Another day, another demolition by the Kentucky Wildcats of a professional team.
After an impressive first two games, the Cats had easily their best performance of the Bahamas, a 100-64 win over Mega Bemax. The professional Serbian team was no match for the Wildcats as they dominated both ends of the floor and looked like grown men bullying college youngsters.
Here are four things to know:
EJ Montgomery and Jemarl Baker still out of commission.
It’s August these are exhibition games. I get it. But if you have been watching these three games, it is easy to see how quickly this team’s chemistry is developing.
While Jemarl Baker and EJ Montgomery aren’t physically able to go full tilt, you have to think it is putting them behind as being a part of the bigger picture.
Montgomery has the talent and tools, and the size, to come back and find a role. He is talented and has a different game than Reid Travis, so Montgomery’s presence will be needed as a backup for the monster that looks identical to sophomore Nick Richards.
Jemarl Baker, on the other hand, was supposed to be a veteran shooter that fills in minutes in the back court. With Ashton Hagans, Immanuel Quickley, and Quade Green being as good as advertised and Tyler Herro exceeding expectations, this time in the Bahamas could have been essential for Baker to carve out a role.
Both Baker and Montgomery are both expected to be out against Team Toronto tomorrow, as well.
There has been a lot of talk about Kentucky’s “One More” drill lately. They are always looking to make the extra pass to find a wide open shot.
When I picture this drill, it happens on the perimeter. Find the guy for the open three.
Immanuel Quickley drains the spot up 3. pic.twitter.com/r9Q9J7Ct4A— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) August 11, 2018
That definitely happened tonight, but they were also making the extra pass around the basket to get the most open look. They didn’t always finish on the interior against the physical Serbians, but they were looking for the “right shot.”
PJ Washington throws down. pic.twitter.com/Cg62ld31L5— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) August 12, 2018
That’s exactly what you want your guys doing when SEC play starts. I guess it’s cool if you are putting it together in August, though.
Coming into the summer, many were questioning where Quade could fit alongside Hagans and Quickley. In the last two games, and especially tonight, he has started to establish himself as a key piece of the offense.
Quade Green ➡️ Keldon Johnson— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) August 12, 2018
That was NASTY pic.twitter.com/G0NXWHGMIu
While Quickley is a strong shooter and is a bit quicker with the ball in his hands, Green is showing a bag of tricks that make his scoring efforts unique.
Quade Green high off the glass. pic.twitter.com/HAS4Krc7c1— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) August 11, 2018
Green can create space in ways that the freshman point guards cannot, and that also frees up his teammates for looks. I’m not saying that he plays “old man” basketball because his athleticism and skill are on full display, but he is establishing himself as “different” which will definitely benefit his playing time moving forward.
Balance Balance Balance
The biggest theme of Kentucky in the Bahamas has been balance. Whether it’s Nick Richards, Tyler Herro or PJ Washington, it’s been clear this team can dominate teams with different players having big games.
After shooting the lights out in the first two games, Herro was quiet for much of this night (though he did hit several threes late), but Kentucky still demolished a solid opponent. There’s no obvious weakness with this team, and we’re talking about a team with six new guys in August.
The thought of this team in March continues to be a horrifying prospect for the rest of college basketball.
Now, let’s discuss yet another fun night of Kentucky basketball.