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Friday Headlines: The Rise of Kellan Grady Edition

The Kellan Grady that Kentucky hoped for has arrived.

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NCAA Basketball: Western Kentucky at Kentucky Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone. This year Big Blue Nation received one of their many gifts before Christmas morning. In fact, the gift started a week before Christmas day when Kentucky played North Carolina in the CBS Sports Classic — specifically in the second half.

Kellan Grady, Kentucky grad transfer from Davidson, caught fire during the second period of Kentucky’s blowout win over UNC. He followed up his 18-point performance with a season-high 23 points in runaway victory over Western Kentucky on Wednesday.

You may ask, what is the gift? Isn’t this the Kellan Grady Kentucky was getting in a grad transfer all along?

Yes, Grady’s transfer to Kentucky gave high expectations for the veteran shooter to provide an instant impact scoring the basketball. However, it’s not that simple.

With all due respect to the rosters Grady played on during his time at Davidson, they weren’t anywhere close to being as loaded and deep at this Kentucky team. Forget most of the other collegiate programs — the talent level on this roster is higher than most teams Kentucky has rolled out over recent years. Combine the level of talent along with the history and spotlight that comes along with wearing a Kentucky jersey and that’s a major transition for any player to make.

Grady’s first nine games weren’t his best moments as a collegiate athlete, as he had just two outings where he scored in double figures and three where he shot above 43% from the field. However, after a handful of weeks playing real games with his teammates and finally getting to play legitimate competition, Grady is now putting together a rhythm that this Kentucky team desperately needs.

The veteran scorer is averaging 20.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 72.5% field goal percentage in Kentucky’s two blowout wins over UNC and WKU. When open, Grady has caught and released the basketball. You can only guess the result of nearly 34 of those attempts.

Southeastern Conference play is right around the corner and if Kentucky wishes to go on a run, Grady will undoubtedly be a key component. Consistent shooting wins games but can also be an answer for a team when in a scoring drought. Grady has the opportunity to be the constant threat and answer for the Wildcats. Kentucky will take a few days for themselves during the holiday before getting back to work next week as the Wildcats host the Missouri Tigers for their first SEC game of the season.

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