What we’ve seen so far from the Bahamas Tour


Four games into the Bahamas Tour, Kentucky is 4-0, continually dominating foreign professional and national teams. Fresh off an 83-71 victory against the Dominican Republic’s national team, by far UK’s toughest opponent of the tour, the Cats now have a whole new branch of confidence to ride on. With that in mind, I’ll discuss several things that we can take away from the Cats’ performances in Nassau. Things that should make UK fans very excited.


Breakout year for Alex Poythress?:

UK fans, that haven’t been able to watch the games, will be happy to here that our beloved junior forward Alex Poythress has shown great improvement thus far and is showing signs that he’s fully blossomed into a star. He put up 20 points, including his first two three-pointers of the tour. He posted up for a layup, got an and-one layup on a mean drive and foul on former Cat Eloy Vargas, and dunked a lob pass as well. Kyle Tucker of The Courier-Journal reported “Alex Poythress’ per-40 minute averages through four games in the Bahamas: 30.5 points, 14.5 rebounds.” Not many people would’ve predicted Alex leading the team in scoring, but indeed he has. He’s put up 15.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, shooting a ridiculous 23-31 (74%) from the field. The only thing holding Poythress back now is his confidence, which you would think a 6’8″ 238 lb best shouldn’t have problems with. If everything goes as well as it should, expect Alex to have a very good season.

The emergence of Karl-Anthony Towns:

Kentucky freshman Karl-Anthony Towns has shown nothing less than pure dominance during the tour. He broke out with 19 points and 10 rebounds in their second game, against the French pro team Champagne Chalons-Reims, whom UK will play again at 1:00 pm Eastern. Towns’ play has already buzzed around the whole country, and talks are already going around, suggesting him being the number one overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. “Karl Towns is trending nationally…for an exhibition game in August” Matt Jones, creator of Kentucky Sports Radio, tweeted at the beginning of the tour. Towns even had Jay Bilas saying “Oh, God, what a talent. There’s no doubt that Towns will be special, there’s no doubt that this seven footer will be an important role in UK’s success this year.

The twins settling in at new roles:

The Harrison twins, Aaron and Andrew, are still taking in their new roles as the leaders of this team. So far in the tour, both look much better than last season, which is expected. Both look more poised and athletic, and their chemistry is stronger than ever. Aaron has completely shot the lights out, and Andrew seems to be better molded into the point guard role. Through them, the ball movement has looked 1,000 times better than last season. Last year, the ball movement was lacking sufficiency. Now, it looks sharper than it ever has. No matter how well any of the other guys play, the offense will have to run through the twins, especially Andrew playing the one spot. They’ve grown, and they’ve matured exponentially. They’re fit to be the leaders of this team.

History to be made?:

On Thursday, ESPN analyst Jay Bilas joined the UK locker room in Nassau to give the players and the coaching staff a memorable speech. Bilas told them “You have a chance to do something historic in this game this year. Not good, not really good, you have the chance to make history.”

One things for sure, Jay Bilas is right. This is truly a special team, maybe even as special as the 2012 National Championship team. We have over ten guys that could be starters on any team in the country, over ten guys that are gonna give it their all every minute they can get on the court. This season should be a ton of fun to watch for Kentucky fans.