Kentucky Basketball: Grandpa Grady leads short-handed Cats past Bama

Kentucky Wildcats guard Kellan Grady Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports
Kentucky Wildcats guard Kellan Grady Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports /
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Kentucky basketball
Kentucky forward Jacob Toppin ( Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY ) /

Jacob Toppin gets a surprise start and delivers playing entire game

Normally the first player off the bench to bring the energy boost, Jacob Toppin got the starting nod with the shifting of Mintz and Grady to the starting guard spots. We didn’t have to wait for his instant energy as it was on display the entire 39 minutes of action on the court.

Toppin has played through some injuries and played his way into more minutes. How Calipari is finding minutes for these guys is a masterful work of art. Toppin just made his case that he deserves more playing time as well.

He even banked home a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired.

His progression year this year will make him a valuable asset down the stretch of this season as well as one of the better players in the SEC next year if he comes back.

He is always around the ball and the rim and his energy is contagious.

So what did they do to help them get back in the game Toppin was asked?

"“This is Kentucky basketball. People come into our arena, we go to people’s arenas, and the first five minutes of the game, everyone’s hitting every shot because they’re excited to play Kentucky. That’s how it is all the time, and we already know. Coach always emphasizes staying the course, just keep grinding it out. And that’s what we do. We kept running, we kept getting into their legs. And guess what? They stopped making shots late in that first half. So we just have to keep pushing through things, and know that basketball is a game of runs and that’s what we did.”"

Toppin, Lance Ware, and Keion Brooks are the guys who have been through the highs and lows of this program over the past season but they are the glue that holds the Wildcats together all their special ways and minutes on the court.

When called upon they deliver in ways that don’t always jump off the stat sheet.