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Kentucky Wildcats Basketball: NBA scout breaks down UK and Duke players from summer trips

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A lot of good things to say about PJ and other Wildcats.

Sea of Blue

Now that the international college basketball trips are wrapped up for the summer, all of the focus is shifting to November 6th when the Kentucky Wildcats will take on the Duke Blue Devils to kick off the season.

Both squads took international tours this summer, Kentucky to the Bahamas and Duke to Canada. Both teams looked fantastic and blew past he competition.

In looking to process how summer performances may translate to the next level, Adam Zagoria of Flo Hoops spoke to an anonymous NBA scouting director about what he saw this summer.

This is some of what he came up with for three Wildcats:

Keldon Johnson

“He’s big and he’s athletic. His stroke has got to get better but it’s not broken. It’s a little inconsistent. I think he was over 40 percent from three down there (44 percent). He shot a couple of airballs. It’s not quite there yet, but it’s fine. It’s not a broken stroke.

“He’s got NBA athleticism, NBA size, typical two-guard size so I think the kid’s a top-10 pick.”

PJ Washington

“His body got a lot better over the summer. He’s thinner; he lost some weight. He’s still kind of a, what is he at the NBA level? He’s a little bit undersized as a power forward. I don’t think he’s a three. I don’t know. He’s like a funky size, but he drives the ball to the rim with power.

“He finishes. He’s not the greatest athlete in the world, but he’s good enough. Knows how to play. He’s gotten better. He really helped himself coming back, he made a good decision.”

Nick Richards

“I think he helped himself immensely. When I went down there and scouted that event, I thought he was by far the most pleasant surprise from the standpoint of how much better he’s gotten. I think the light came on for that kid between the end of last year and this year. Last year I didn’t think the kid looked like he belonged. You couldn’t see that kid on an NBA court last year.

”Now, you’re like, that guy’s a starting center in the NBA. I kind of wish he was a bit of a better shot-blocker than he is, but against Mega [Bemax], he was great. He’s made fantastic progress. Fantastic.”

While Kentucky clearly looked like the better team against superior competition, it’s hard to argue with Barrett and Williamson being the top NBA prospects of who the scout watched. They looked better in their games than any of the Kentucky players did in theirs. They contributed more to Duke’s team success and put up more highlight plays.

However, they looked so good because they were the only guys on their team that could play. Duke’s depth is nowhere close to what Calipari has in Lexington.

Kentucky’s stars did not need to put up remarkable numbers in order for their team to success in the Bahamas. They share the ball and share the responsibility of putting points on the board. The depth of Kentucky is perhaps its biggest strength.

Even when Cam Reddish and Tre Jones get back from injury, Kentucky will still own most of the top 8 spots when comparing the teams’ rotations. That bodes well for the Wildcats in November, and even better in March.

The Champions Classic simply cannot get here soon enough.

Be sure to read the full piece at Flo Hoops.