With the college basketball season getting closer and closer, we’ll start seeing practice reports popping out of the Joe Craft Center.
The latest comes from CoachCal.com’s Metz Camfield, who gave another great review of what went down at the most recent Kentucky Basketball practice. As has been the case with just about every report this offseason on the 2016-17 Wildcats, it was mostly great news that will only continue to excite UK fans about the upcoming season.
The big story was Bam Adebayo, who we didn’t hear much about this offseason thanks to the dreaded high ankle sprain. However, the freshman forward was front and center for the most recent practice report, which reminded us how physically dominant this 6-10 big man is.
You’ve probably seen pictures of Bam’s chiseled body that looks like something an NBA big man would have, not a college freshman. Bam is going to be dominant in the paint this year, and there won’t be many teams with the kind of bigs needed to slow this bull down.
Remember early in Malik Monk’s recruitment when he was hands down a top-five prospect in 2016? He somehow managed to drop in the rankings during his senior season, despite producing at an All-American pace, something UK thinks he can do at the college level.
Like Bam, Monk also has a body more resembling of an NBA guard than that of someone who just finished their high school career. Monk has been compared to Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose and other physically-imposing guards with eye-popping explosion. Monk continues to justify those comparisons, and he’s primed for a big freshman season.
As good as Monk is, Dominique Hawkins has seen his fair share of quality college players whom he was able to help lock down. It sounds like Hawkins is continuing to take on that perimeter lockdown defender role with this team, and that’s going to make what’s already a scary defensive team even more imposing. It also should allow John Calipari to run more full-court press, something he hasn’t done too often at UK.
We also continue to hear good things on Isaac Humphries. The Australian sophomore remains the favorite to be the starting center this season, even though freshman Sacha Killeya-Jones is starting to shine as well. Humphries is the one guy on this team you can put at center and hold up against just about any college center size-wise and lengthwise.
The question is, can Humphries get his speed, conditioning and agility up to keep up with the smaller bigs like Bam who will play the 5 for other college teams? Can he get down and guard Tyler Davis or John Egbunu one night and then Moses Kingsley or Luke Kornet the next?
So far, it sounds like Humphries is more than holding his own and making a positive impact. He may very well be the x-factor for this team’s title hopes. Sacha is talented, but he isn’t going to be able to hold up against bigger college centers and power forwards, something it looks like Isaac will be able to do.