Tonight’s full column can be read here.
1. Terrence Jones is everything John Calipari hyped him up to be. Calipari hasn’t shied away from raising the bar of Jones’ potential. Last year he consistently said Jones could be one of the best players in the SEC. Jones didn’t quite get all the way there. This year, Calipari said Jones can be one of the best players in the country. Jones is looking like he’s well on his way.
He scored the opening points in the scrimmage on a hard drive and hit his first eight shots of the game. He finished the game with 52 points and 16 rebounds. More importantly than the stats, though — this is a scrimmage, after all — was the mentality he displayed in constantly attacking the rim. He didn’t settle for jump shots. With his performance, Jones established himself as the clear leader of this team, as he should be.
STAT UPDATE: Of his 31 attempts, only four were 3-pointers. Of his 24 makes, 20 were dunks or layups.
2. UK has a crazy amount of talent. This is no secret, but we finally got to see it in a formal basketball setting. Anthony Davis gets nearly everything that goes up around the rim. Marquis Teague has that spontaneous burst that lets him get into the lane easily. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist brings the intensity. Kyle Wiltjer adds another shooter and a different skill set on offense. Oscar Combs, the founder of Cats Pause, said this team is equal in talent level with the famous 1996 squad that produced nine NBA players. He may be right.
3. The fact that UK is this good and ISN’T the clear-cut No. 1 favorite speaks to how good college basketball will be this season. It’s hard to imagine a team being better than UK is, but everyone (except one coach in the polls) thinks North Carolina is the best team. Connecticut and Ohio State aren’t that far behind, either. UK’s current squad would have been prohibitive championship favorites either of the last two years. This season, they’re one of four in the upper echelon.