There is no question that Kentucky will be loaded with personnel next year. The Cats will pretty much be two deep at every position on the court.
But one critical component to March success will be this team’s ability to prove they can shoot the ball, particularly from outside.
The Cats will only return one player with any substantial shooting contribution at the college level. Quade Green did hit an impressive 39.6% of his three point shots in 2017-2018, while PJ Washington shot just 23.8% in his limited attempts.
The only other player to make a three point shot from last year’s team, was Brad Calipari, who was surprisingly low at 14.3%. Those late game heaves inspired by pleads from the Rupp arena crowd have really tanked Brad’s average.
I believe Kentucky has the pieces to be a really good shooting team this season, but they still have to prove it.
Immanuel Quickley, Tyler Herro, Ashton Hagans, Jemarl Baker, and Keldon Johnson are all new additions that are known for making jumpers.
Quickley was co-champion of the Powerade McDonald’s All-American three point shooting contest.
Herro could emerge as to the go-to option when UK needs a bucket. He is known to have a lethal mid-range game but can extend his range as well.
It may take this freshman back-court a bit to figure out how to get the best shots possible for each other against tough SEC defenses. But ultimately, talent will prevail.
Villanova shot over 40% from three in their dominant national championship run last year. If Kentucky can get anywhere close to that 40% mark they will be near impossible to beat.
Coach Calipari’s best shooting team at Kentucky was in 2010-2011 when they made 39.7% from behind the arc.
March has proven time and time again that outside shooting is critical. I will be anxious to see the first 5 on 5 action in the Bahamas and what kind of shots the Cats can get for themselves.