Important takeaways from Blue-White scrimmage

By Jordan Ondrof

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With senior Alex Poythress looking more confident and the Cats showing their ability to sink threes, the Blue-White scrimmage showed what fans can expect this season.

Tuesday’s scrimmage at Rupp Arena was the first opportunity to see what this team is made of. Here is what fans need to know:

The guard play is promising

Between sophomore Tyler Ulis and freshmen Jamal Murray and Isaiah Briscoe, the Cats are loaded at the guard position. An argument could be made that Ulis is the best guard in the country right now.

He continues to look more polished every time he steps on the court. Murray was slow to start, but once he got into the flow of the game, he was quick to impress.

The three guards all played on the same team in the second half, a possible preview of whats to come. Murray finished with 17 points, Briscoe finished with 16 points and Ulis had 15 assists.

“Those three, I thought Isaiah did good stuff today. Used his body, got to the basket. He missed one layup, missed free throws. But I thought he did some good stuff today,” head coach John Calipari said. “There was good stuff I saw, but at this point as a coach you’re looking at this not, ‘All right, this was okay.’ What do we have to do to try to win? What do we have to look like? And let me just say, it’s not that, what I saw.”

Poythress looks healthy(er)

Senior Alex Poythress still looked timid on his healing knee the last time we saw him play during Big Blue Madness. In just a few short weeks, Poythress looks more confident and like his usual self. You could hear a pin drop in Rupp Arena when Poythress took a hard fall on a fast break. No one made a noise until the senior got back on his feet. He proved he was okay by coming back down the floor and draining a three, finishing with 17 points.

“(Poythress is) still not there yet,” Calipari said. “But I just want him to focus on rebounding. He made some shots. I’m telling you, if that takes away from his rebounding … then I would rather him not make any shots.”

Skal impressive, but room to improve

The freshman big man from Haiti was recently cleared by the NCAA to play. With this distraction out of the way, Skal Labissiere is free to focus on improving his game and potentially develop into the future No.1 NBA draft pick. With that being said, Labissiere still has areas of his game that need improvement. His post game needs work as well as his physicality, as he was out-muscled on some occasions by fellow big man Isaac Humphries. He was, however, the leading scorer with 18 points and 11 rebounds.

“I just want (Labissiere) to get comfortable scoring,” Calipari said. “That’s why in the second half, the scoring went where it was because we were throwing it to him every time if we could.”

Three point shooting

The Cats showed their ability from beyond the arch during the first half of the scrimmage. Junior transfer

Mychal Mulder stood out as a possible 6th man who can come off the bench to score.

With the fast paced tempo the guards were forcing and the down-low force of Poythress and Labissiere, the perimeter is open for Mulder to have open shots. Poythress was even able to drain a couple of threes.

“(Mulder is) going to be a big key to what we do,” Calipari said.