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Roundup of Kentucky players on preseason award watch lists

Multiple Cats are getting preseason notice for many of the Naismith Hall of Fame awards.

Reid Travis, team

This year’s Kentucky Basketball team is going to be a fun one to watch to say the least. This team is loaded from top to bottom with some of the best talent from all over the country.

Kentucky fans expect to have the best of the best year in and year out and under John Calipari that is the case. This year is no different and a lot of the players on the team have been named to various watch lists for the Naismith Hall of Fame season awards.

Nick Richards

We all watched last season unfold and how tough it was for Richards as he struggled throughout the season and had a hard time getting adjusted to the speed of college basketball. However, we need to keep in mind that unlike other top players, Richards has only been playing basketball since he was 15 whereas others have been playing their entire life.

The preseason trip to the Bahamas was a great thing for this team to get some experience that early in the year. However, it was a great trip for Richards personally because he was able to show what he has been working on all summer and the way he performed did nothing but boost his confidence going into the season.

Kentucky fans are not the only people taking notice of his improved play as he was named to the preseason watch list for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar award, which is awarded to the nation’s best center.

PJ Washington

Last season was a good year for Washington as he averaged nearly 11 points and 6 rebounds a game and was the biggest reason we were still in the Kansas State game in the NCAA Tournament.

Washington had a tough decision to make and ultimately decided he wanted to come back to school for his sophomore season and compete for a national championship. However, it is clear to see that he has worked hard this offseason on getting in better shape because he has completely transformed his body and looks like a different person. He is going to be a handful for opponents, especially since he has put in work on his outside game and will force teams to guard him on the three-point line.

Washington is going to have a lot of eyes on him to see how much he has improved from year one to year two, but many believe that jump will be tremendous. Washington was named to the preseason watch list for the Karl Malone award which is awarded to the nation’s best power forward.

Reid Travis

If you follow Kentucky basketball recruiting, then you were focused on the decision of Reid Travis to become a graduate transfer and play his final season of college basketball somewhere else. Travis is a huge pickup for coach Cal as he was one of the best players in the PAC-12 during his time at Stanford.

Travis averaged 19.5 points and 8.7 rebounds a year ago at Stanford and is going to be a huge advantage for the Cats with his rebounding ability. As you know we struggled on the glass at times and Travis is going to be a huge factor in the rebounding game with his ability to dominate the glass.

Travis has a lot of hype going into this season and he is joining teammate PJ Washington on the preseason watch list for the Karl Malone award for the nation’s best power forward.

Tyler Herro

Herro is going to be one of the best scorers on the team this season and has the ability on any given night to go for 25+ points with his ability to get hot and stay in that groove. At first it looked like Herro was going to end up a Wisconsin Badger and stay home but he later decided to back out of that commitment and join the BBN.

The trip to the Bahamas gave the fans a taste of just how good he can be as he was the star of the show while on the trip. He led the team in scoring averaging 17.3 points a game against some tough opponents. Herro will be a fan favorite no doubt, especially after he pulled out the Rex Chapman jersey at Big Blue Madness.

He has caught the eye of the nation as he was named to the preseason watch list for the Jerry West award which is given to the nation’s best shooting guard. This award was won in the past by Malik Monk and we all know what he was capable of.

Keldon Johnson

Coming into the season Johnson is believed to be the best player on this year’s Kentucky team and he has all the aspects that will make him one of the best players in the country this season.

Johnson has the ability to score on opponents in a variety of ways. Either shooting the outside shot or getting to the rim and finishing strong. However, Johnson also prides himself on the defensive end of the floor and we saw that when he locked up RJ Barrett in the McDonald’s All-American game.

In the Bahamas Johnson averaged 13.3 points while shooting 52.5% from the field and 44.4% from three. He also scored over 11 points in every game while the team was there. College basketball teams must be concerned about how they will stop Johnson this season.

The highly ranked freshman was named to the preseason watch list for the Julius Erving award which is awarded to the nation’s best small forward.

As Kentucky fans, hearing all these players getting national praise has to have us all excited for what we are going to see when they take the floor November 6th against Duke.

Go Cats!