(Article by Michael Willis)
After watching the Wildcats play four games in just five days the Kentucky fan base are the most excited they have been since the ’14-’15 season. If you were able to catch any of the games, it is evident why. It’s not always easy to judge how good a team will be by their performance in an exhibition game (the Fox/Monk team beat Asbury by 93 points) but Kentucky played veteran teams in the Bahamas and won them all by an average of 29 points. I could write 10 pages on how well the team played, but instead let’s list some of the most impressive points from the games.
- Nick Richards look like a completely different player from last year. He displayed confidence that we hadn’t saw from him in a long time. He was the leading scorer in the first game with 19 points (in 17 minutes). He also shot an impressive 16 for 19 (84%) from the free throw line over the 4 games.
- Tyler Herro is a scorer! He averaged 17 points over the four-game span and made 8 three-pointers.
- Immanuel Quickley is efficient with the basketball. Over the four games he had 18 assist and only 2 turnovers. He didn’t have a turnover in the first three games.
- Ashton Hagans is a lockdown defender. Ashton averaged 2 steals a game during the trip to the Bahamas. His defensive pressure will earn him lots of minutes in future games.
- J. Washington has been developing his three-point game. He made 3 of his 7 attempts from behind the arc.
- Reid Travis might be Kentucky’s best back to the basket scorer. He is also a rebound magnet averaging 10 rebounds a game while playing against big opponents.
- Kentucky will play quick this year. They averaged 92.25 points in their four-game stint. They pushed the ball even after made baskets. They will be fun to watch!
- Keldon Johnson will be a fun to watch. He had some great dunks in the games and loves to trash talk while doing so.
I loved getting to see this team play in August, but I never dreamed that they would play so well as a team this early on. Perhaps the most impressive attribute of this team is how they responded to the physical play in game 3 versus Mega Bemax. Getting physical hasn’t been one of Kentucky’s positives for some time now, but they have the players and attitude to do so now. After seeing this team play so well, Big Blue Madness (Oct. 12th) can’t come soon enough.