It’s hot take season. With college basketball on the horizon, everyone and their brother has an opinion about what will happen once the ball is tipped on November 6th.
Recently, ESPN’s Myron Medcalf wrote an article about what could keep each AP Top 25 team from making the Final Four in Minneapolis in April. He breaks down each team’s biggest weakness and how that could cost them come tournament time.
Medcalf had this to say about the Kentucky Wildcats:
“Because this talented crew needs someone to duplicate the efforts of the premier point guards who have steered John Calipari’s past Final Four teams, and Immanuel Quickley, Quade Green and Ashton Hagans might not have the juice to play that role for this team. That matters because the only Kentucky squad under Calipari since his debut season in 2009-10 that finished with a higher turnover percentage than last year’s team -- which struggled to find a solution at point guard and lost to Kansas State in the Sweet 16 -- was the 2013 squad that lost in the NIT.”
I am actually a big Myron Medcalf fan, and I get that he had a job to do in finding a weakness for each and every team, but it really seems like he is reaching here. First of all, last season’s point guard, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, was a lottery pick and is getting the most minutes at the point for the Los Angeles Clippers this season. He was not perfect, but he was absolutely “a solution.”
Also, the 2012 national championship team was led by Marquis Teague. He absolutely grew into the point guard that team needed him to be. But to say he was a “premier” point guard that led the team to a Final Four does not reflect what actually happened.
So far this preseason, both Immanuel Quickley and Ashton Hagans have shown the potential of becoming a premier point guard. John Calipari has been pretty clear that Quade Green will be playing off the ball, so at this, point it is a two-man race for the point guard position.
Quickley has been very impressive, showing the ability to lead, distribute, and shoot. He is a prototypical point guard that will take care of the ball, put his teammates in a position to score, and knock down an open shot when needed. To me, that is the very definition of who you want leading your team in March.
Hagans could be the best perimeter defender we have seen at Kentucky in years. His shooting is coming along, and he is able to make plays with his athleticism that few defenders in the country would be able to stop. By the end of the season, Hagans has the potential to be a terror at the point guard spot that opposing teams will not be able to handle.
If Medcalf has to stretch this far to find a detrimental weakness on this team, I think that bodes well for what this team has in store. You can tell in reading the entire article which teams he had a difficult time picking apart.
What do you think could hold this team back in the NCAA Tournament?