It’s looking more and more likely that both Nerlens Noel and Willie Cauley – Stein are legit and may have to make a NBA decision by the end of the year. We all expected Noel to have to make that decision, but the play of Willie Cauley – Stein has really opened some eyes and made it apparent that Kentucky may have to grab another big man for the 2013 class. Kentucky has Marcus Lee for the 2013 class and now the whole class got a lot more interesting.
You can argue that the class lacked an elite big man but now it has one. Dakari Johnson, who was the 4th best player in 2014, has reclassified into 2013 and immediately becomes the best C prospect and into the top 10. And interestingly enough, he has Kentucky on his list. Johnson is a 6’10 center from Montverde Academy in Florida and is considering Kentucky, Florida, Georgetown, Louisville, Ohio State and Syracuse among others.
It’s almost mindboggling how good this Kentucky class can be as now Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle and Dakari Johnson are options to join Calipari’s top rated class. It should also be noted that Johnson is a former high school team mate of Michael Kidd- Gilchrist.
A couple of things were apparent from Kentucky’s 74-28 win over Transylvania. First, Kentucky is going to be really good defensively. Transylvania came into the game wanting to launch 30-35 three point attempts, but Kentucky smothered them defensively and only allowed 20 attempts from long range, many of which were forced early and just thrown up from about 5-7 feet behind the three point line. Kentucky held Transy to just 26.2% shooting for the game and 15% from long range. Kentucky also forced 23 turnovers but while rushing and altering many shots, blocked just three.
The second takeaway? Well, Willie Cauley – Stein is much better than expected. Cauley – Stein was 4-4 from the field for 12 points, with 4 rebounds and most impressively, 3 steals. I said after the first exhibition game that I thought Cauley – Stein would be more lumbering, but you can see why he was a top WR in high school. He moves like a gazelle and has great hands. HE played 22 minutes last night, but it is not hard to imagine him getting 20-25 minutes a game and this Twin Tower defense is a scary thing to behold.
Probably the last game note is about Julius Mays. Mays left the game with a leg injury and from all indications, he will play on Friday versus Maryland.
Let’s not forget that the 6/7 ranked UK Hoops squad was in action as well last night. UK hosted an exhibition game against Bellarmine last night and came away with a 113-33 win. Samarie Walker had 19 points on 9-9 shooting and had 6 rebounds and 5 steals. Bria Goss had 16 points and redshirt sophomore Bernisha Pinkett had 15. For more info on the UK Hoops win, go here.