Top takeaways from Blue/White scrimmage


Kentucky Wildcats guard Hamidou Diallo dunks the ball during the Blue/White game on Friday, October 20, 2017 in Lexington, Ky. Blue defeated White 88-67. Photo by Carter Gossett | Staff

After the open Blue-White scrimmage Friday night that the Blue team took 88-67, there were some key takeaways for the young Cats team still in its infancy.

The freshmen really are that good.

The highly-touted freshmen didn’t disappoint the crowd, at least. There was an assortment of dunks, blocks and fancy ballhandling to wow all in attendance. However, they are very sloppy. Center Nick Richards took a while to get Cal’s instruction to rebound with both hands, and several players made silly turnovers by trying to do too much by themselves.

It’s expected of such a young team this early, but the athleticism is definitely there. Talent-wise, this is a team able to win a championship.

The team can actually shoot.

Jump shooting was a concern for the team heading into the season, but there are players up and down the roster that can make threes when needed. Athletic guard Hamidou Diallo isn’t a real threat from deep, but coach John Calipari could put in five balanced players at once that could make threes if needed. Wenyen Gabriel was perfect from behind the arc, and the teams shot a hair under 50% from range.

Forward Kevin Knox said the shooting was good and that he was glad the scrimmage shot down some concerns for the team’s jump shooting ability. They’ll need that shooting ability if, as Knox said after the game, “We won’t get a lot of calls on the road.”

Knox said that a “powerhouse” school like Kentucky will often not get their fair share of fouls called.

“Last year, Bam [Adebayo] got hacked a lot,” Knox said. “He’d be able to play through it.”

They really are positionless.

For a large portion of the second half, the Blue team played a lineup that made 6-7 forward P.J. Washington the second-shortest player on his team. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ran the offense at point guard, while Washington and Knox played at the wings. Gabriel and Richards played the two post positions.

“With that lineup, we have a lot of length, we have a lot of versatility,” Washington said. “Everybody can do pretty much everything with that lineup.”

He’s entirely correct. With that lineup, the Cats have possible shooting threats at four positions, while maintaining the length to bully other teams in the paint and create matchup problems.

The freshmen are extremely out of shape.

During the full-length scrimmage, four players went down with cramps, and one (Quade Green) had to sit out for the rest of the game, due to cramps in several places. Diallo, Richards and Knox also felt the strain of increased minutes on the floor, much to the dismay of their coach.

“Everybody, when they saw one guy grab his leg, they all grabbed their leg, too,” Calipari said. “But we’re practicing twice tomorrow.”

Knox also said the team wasn’t ready to play a 40-minute game yet. That may be concerning for some Cats fans, as exhibitions start next week.