Jackson and Kilpatrick were two of the quickest and most active players I witnessed on any team in the Summer League.
Jackson showed his physical talents, but is still very raw, and it is visible on the defensive side of the ball. He has the ability to block a shot from just about anywhere on the court, but struggled to guard guys with speed and in one-on-one situations. He showed good help defense, which led to many of his blocks, but in the Big East you can't play defense the way he did in the Summer League.
The most promising thing I saw from Jackson was that he can have an impact without scoring. Obviously, you want him to score, but he put up zero points, six rebounds, four assists, five blocks and one steal in a victory that helped propel SLATS to the playoffs.
He still needs work on the offensive side of the ball, but he showed glimpses. He was able to knock down the three from time-to-time, as well as getting to the lane when he wanted to, which I thought he could have done more often.
The expectations for Jackson this season must be tempered. He will look like a superstar at times, and like an inexperienced freshman as well. His input will have value to the Cats this season, but as most freshman do, he will need to learn as the season progresses.
Kilpatrick may be the brightest light for the Bearcats this upcoming season. He looked a notch above everybody else on the court. He takes a lot of shots and makes a fair amount of them, but his struggles come close to the hoop.
All Bearcat fans are aware of the missed lay-up problems this team has had in the past, and Kilpatrick looks as though he is going to keep that trend rolling. His ability to get to the hoop is dominating, the problem comes when he gets there, as he repeatedly missed buckets inside eight feet. His game is suited for Big East play because he is big and quick, but none of that will matter if he can't finish near the rim.
On the defensive side of the ball Kilpatrick showed positive signs along with some mental lapses. But when the game was on the line, Kilpatrick stepped his game up. In the closing minutes of a close game against McCluskey Chevrolet on day 10 of competition, Kilpatrick showed the ability to take over a game by hitting two huge three pointers, one to tie the game, two big free throws with 24 seconds remaining and showed his best defense of the summer, which forced bad shots and turnovers down the stretch.
Kilpatrick has the skills to be a player in the Big East, I just don't know if it will shine this season. He was red shirted last season and will need to knock the rust off before competing in the Big East, something he has never experienced. Kilpatrick can average double-digits this season, but that number will grow based on how he shoots during the season and if he can finish close to the hoop.
Yancy Gates was Yancy Gates during the Summer League. He showed signs of brilliance, and as we know, signs of immaturity. Gates missed the final two regular season games and one tournament game for Mansoor Law Office, after getting suspended from "The League" for fighting with teammate Paul McMillan.
As for his actions on the court, there was good and bad. His offensive looked improved, much like his body figure. Yancy looked slimmed down and it showed on the offensive side of the ball with his quickness. But for as much good as there was, the same Yancy Gates was still present. Bad defense, trying to do too much by himself and lack of toughness on the court were all visible.
Gates is still a mystery to most and his actions over the summer broaden that mystery. Will he bring some anger and toughness to the court or will we see the same 10 points and six rebounds the Bearcats have seen the previous two seasons?
Anthony McClain was impressive this summer. He showed an ability to hit shots from as far out as twenty feet, and a nice post game. Early in the summer, "Biggie" went eight-for-eight from the field for 16 points, and added four block and four rebounds.
The level of competition may have helped McClain over the summer, but he looks healthy and in-shape. If the Bearcats can get any quality minutes from "Biggie" during the season, it will be a plus this team is going to need. There aren't many guys out there that can guard a seven-footer 15-20 feet from the hoop.
Senior Darnell Wilks looks primed for a solid final season. Wilks looked faster, and showed an ability to hit shots from the outside, much like he did down the stretch for the Cats last season. His motor never turns off and he plays in the summer like he does in the winter. With that kind of effort comes good defense and an ability to rebound and lead out to fast break opportunities which the Cats will need.
Wilks will have a major impact for the Cats this season. He has matured over the past few seasons, and his full potential will be seen this season. I expect to see the Wilks we saw in the final months of the season last year, this time it will be for an entire season.
Guard Dion Dixon was solid over the summer. He and Gates showed nice rhythm when on the court together, and Dixon showed that he can be a scorer. The problems came with his ball-handling and passing. As a guard, those two attributes are a must, and if he can't do those things, he won't be on the court.
If he is able to improve those two areas, Dixon could be a star for this team. He can shoot and can get to the hoop, and has done it in the Big East. The veterans of this team need to step-up, Dixon included. Eddie Tyree and Anthony McBride are two Bearcats people have seen little of.
Tyree showed his quickness and can knock down a shot. He was able to get to the hoop at times, and led multiple fast breaks during "The League." The defense was good, but it wasn't the Big East. He did match-up against Mark Lyons of Xavier and played ok, not great.
As a walk-on, Tyree will see limited action. How limited will depend on how everyone around him plays, and on the health of Cashmere Wright.
McBride looked raw and inexperienced at times. His left hand looks solid, along with his shooting. Defense was another thing. McBride looked lost at times, especially against Miami's Kenny Hayes, but showed good help defense throughout the summer.
Much like Tyree, there will be limited action, if any, for McBride.
Bishop looked rusty, yet in-shape and quick. His numbers weren't good, but it was nice to see him on the basketball court. He will be a huge help, especially on the defensive side, if he returns to the Bearcats this season.
Parker scored 21 points and grabbed five rebounds in his only game over the summer. If he can perform like he did last season, given that he is healthy, Parker will be an integral part to the Bearcat squad. Incoming freshman, Kelvin Gaines saw limited action as well. In his only game that I witnessed, Gaines didn't show much. He scored two points on a tough lay-up in traffic, grabbed two rebounds and one steal in eight minutes.
Don't expect Gaines to have much of an impact early in the season, it may come as he gets more fine-tuned to Big East play.