John Calipari said that the freshmen have been going up against veterans in early practices, and that guards De’Aaron Fox and Isaiah Briscoe have been particularly competitive.
Calipari said that Briscoe and Fox are going “nose to nose. It’s a war.”
Cal: Briscoe competing against De'Aaron Fox "nose to nose. It's a war."— Jerry Tipton (@JerryTipton) October 3, 2016
Cal has spoken about both guards separately, discussing just how good they can be this year. He compared Fox to perhaps his best guard recruit John Wall. Cal says that Fox’s speed and athleticism needs to become his number one weapon, like it was for Wall.
Here were Cal’s exact words on it:
“His pace is too casual at times. Like, my thing is, there are times he can look as fast as John Wall. John Wall knew that was his number one weapon and he used it all the time. Probably too much. De’Aaron hasn’t figured out that should be his number one weapon.
“It’s a weapon he’ll use every once in awhile, but it’s really hard to run that fast all the time. So I’ll run that fast—the rest of the time, I’m so good with the ball I don’t want to run fast. I’m going to slow down so he catches me so I can—so there’s stuff.”
If Fox’s speed does become his top weapon, defenders will find it impossible to stop the young guard.
As for Briscoe, Calipari talked about him getting better at shooting. He said Briscoe will get the ball more, and look to shoot off the dribble and create his shot more, which Cal says he’s better at doing, rather than playing catch-and-shoot.
“He’s really improved his shooting,” Cal said. “I think part of it is going to be if he has the ball more. He shoots it better, probably, off the bounce than he does catching it and shooting it because he’s not really played that way before, which probably affected him last year.”
Briscoe certainly has to improve his shooting, as he shot 13.5% from 3-point range last year and 46% from the free throw line.
These two have areas to improve in, so it’s great to hear that they’re getting competitive in practice. Perhaps Briscoe can will Fox to use his speed, and Fox can will Briscoe to get better at shooting.