The Kentucky men’s basketball team took the court tonight for the second time in front of the Rupp Arena crowd for the annual Blue-White Game.
There was a lot to see, including new faces, a lot of dunks, and a lot of scoring.
The nation’s no. 2 recruiting class took the floor along with a trio of veterans, PJ Washington, Quade Green, and Nick Richards, as well as Stanford grad-transfer Reid Travis.
The team looked a little sloppy, especially early on, but that’s to be expected in October. However, that shouldn’t take away from the fact that this team is very talented and they’re going to be a blast to watch this season.
Reid Travis looked flat out unstoppable. There wasn’t a player on the floor that could guard him, and I get the feeling that will be the case all year long. But we’ll talk more about him below.
The most pleasant surprise is that Sophomore Nick Richards is here and he’s here to stay. Richards looked so much more confident. While he looked excellent offensively and rebounding, what was most impressive is he looked like the rim protector the Cats have missed the last few years. He finished with 16 points, 16 rebounds, and 5 (!) blocked shots.
Of course, Tyler Herro continues to put up gaudy offensive statistics. He’s so efficient and even took it to the basket a couple times, finishing with 34 points on only 16 shots. Keldon Johnson also looked very good. He reminded me a lot of Kevin Knox last season in the way he quietly just scored and scored. He struggled a bit in the second half, but he finished with 20 points.
Another impressive surprise came from EJ Montgomery. Montgomery looked great and he showed why he was so heralded as a recruit. We missed him for the majority of the Bahamas trip, but he got to showcase his game tonight. He did a little bit of everything and is going to be a nightmare matchup for opposing defenses. He had 21 points and 8 rebounds.
Quade Green and PJ Washington both looked like solid veterans. You can see their leadership on the court. They had 17 points and 23 points, respectively. The other returning player, Jemarl Baker, got his first taste of game action and he looked decent but a little rusty. He scored 12 points.
Hagans and Quickley will duke it out with Green for the starting point guard job. Hagans looks a little ways behind the other two, though, at least offensively. He’s a menace defensively, but Quickley and Green bring so much to the table in shooting, passing, and their ability to be floor generals. Hagans finished with 15 points and Quickley added 13.
This team can flat out score. They have matchup problems across the floor, and shooters everywhere. They’re going to be very fun to watch this season.
As promised, more Reid Travis. He scored 27 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, while shooting 13-17 from the field. The dude is a grown man. He bullies his way to the basket and pulls down any ball that comes near him. He showed off his improved range and he consistently floated away from the basket for mid-range jumpers.
I’m not sure there’s a college basketball player that can stop this guy. I love Keldon Johnson and I’ve been saying he’s UK’s best player all summer, but my mind might be beginning to change. While Keldon might be Kentucky’s highest draft pick and is a great overall player, Travis might very well be the best player on this team.
And if he can continue to improve his range, especially to the three-point line, he could be one of the best players in the country. Watch out Grant Williams...because Reid is coming for that SEC Player of the Year trophy.