With over 90 NBA scouts in attendance ESPNU cameras focused on their every move, the Kentucky Wildcats basketball team put on a show for all of them and Big Blue Nation. Here is what stood out to me during the practice:
- John Calipari is extremely excited about this team. The smile on his face and his attitude says it all. But he is playing it close to the vest as far as the talking goes because he said while one day he is skipping and whistling out of practice, the next night he can't sleep because he wonders if they can win any games at all.
- Bam Adebayo is going to be a star at Kentucky. He has a winning smile, and he is constantly cheering on his teammates and has an infectious positivity.
- The battles between Bam and Isaac Humphries are doing wonders for both players. Isaac looks more in shape and fitter now than he did at any point last season. I am really looking forward to the progression of the center position.
- De'Aaron Fox is as polished on the microphone as he is polished on the court. His quickness bothered his defenders at times, Dominique more so than Briscoe. At one point Fox blew past Hawkins, and Cal blew the whistle in order to tell Hawkins that he needs to try to keep Fox in front of him.
- The battles between Fox and Isaiah Briscoe is a real thing. Those two guys went head to head, and they were going all out. They are pushing each other to new levels.
- I loved Malik Monk's mid-range jump shot. If that kid can get that to fall on a regular basis, there won't be a player in college basketball that can guard him.
- Speaking of shooting, how about Briscoe? I know they were uncontested jump shots, but he was splashing three-pointers, and as the commentators pointed out, he has improved his form greatly.
- Wenyen Gabriel is going to be sneaky good. He has all of the tools that a stretch four in the NBA needs. He is athletic, he goes to the rim with authority, his jump shot is better than expected, and he can be a lockdown defender. If he can be what the NBA wants him to be this season, this team will be a beast on the floor.
- The 15 minute Duke diatribe was uncalled for and frustrating. I thought it was a bit ridiculous to have a Duke lovefest during a UK practice, but ESPN is gonna ESPN.
- At one point Briscoe made a suggestion about what Cal should do during practice and Cal took the suggestion and ran with it. This is Briscoe's team, and Cal is making that clear to all involved.
- The Andy Katz flub about Derrick Willis getting arrested for a DUI should be corrected. Willis handled it like a pro. Kudos to him.
There was plenty more that we could get into, but it was just a practice. I was also impressed with the fact that Malik Monk suggested they should all go shake the hands of the NBA scouts. This is going to be a fun team to watch, and they have a great attitude.
Next on the list is Big Blue Madness on Friday night. Games can't start soon enough.