The Kentucky Wildcats faced off against each other tonight as the blue team dominated the white squad 108-80.
The starting fives included Sahvir Wheeler, TyTy Washington, Bryce Hopkins, Daimion Collins, and Oscar Tschiewbe against Davion Mintz, Dontaie Allen, Bryce Hopkins, Keion Brooks, and Lance Ware. Coach O and Chin Coleman were coaching the blue squad while Jai Lucas and Bruiser Flint coached up the white team.
While there isn't a ton you can take from these types of scrimmages, it’s a better first look at the team than what we get to see at Big Blue Madness. And they looked good to say the least.
Next up, the Cats will take on Kentucky Wesleyan next Friday at Rupp Arena.
No Toppin or Fredrick
Let’s start with the dreaded injury report. CJ Fredrick has been out since July when he suffered a lower leg injury. He’s been cleared to return to practice, and he even participated in Big Blue Madness, but he hasn't been cleared for full contact, so he was not available for the scrimmage tonight.
Jacob Toppin was hit with a shoulder injury and returned to practice a couple of weeks ago. He, like Fredrick, participated in Big Blue Madness and won the Dunk Contest. However, to be on the safe side, Toppin did not play tonight.
Fredrick is arguably the most lethal outside shooter in all of college basketball and Toppin is a freak athlete with three years (two at UK) of experience. Let’s hope both of these young men get back on the floor sooner rather than later.
Final: 108, ⚪️ 80— Kentucky Men’s Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) October 23, 2021
Stats:@Oscartshiebwe34 - 25 pts, 21 rebs@tytywashington3 - 24 pts, 10 assts@CollinsDaimion - 22 pts, 7 rebs@lanceware55 - 20 pts, 10 rebs@KeionB_12 - 20 pts, 7 rebs@BryceHopkins - 18 pts, 10 rebs@KellanGrady31 - 16 pts@sahvir_ - 11 pts, 11 assts pic.twitter.com/cBHYZh9Vuo
Lots of offense, not much defense
Not much to complain about here. Kentucky appears to be a team that can score a lot of points in a variety of ways. They’ve got a scoring point guard in Washington. They’ve got a distributing point guard in Wheeler. They have deep shooting threats in Fredrick, Allen, Washington, Mintz, and Grady. They have versatile fours in Collins and Brooks. And finally, they’ve got an anchor in Tshiebwe.
Heck, even Collins, who’s viewed as an incredible athlete but who’s also very raw, hit three triples on as many attempts.
There’s a lot to like about UK’s versatility, speed, and shooting ability. It seems that while they may not be a “star” necessarily, there are a lot of good basketball players that compliment each other well. This team looks a lot different from last year’s, as we’ve become accustomed to, but they have a lot of experience and several returning players.
I mean, I hate to say the word, but is there any chance that Cal runs the blue and white platoons this season?
This should be fun.
Hopkins is gonna be gooooood
Hopkins is as skilled and versatile as they come. He’s been getting awesome reviews since he arrived in Lexington and after watching him tonight, it’s well deserved. Hopkins looks like he’s somewhere between a freshman and sophomore PJ Washington. When he first committed, many expected Hopkins to be a two-year player, but he looks like the yearly surprise.
He can shoot the ball fairly well. He has a solid handle. He can attack the basket and isn’t afraid to body somebody up. While he isn't exactly the post threat that PJ was, he is an extreme mismatch at the four, and I expect him to get a lot of PT this season.
Oh, and not to mention, the Cats stole Hopkins from the Cards, which makes me like him even more.
They’re going to play fast
John Calipari has said multiple times this offseason that Kentucky’s going to play fast, but he says that every year, doesn't he? Well, this team looks like they’re ready to get off to the races.
Each time there’s a missed shot, no matter who grabs the rebound, they’re immediately looking to run. Wheeler is obviously the true speedster of the bunch, but all of these guys move well and can get down the floor.
To make matters better, UK is going to play multiple guards at once, whether that be Wheeler, Washington, Mintz, or Grady, all of whom can handle point guard duties if need be. And Big O runs the floor as well as any big in the country.
As mentioned above, this team looks like they can score, and they’re going to score a lot the faster they get the ball down the court.
Oscar Tschiebwe is a load. Sure, Kentucky only had Ware to guard Big O, but, man, he looks impossible to stop in the paint. While he isn’t the most polished scorer, he’s a ball magnet and can finish when he grabs a rebound as close to the rim as he usually does.
Oscar finished with 25 points and 21 rebounds on 12-15 shooting from the field.
It’s yet to be seen how Oscar will do against guys his size (if there are any) or the long, athletic centers that the SEC is known for, but there’s not a player in the country more physical than he is.
Of course, Oscar struggled last season at West Virginia before transferring to Kentucky, but he was Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year after a monster freshman season. He wasn’t happy at WVU and ended splitting significant minutes with another dominant big man.
But make no mistake, Big O has spent the last 10 months preparing for this moment, and he looks ready to make the most of it.
Check back shortly for full highlights of the game.
Now, let’s discuss the game!