Derrick Rose. John Wall. Brandon Knight. Tyler Ulis.
Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari has had quite a run with superstar point guards. Coming off of an All American performance by Tyler Ulis last season, Calipari has brought in a young man that believes he has the talent to rise to the top of that list. Those who have seen him play think he may be right.
De’Aaron Fox was a top ten recruit coming into Kentucky, and at this point he is a projected lottery pick. What sets him apart from other point guards in this recruiting class? His speed. That’s why many experts are already making comparisons to John Wall.
“He’s explosive in the open floor, he’s got a ridiculous burst. If you compare where they’re at in college, he has a lot of the traits and attributes that John Wall had. There’s no doubt about it,” ESPN analyst Seth Greenberg said to SEC Country on Monday. “I think Fox shoots it a little better than John at this stage, with better range.”
Coach Cal understands how special Fox’s speed is, and he hopes he finds the right balance of when to use it.
“There are times he can look as fast as John Wall,” Calipari said. “John Wall knew that was his No. 1 weapon and he used it all the time, probably too much. De’Aaron hasn’t figured out that should be his No. 1 weapon. It’s a weapon he’ll use every once in awhile, but it’s really hard to run that fast all the time.”
Wall’s speed consistently got fans out of their seats, and his 100 mile per hour circus plays were just what Kentucky fans needed after watching years off Tubby Smith’s Novocaine offense. (Was there another coach in between there? I don’t remember.) Fox promises to bring a similar energy to Rupp Arena.
“He’s going to push the tempo,” Rivals.com analyst Eric Bossi told the Courier-Journal. “He’s going to try to get to the rim, and he’s going to try to make things happen.”
While Fox will likely be remembered more for increasing the tempo on offense, defense may be where he makes the biggest difference for the Wildcats this season.
“He is as good on the ball as any player I’ve seen – his hands are as quick and active as any player I’ve seen – in a long time,” Greenberg said. “He just takes you out. I don’t know if they keep deflections, but he’ll set a record for deflections at Kentucky. He’s got hands, great reach, terrific anticipation and instinct, and he’s got a mindset defensively to disrupt.”
Many have called this one of Kentucky’s best recruiting classes ever. According to everyone that matters, Fox seems to be the explosive point guard necessary to lead such a group.
Fans will get the chance to see Fox’s speed in action for the first time on Friday at Big Blue Madness at 7 p.m.. He is sure to put on a show with a few steals and a fast break alley-oop or two.
But most importantly, we will find out if he has what it takes to match the excitement fans had for John Wall. Only one question remains to make that determination: can he dance?