe Crawford have an all-SEC year.  Joe did what a shooting guard should do -- shoot the ball, and he shot it very well 6-10 overall and 3-5 from long range.

But it was the little things that Crawford did that made me happy, and will please the coach -- 4 assists, only two TO's, and two steals which tied him for a team high in that statistic.  The only thing I can find fault with Joe for is his rebounding -- he should be getting more than 1, and we see now why he didn't start -- he isn't in game condition yet off the injury.  Grade:  A

Jodie Meeks

What can I say?  Most of us around the BBN have said all along that this kid will be a star, and 34 points on 10-12 shooting, 7-9 from 3 -- those are star numbers, baby.  Not only that, almost all of his shots were wide open looks within the offense.  He added a couple of assists, a steal, only one turnover and a couple of blocks.  No rebounds mars what would otherwise be a perfect performance.  Grade:  A (Note: tempted to give him an A+, but zero rebounds is just unacceptable).

Patrick Patterson

Delivered exactly what I expected.  Those were the quietest 21 points I can ever remember a player of his profile putting up.  He isn't flashy, but he is extremely effective.  Team leading 9 rebounds actually leaves me thinking he could have done more.  Grade:  A

Perry Stevenson

Perry did exactly what we would have expected, also.  Unfortunately, Perry's bugaboo still seems to be ballhandling, turning the ball over 4 times is just too much.  Great job defensively, but only 6 rebounds leaves me feeling unsatisfied.  His confidence is a little low and needs boosting.  Grade:  B

Mark Coury

I think what we got from Mark is what we can expect most of the season -- effort, but much of it won't show on the box score.  I would have expected more than two rebounds out of Mark, I think he can do much more.  Made a couple of nice plays.  Grade:  B-

Alex Legion

Legion looked less polished than I would expect from so highly ranked a player.  Took a really bad shot early and produced little but a couple of steals and a couple of assists.  More is needed from him, but it was his first game in a UK uniform.  Grade:  C

Michael Porter

Not many minutes from Porter in a reserve role, but he showed his usual good judgment.  I would have liked to have seen more of him.  Grade:  B-

AJ Stewart

AJ is, as we have all heard for some time, raw.  But the kid brings energy to the floor, even though he seemingly has no idea what to do with it.  But I love guys that get down on the floor after the basketball, and AJ has an awesome motor.  He is going to be a great 6th man someday.  Grade:  B

Ramon Harris

I truly loved the energy and athleticism Ramon brings to the floor.  He didn't shoot the ball much, but boy, did he ever defend.  He had 4 assists and 2 steals, and I really like what he brings to the floor.  His performance was marred by 5 nasty turnovers, but overall, he could become a real "glue" guy for the team going forward.  Grade:  B-

Dwight Perry

I still see him as a victory cigar, and he did what victory cigars are supposed to do -- come in and smoke a three.  Grade:  A


The team played with a lot of raw energy and poor execution, but the upgrade in talent is obvious.  The Cats are much more athletic than last year thanks to the subtraction of Morris, and that allowed us to run up and down the floor with gusto.  Of course, that subtraction also cost us a significant post presence, a ton of points and rebounds.

Obviously, Kentucky turned the ball over too much, allowed too many offensive rebounds and didn't really rebound the ball very well at all, even though we were bigger and stronger than our opponents.  Our young front court is going to be our biggest vulnerability early in the season, and that showed up tonight.

I was disappointed in the second half.  It seemed we came out strong but faded, and I don't like to see us finish games that way.  I also was unhappy not to see a bit of Williams and Carter (that tiny minute Carter played is not even worthy of notice), but Gillispie has the right to play who he wants without my criticism, at least for now.  This was an exhibition game, after all, and really nothing more than a glorified practice.  Effort:  A  Execution:  B  Overall:  B+