I don’t put too much stock into numbers at a scrimmage game. Granted, the players played their hardest but the defense and the offense are usually about as basic as it comes. So with my quick analysis, I am going to leave numbers out of it and focus more on what I saw with skill, technique and attitude.
Here is my quick take on the participants in last night’s scrimmage:
- Kyle Wiltjer has come a long way. He can score from almost any spot on the floor and he has added size to his frame which will help him in the low post. He has been left off of almost every preseason player list but I think he will make some sports writers kick themselves by the season’s end.
- Archie Goodwin is a combination of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Eric Bledsoe. He has a constant motor and he is an aggressive scorer that has the ability to take him man to the rim at any given moment. I think the team will thrive off of his emotion.
- All the tools are there for Alex Poythress, he just needs to become more vocal and more aggressive. His reputation is of a quiet leader but that needs to change. He’s very, very good and he needs to get a little cocky in his game. He needs the edge and the attitude that Terrence Jones had at times. If he can get that attitude, I don’t think there is a player at his position that can guard him. Be ready for some rim shaking dunks and highlights from him this season.
- Ryan Harrow needs a lot of work. He is smaller than any of the point guards that Cal has had at Kentucky and he lacks defensive toughness. That being said, Harrow can penetrate extremely well and is a very good finisher. He will get better as the season progresses.
- Nerlens Noel has all of the ability to become one of the best players in the country. His offensive skills are not where they need to be yet, but his defensive ability and his rebounding are what made him the number one prospect in the country. Once he gets confidence in his offense and in his scoring, then the sky will be the limit.
- Willie Cauely-Stein is the real deal. We have heard a lot from Cal about how good he can be and now we are seeing it. He is much bigger and much stronger that I thought, he really is a physical specimen. I’m not sure how a team can score near the basket with Cauley-Stein, Wiltjer and Noel in the game together. And I think we will see a lot of that.
- Julius Mays is much better than I thought and he is more ready for this level of basketball than I had thought as well. I just had confidence that he could score every time he got his hands on the ball. Teams are not going to be able to leave him alone to shoot. He will make them pay.
- And how about Jon Hood? His effort and his play was the best we have ever seen from him at Kentucky. I think Hood is going to be a factor with this team and he will see some major playing time.
There are going to be some growing pains but this team is going to be very good when it all comes together. They have a seven man rotation with Noel, Harrow, Wiltjer, Poythress, Goodwin, Cauley-Stein and Mays, but don’t count out Jon Hood as an eighth man. This team is young, but this team is about as deep as Calipari has had in a long time.