Welcome to our first preview of the official college basketball season. Because it’s the very first game of the season, this particular preview will be somewhat limited in scope, as we have no meaningful statistics to analyze. The game tonight is the Kentucky Wildcats versus the Grand Canyon Antelopes from the WAC.
Tonight’s game is the first of a new tournament named the Cawood Ledford Classic, a newly-named event in honor of the famous former Kentucky Wildcats broadcaster. The tournament will include tonights game against Grand Canyon University, Sunday’s game against Buffalo, and games played between Noverber 23rd and November 30th with Montana State, UT Arlington, and Providence. There is a break between November 18-21st where Kentucky will compete in the Champions Classic against Kansas and Boston University.
About Grand Canyon University:
- Location: Phoenix, AZ
- Founded: 1949
- Enrollment: 11,000
- Nickname: Antelopes
- Colors: Purple/Black/white
- Head coach: Dan Majerle (since 2013, former Phoenix Sun)
- Conference: Western Athletic Conference (WAC)
Grand Canyon is a newly-minted Division I school, transitioning first from NAIA in the early 1990’s, then to Division II, where it competed until last season.
Season so far for Grand Canyon
The ‘Lopes have won their only exhibition game against Western New Mexico, an NCAA Division II school, 74-47.
Series history for Grand Canyon with Kentucky
This will be the first ever game between the Antelopes and the Wildcats.
|Record last season:||15-15||29-11|
|Kenpom rank 2014:||241||11|
|bodog.com||-30.5||Nov 14 10:30 AM ET|
|betus.com||-29.5||Nov 14 10:30 AM ET|
|5dimes.com||-30.0||Nov 14 10:30 AM ET|
|donbest.com||-29.5||Nov 14 10:30 AM ET|
|lvsc.com||-30.0||Nov 13 01:22 PM ET|
|Courtesy of Statsheet.com|
|#||Name||Pos.||Ht.||Wt.||Yr.||Hometown||High School||Previous School|
|0||DeWayne Russell||G||5-11||155||Jr.||Peoria, AZ||Peoria||Northern Arizona|
|1||Isaiah Juarez||G||6-3||180||Fr.||Irvine, CA||Mater Dei|
|2||Joshua Braun||G||6-4||195||Rf.||Anthem, AZ||Westwind Prep Academy|
|3||Sam Daly||G||6-3||175||So.||Adelaide, Australia||Unley|
|4||Ryan Majerle||G||6-3||190||R-Jr.||Rockford, MI||Rockford||Grand Valley State/Toledo|
|5||Matt Jackson||F||6-8||210||Fr.||Melbourne, Australia||Diamond Valley|
|11||De’Andre Davis||G||6-1||180||Fr.||Austin, TX||Cedar Ridge|
|12||Daniel Alexander||F||6-9||230||Sr.||Austin, TX||Dripping Springs||Texas A&M|
|13||Kerwin Smith||F||6-9||200||Fr.||Dallas, TX||Woodrow Wilson|
|15||Boubacar Toure||C||6-11||215||Fr.||Dakar, Senegal||Phase One Academy|
|21||Jerome Garrison||G||6-3||200||Sr.||Phoenix, AZ||Mountain Pointe|
|22||Royce Woolridge||G||6-3||180||Sr.||Phoenix, AZ||Sunnyslope||Washington State|
|23||Jevon Estelle||F||6-3||210||Jr.||Winslow, AZ||Winslow|
|24||Adrian Carrion Armas||G||5-11||168||Fr.||Seville, Spain||Canarias Basketball Academy|
|25||Miroslav Jaksic||F||6-11||220||Rf.||Windsor, ONT Canada||Walled Lake Western|
|42||Gerard Martin||G||6-6||195||Fr.||Manly, Australia||Australian Institute of Sport|
|50||Tobe Okafor||C||6-11||230||Jr.||Lagos, Nigeria||Maine Central||Western Texas College|
- Leading returning scorer is senior Jerome Garrison at 16.5 PPG. Garrison is a 40% 3-point shooter and a workhorse, 2nd in the NCAA in minutes played last season.
- Alexander Daniel, a senior forward, also returns averaging 12.7 PPG/5.6 RPG. He is a 41% 3-point shooter and puts up a good number. Daniel and Garrison were both very efficient last season. He played for Texas A&M prior to 2013.
- Sam Daly returns as a sophomore point guard, averaging 7.1 points and 4.2 assists per game.
- Matt Jackson, a freshman from Melbourne, Australia, seems to be a new starter at forward.
- Tobe Okafor, a 6‘11" junior transfer from Western Texas Community College is the starting center.
- Ryan Majerle, a transfer from Toledo (and son of coach Dan Majerle) will be early off the bench.
None for either team.
Grand Canyon is much bigger and more talented than either of the teams that Kentucky played in exhibition, but are probably much less talented than any of the teams Kentucky competed against in the Big Blue Bahamas. This game should be, as you’d expect from a game this early and a team like UK, a mismatch in terms of size, talent, and athleticism.
One thing Kentucky has to watch for is 3-point shooting. The ‘Lopes can shoot the ball, and they will no doubt try to do so with regularity. They gave Tulsa, a pretty good team last season, a hard way to go in their place, losing by only 1 point. Grand Canyon looks better to me this season than last with a couple of quality returners and some additional size, but it is doubtful they will be able to hang with the Wildcats for more than a half at most.