Last night the West edged the East in a thrilling final few seconds in the McDonald’s All American Game from the United Center in Chicago. But that result really isn’t important to Big Blue Nation. The question is “How did the future Kentucky Wildcats do?”
Jay Williams summed it up the best by stating that while the 2017 UK class is good but he doesn’t see any one and done type players. I have to concur, but this is just a small sample size of what we will see from these players.
Also, the class as a whole isn’t as strong as those in previous years. Out of the players on the floor, I could see only about four to five that may be NBA ready right now. Two of them are still considering Kentucky.
How did the players perform?
- Quade Green- I was impressed with Green and he’s much better than even I imagined. He reminds be a lot of Tyler Ulis. He is always looking to pass, he has a knack for slithering his way to the basket, and he only shoots when he’s open. For an all star game, I thought Green really got after it on defense. He finished the night with nine points, seven assists, and five rebounds.
- Nick Richards- Out of the centers on the floor, Richards had the least impact. But this class is dominated by some really talented big men and I thought Richards fared OK. He had a nice dunk assisted by Green, but other than that his night offensively was forgettable. Defensively I liked his tenacity and he showcased some of his shot blocking skills.
- PJ Washington- Washington was the best Kentucky commit on the floor. He moves well with and without the ball and showcased ball-handling skills that I didn’t know he had. He’s more athletic than he appears as well. Washington played only 15 minutes, but I thought he was one of the better players on the floor. He finished the night with 7 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals.
- Jarred Vanderbilt- The forward had a night to forget. He could never really get it going offensively. He turned the ball over multiple times and even came out of his shoe at one point. He practiced well all week so I chalk this up to just a bad game.
- I know Michael Porter, Jr. received the MVP Award, but Mohamed Bamba was the best player on the floor. His ability to change the offense due to his presence in the paint reminded me of Anthony Davis. There was one play when be blocked Porter’s shot and then palmed the ball. It was easily the most eye-popping play of the evening. He was interviewed by ESPN and was thoughtful and extremely articulate. He would fit the mold of recent stars John Calipari has brought to Kentucky.
- Colin Sexton was the best guard on the floor. The Alabama commit showed a lot of flash and athleticism. He was willing to share the ball and, like Green, took his defense seriously. Avery Johnson got a good one.
- Former Kentucky recruit Trae Young didn’t impress much. He shot poorly from the outside- and too much- and didn’t do much as far as ball facilitation. I am completely fine with Green.
- Kevin Knox was quiet most of the night but exploded in the final minutes of the game to bring the East back. He showcased his ability to hit from the outside and drive to the basket. At 6’8, he’s very smooth with the ball and his skills resemble more of a guard than a big man. He went 7 for 11 and had 15 points.
- Like I said, Michael Porter, Jr. was the MVP but I would have given it to Bamba. I can see where Porter is talented but he didn’t change the dynamics of the game like Mo did. Again, I know it’s a small sample size, but Bamba was the clear best player on the floor.
John Calipari still has some work to do in the recruiting world. He’s contacted a couple of guards recently and is still pushing for Knox and Bamba. It’s clear that these players are still waiting to see what shakes out with the rosters of Duke and Kentucky before they make their final decisions.
I want Bamba in a bad way. I think he could be the difference in what could be a good team to maybe a great team. But there have been rumors swirling that Bam Adebayo is still 50/50 on coming back and so is Isaiah Briscoe. Briscoe staying takes care of the guard issues.
If Bam stays, then I’m fine with him moving to power forward with either Richards or even Isaac Humphries playing the five.
But in a perfect world, Bam stays, Cal lands Bamba and then all of a sudden Cal goes from having the best backcourt in the country to having the best frontcourt in the country. A guy can dream, right?