Kentucky basketball: Report card after Auburn above, below, failing marks

Kentucky Wildcats forward Keion Brooks. Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports
Kentucky Wildcats forward Keion Brooks. Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports /

Handing out the report after Kentucky basketball falls to Auburn.

After a few hours to digest, breath, and regroup following Kentucky basketball’s 66-55 loss to Auburn on Saturday it’s time to give some grades to the players and coaching.

Devin Askew

Askew’s youth and decision-making can be called into question but he is one of the few Wildcats who looks like he is always looking to learn. He plays non stop all over the court and sometimes misses Wildcats that are open for shots, but that has steadily improved as the season has progressed.

In 30 minutes of action, he tallied 5 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists and turned it over twice.

As Kentucky looked to stay in the game with the Tigers the freshman point guard kept them close with his hustle and with that he gets a boost in grade. With continued coaching and watching film Askew will find his way and continuity even if the team as a whole doesn’t.

Grade: C+

Davion Mintz

Ironically Mintz spent a great deal of time on the Kentucky bench saddled with fouls playing just 23 minutes but ended up as the Wildcats leading scorer with 11. That alone is frightening that this was the highest point total for a leading scorer.

He was 5 of 12 shooting, grabbed three rebounds, and swiped two balls and three turnovers.

Sometimes you just don’t seem to see what Mintz does on the floor yet he contributes steadily. He just needs more breakout flashy games and better shooting percentages.

Grade: C

Isaiah Jackson

Jackson was pretty nonexistent on the floor for the Wildcats against Auburn which is unusual as he usually shows up in highlights with big blocks or fierce rebounds.

He clocked just 11 minutes of playing time was 0-3 FG shooting and 2-2 FT while getting just 1 defensive rebound and two blocks.

As a starter, you just can’t have those kinds of numbers and fail to make much of an impact. This is not his normal game so maybe gets a small pass, but if he had his usual steady game it could have been more reflective in the outcome.

Grade: C-

Brandon Boston Jr.

Boston’s production, hype, and NBA draft stock continues in a free fall.

However, coach John Calipari continues to be enamored with Boston and leaves him in games while the ones who fight and battle sit on the bench idle.

Boston was just 2-9 FG against Auburn contributing just five points, five rebounds, three stills and a team-high five turnovers.

He has played more minutes than any other Wildcat this year is 50 of 144 shooting from the field including 7 for 40 behind the arc and has turned it over 23 times.

Calipari repeatedly has criticized his flipping of balls and not taking it to the basket and he seems to shy away from any type of contact. He seems to always be completely lost on whatever plays are called and withdrawn.

Grade: D-

Olivier Sarr

This simply wasn’t a game for Sarr and he was repeatedly beaten to the basket, dunked on and contributed very little. In fact, he graded out worst of any Wildcat player at -15.

The superstar transfer everyone had hoped for just doesn’t seem to have found his way. Against Auburn, he totaled six points (3-5 FG) and grabbed just five rebounds. Calipari has told him to simply just go out and rebound the basketball.

That doesn’t seem to be sinking in. He averages just 5.5 per game and his 15 total blocks for the year are far behind Jackson’s 37.

Grade: D+

Dontaie Allen

Fan favorite and homegrown talent Allen seems to go in and out of Calipari’s doghouse for some reason with a very, very short leash.

The purest knockdown shooter that Kentucky has seems to find himself relegated to the bench more than the court. Calipari pulled him for failing to take a pair of shots on plays designed for him. Then after the most productive player in the opening half sat on the bench for the first seven of the second half.

With him, on the bench, Kentucky has little chance to win many games. He’s hit 17 of 36 threes this year and was 2 of 6 from long range against Auburn grading out at +11.

Grade: B

Jacob Toppin

Just like Allen, Keion Brooks, and Lance Ware the bench is the best part of this Kentucky team. They are true fighters and Toppin showed why the Creighton transfer needs to be on the floor showcasing just how athletic he can be. Pay attention starters.

As for the pressure on the team, Toppin addressed it after the game.

"“I don’t think there’s any pressure for us. We’re human beings. We make mistakes. Sometimes we have off nights. Sometimes we have great nights. We’ve just to deal with those."

In just over 21 minutes he was 3-4 FG, 4-4 FT, hauled down six boards, and notched a steal. Toppin was definitely the highlight on Saturday.

Grade: A+

Keion Brooks

Brooks settled in against Auburn and seemed to show what we should typically see from him. He can have better games like Florida and subpar ones like Alabama. But he can be counted on for steady play when he hits the court.

The line was a solid eight points, six rebounds, a pair of blocks, and two steals. He’ll give it his all and that is what this team needs despite him only being back three games.

Grade: B+

Lance Ware

Ware didn’t find the floor at all against Alabama but got over 21 against Auburn. Go figure. The team likes a bruising hefty presence inside since both are something Sarr lacks. Ware goes to battle and you can tell on his face he just wants to be in the game going full tilt. He supports his teammates on the floor and brings energy. His stat line (four points, four rebounds, a block, steal and assist)  won’t be flashy but that’s not what you really need from him at this point.

Grade: B


All the above is pretty well evident of where this grade comes from. Based on most fans and media reactions the grade here should be a failing one. That and the bazaar post-game comments from him. Playing favorites, odd substations, and in-game decisions.

Grade: D-