Well that was fun as a record 15,035 cheered their Kentucky Wildcats on in the Blue/White game. After a dominant first half, the Blue team turned up the screws a bit in the second and won going away. There was a ton of offense and a good bit of defense as well. You may say, “well duh, the White team only scored “ but there wasn’t a lot of continuity with that group, regardless of who was switched from the Blue team. For about a 5 minute stretch to start the second half, the Blue team kept throwing it to the White team on outlets and after turnovers because they were former teammates in the first half. It got pretty comical.
But in a game where we got a chance to see what each of the players could do, I’m not sure if I am more impressed with James Young or Derek Willis. Both are long and lean, quick and agile and spread the floor like not many others on the team. They both attacked the basket and popped out for 3-pointers. Both played very tough D and both were excellent communicators.
Dakari Johnson showed out some in the second half as he is putting to use what he’s learned about creating space down low. Using his 265 lbs to push defenders around and establish position, he managed a double-double and showed his free throw stroke. He still has a way to go with polish and finishing around the rim but his purpose isn’t to be Julius Randle so his rebounding will be important when he’s in there.
Alex Poythress is much leaner and fitter but disappeared at times. I was expecting to see a new and improved attitude and aggressiveness but that wasn’t on display in the second half either. He didn’t look lost or disinterested but he didn’t show out.
Overall, the scrimmage was fun to watch. A lot of the players performed well and all played hard but there is still much work to be done. What stood out the entire game is just how long this team is. I mean you look at the player bios and you see anything from 6’5”-7’0” and think “they’re tall.” But then you watch smaller guards like Polson and Hawkins go in the post and there is absolutely no room for them. They can barely even get a shot up. And to make matters worse, you have Alex Poythress, James Young and Derek Willis who are as comfortable popping 3’s as they are in the post. This team will be scary. SCARY!!!!