The Blue-White game is in the books and Kentucky Wildcats fans got a look at a vastly different team than we have seen for the past couple of seasons. There aren't any bruising centers like Karl-Anthony Towns or workman power-forwards that resemble Julius Randle. What we have is an up-tempo group that will thrive on guard play directed from the perimeter.
Before we start, how cool was this:
Your box score:
BLUE-WHITE GAME FINAL BOX... pic.twitter.com/rPMQ3e70GG— Jeff Drummond (@JDrumUK) October 28, 2015
Here are some observations from the night:
- There were 15,007 fans at the game, the second highest in school history.
- Early in the game, Isaiah Briscoe was the star. He was the point guard of the blue team in the first half, which consisted of Briscoe, Isaac Humphries, Alex Poythress, Jamal Murray, and Derek Willis. Briscoe showed his ability to drive to the basket with authority, score, or dish to the open man. He finished with 16 points and 5 assists.
- Derek Willis hit the game's first shot, which was a three assisted by Briscoe, and I thought for the first time in his career at Kentucky, he looked like he belonged on the floor. Willis looked confident in his shot and was as quick and athletic as I can recall. Willis really showed me something.
- Tyler Ulis led the white team in the first half, which consisted of Ulis, Skal Labisierre, Mychal Mulder, Marcus Lee, and Charles Matthews. Tyler did his thing, which was break down the defense and make the best possible decision, whether it was a shot or a pass. Ulis played the pick and roll to perfection and we will be seeing more of that as the season goes on. He had 10 points and 15 assists.
- After a slow start. we all saw why Skal Labisierre is considered to be a contender for the top pick in the NBA draft in 2016. He is smooth on offense, is quick off the floor for a lob, and can shut down the middle on defense. I was extremely impressed with his shot-blocking instincts. He needs to develop a little better in the post and not fall in love with his jump shot too much, but the sky is the limit for this kid.
- How about that game from Alex Poythress? He showed no hesitation concerning his left knee. He was aggressive towards the basket and made a couple of wow plays on defense. He went 3-4 from the three-point line, which was extremely impressive. He can do some major damage by luring opposing power forwards to the perimeter and burning them on that shot. For my money,he was the most complete player on the team.
- Jamal Murray was consistent and you could see how good he is going to be offensively. He has a smooth delivery and his glide toward the basket is about as pretty as it gets. I think he is still trying to figure out his role on the team, especially when he is with Ulis and Briscoe. Playing small forward is something knew to him.
- Marcus Lee had a nice game and showcased some moves with the ball that we haven't seen before. He looked more comfortable with the ball in his hands and didn't shy away from making moves on his own. Poythress bullied him a little bit on the post, but I think Alex is going to bully a lot of guys down there. Major positives from Lee.
- Mychal Mulder has a great three-point jumper and will be dangerous when he gets into a groove.
- Isaac Humphries again impressed and showed that while he's the youngest guy on the team, he doesn't lack for skill. He is a very good passer for a seven-footer, and his jump shot is automatic. Playing against Skal at practice is only going to make him better. But his skills are beyond his years.
- Charles Matthews is a damn fine basketball player. He ran the point a bit in the second half as the teams switched it up a bit. His shot isn't consistent yet, but it's there. He is extremely athletic and he is high energy all the time I really like this kid.
- One thing that struck me was how hard everyone played. I didn't feel like I was watching a scrimmage game. They were serious about playing as if every guy knew he was competing for a spot, which I think is true. There wasn't a lot of goofing around and laughing, which is normally what you see at these things.
- That press with the three guard line-up is going to kill teams with this new 30-second shot clock. Murray, Ulis, and Briscoe caused havoc all over the court.
- How does John Calipari get these young guys to bust their tails on defense like he does every single season?
We will see more on Monday in their first exhibition game, but overall Big Blue Nation should be very excited about what they saw tonight. This is going to be a fast a furious team that's all business. John Calipari says that he is only going to play six or seven guys, but I don't see how that's possible. This team is full of playmakers that deserve to see the court.
But this isn't Communism and we ain't platooning.