The Kentucky Wildcats may be 0-1, but they put up a strong fight against No. 9 Duke.
It was a hard-fought game in which the Cats had their moments to build a lead, especially after Paulo Banchero went out with cramps. Nonetheless, an older-than-normal Kentucky team couldn’t get the job done.
Players like Sahvir Wheeler and Oscar Tshiewbe put up monster performances, wowing those at Madison Square Garden. Wheeler looks like he’ll be the team’s floor general, while Tshiewbe could end up being the best rebounder in college hoops.
As for the team’s two freshmen, TyTy Washington, a projected lottery pick, was 3/14 from the field and appeared to rush quite a bit of his attempts.
That said, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony still has Washington as a lottery pick, placing him 11th in his most recent 2022 NBA Mock Draft.
“While Washington looked overly ambitious seeking out home run plays, he did have some moments that demonstrated what makes him interesting as a NBA prospect. He thrived when he could get downhill against an unbalanced defense off closeouts or dribble-handoff situations, rather than being forced to go one-on-one from a standstill. He bulldozed through Jeremy Roach for a layup out of a handoff, hit a pretty floater from the middle of the lane off a closeout and converted a tough pull-up from 17 feet, showing his skill and touch. He also made some good reads driving and dishing to create easy offense for teammates in small doses. He’ll likely settle down and show more of his feel and pace operating out of ball screens as the season moves on and his big men learn the nuances of holding or slipping screens and creating gravity with their rolls — it’s unlikely he’ll ever see this type of size or length again all season long. In the meantime, making better decisions with the ball and demonstrating a higher intensity level defensively will be important for Washington to maintain his lofty draft projection,” Givony wrote.
On top of having Washington at No. 11, Givony placed the Wildcats’ second 5-star recruit, Daimion Collins, at No. 30 to the Memphis Grizzlies.
Collins had just two minutes and no points, rebounds or assists. He should get more time as the season progresses but appears outside of the main rotation to start the season.