Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, and welcome to the Tuesday Morning Quickies.
As you can imagine, I have a few quick comments about the Big Blue Bahamas, and I’ll just put them in bullet points to save time:
- We have to shoot more three point shots. Kentucky shot 26% of field goal attempts from outside the arc. That is absurdly low by any standard, and for UK to be their best this season, at least 32% of their shots must come from outside. When you have good shooters, you have to use them.
- I loved how many of the freshmen grabbed their rebounds with two hands.
- I want to believe in Nick Richards, and mostly, I do. Last season still sticks a little in my mind, but if what we saw was not a summer mirage, he can be a real difference-maker. Also note his free throw form is not new — he shot 71% last season. If he can stay on the floor, he can shoot the ball.
- PJ Washington looks better, but I was hoping for a little more than I got.
- Immanuel Quickley is suffering from a little bit of underestimation. He wasn’t eye-popping until you look at his stats.
- I want more from Quade Green. ‘Nuff said.
- Tyler Herro is going to fascinate the Big Blue Nation like no player since Anthony Davis.
- The first game, I saw what I expected to see, which was a bunch of missed layups, matador defense, and generally ugly basketball. That vanished as if it had never existed. The last three games looked like a team that had been playing for a month. Maybe it was the competition, but it’s hard not to be encouraged.
Finally, a brief note on ballhandling. I haven’t felt like doing a proper stats breakdown on this series of games, but I felt the ballhandling was exemplary for a bunch of freshmen and sophomores. The opposition did not put a lot of pressure on the ball, and when they did, there were a few issues, but not as many as I feared. That is a very good sign.
Overall, there was a lot to be encouraged about, and I know all of you are excited. So am I. We have to wait a couple of months now before we see actual games, but those months will be as anticipated as any since 2012. Yes, I know 2015’s team was expected to be great, but they had a ton of known flaws.
This team has far fewer flaws than 2015 did, but they have one big negative — lack of experience. That was not evident in the Bahamas, though, so expectations are going to be very tough, probably impossible, to manage.
That’s the way I like them.
Tweet of the Morning
Got to my office tonight and got worried because I noticed that, for the first time all summer, I didn't hear balls bouncing in the gym. Then I realized all my guys went home to see their families.— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) August 14, 2018
I'm so proud of how hard they've worked and the way they played in the Bahamas.
We are too, coach. And speaking for myself, I was pretty happy with how well they played, too.
- A couple of big-time UK targets for 2019 are nearing decisions.
- Mark Stoops not impressed with Kentucky’s first scrimmage, calls it “flat.”
- Worth repeating: Three football walk-ons offered scholarships.
- After handing out four straight beat-downs in the Bahamas, John Calipari is “not intoxicated [by the team’s success].”
That’s fine. I’m happy to drink the hooch. Coach Cal needs to stay on the wagon where it comes to the team’s performance.
- Kentucky delivers a strong first impression in the Bahamas.
- Saturday Down South thinks UK should now start focusing on Duke. I think we should worry about Duke when they are our next opponent, and that won’t be for a while yet. This isonly August, right?
- The most promising thing about the Big Blue Bahamas, according to Tony Barbee, is the joy they played with. I think he has a point.
Other Kentucky sports
- Louisville football players think they are CFB Playoff championship material. I think their early game with Alabama will make us all want some of what they are smoking.
- The Big Ten has long styled itself as the moral leader of college sports. But since 2011 and the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State, it’s been all downhill from there.
- Andy Staples looks at the changes the NCAA is making to college basketball, and rationally points out that both extremes are wrong — they aren’t kicking the can down the road, and they aren’t earth-shattering, either.
The NCAA is inherently conservative, and it makes changes in small steps. I think these are good small steps, even if the implementation of them might be a little more challenging than they think in Indy.
- The SI staff identifies two value bets to win the NCAA basketball championship. See if you can guess who they are before you click.
- The NBA, not the NCAA, remains at the center of “one and done” blame.
Other sports news
- Fear and loathing among the players who need grassroots basketball to make their success possible. The NCAA’s changes may be leaving them behind.
Will the NCAA rule changes be in the overall interests of the players, or work against them? That question, as yet, is very much open.
- NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft detects a “Hydrogen wall” at the farthest reaches of our solar system.
- Einstein’s special theory of relativity has been validated by neutrinos.
- Hackers find a way to hijack Amazon Echo and Google Home and listen in on unsuspecting users.
I’ve always been skeptical of these devices, which is why I don’t own them.