Scott Phillips from NBC Sports ranked the top backcourts in the country, and in a little bit of a surprise, placed Kentucky sixth behind Duke, Kansas, Villanova, NC State, and Creighton.
Here is what Phillips had to say about Kentucky.
6. Kentucky (De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, Isaiah Briscoe, Dominique Hawkins)
There is no questioning the talent of this group. De’Aaron Fox is probably the best on-ball defender in the country and Malik Monk is one of the most entertaining players you’ll see this year. The issue is going to be perimeter shooting. Monk is inconsistent and something of a gunner. Isaiah Briscoe shot 13 percent from three last season. Dominique Hawkins shot 27 percent. Fox has never been known as a good perimeter shooter.
I think Phillips’ concerns about perimeter shooting are valid, but reports are that Briscoe and Hawkins have improved their shooting and that Monk has been shooting it well. Fox is still an unknown as a perimeter shooting threat.
However, I still find it hard to believe that they were placed sixth. Personally, I would’ve placed them at fourth behind Duke, Kansas, and Villanova.
Three members of Kentucky’s backcourt cracked the top 100 (and one) rankings by Matt Norlander and Gary Parrish at CBS Sports.
Monk came in at #11, Fox at #15, and Briscoe came in surprisingly low at #91.
11. Malik Monk | Kentucky | Freshman | SG
Monk is a uniquely gifted athlete who should produce a highlight-reel dunk basically every other game, at worst. It's not crazy to think he could be the leading scorer for a national-championship team. -- GP
15. De'Aaron Fox | Kentucky | Freshman | PG
Fox is the latest in a long line of awesome point guard prospects to learn under John Calipari. Derrick Rose and John Wall are the best. But don't be surprised if Fox plays himself into that same class. -- GP
91. Isaiah Briscoe | Kentucky | Sophomore | Wing
Don't worry, UK fans. We weren't going to neglect Briscoe from this list. He'll lead Kentucky's defensive charge, and Calipari reports that Briscoe's shot is much improved. We're taking the reports at their word. If Briscoe still can't hit consistently from deep or create his own shot, hard to argue he's a top-101 player. But I more lean toward us underrating him. I can see him being as crucial to this team as anyone not named "De'Aaron Fox" this season. -- MN
I think Norlander’s point is valid, and if Briscoe’s shot isn’t improved, I think this is the right place for him. I guess I am more confident that Briscoe has improved. I don’t think he will be a knockdown shooter, but I think he is improved enough where defenses cannot completely disrespect him from that distance like they often did last year.