1. Stellar Backcourt Play
Kentucky's expected three-man starting backcourt of sophomore Isaiah Briscoe and freshmen De'Aaron Fox and Malik Monk lived up to their preseason hype as one of the best in the country. The trio accounted for 96 points with Briscoe scoring 39 points and dishing out 10 assists for the White squad, displaying the improved jumper (a pair of 3-pointers) and free-throw shooting (9 of 12) that prompted his return to Lexington for another season. Fox posted 31 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and five steals, while Monk chipped in with 26 points and some of the night's biggest highlight reel plays on a handful of crowd-pleasing dunks for the Blue squad. Afterward, UK head coach John Calipari said the three guards will practice together on the same team for the first time Saturday as he prepares to get his rotations established going into the season. That's a scary thought for future opponents of the Wildcats. Asked what that will look like, Monk, never longing for confidence, replied: "Unstoppable."
2. Don't Forget Us
As good as the Briscoe-Fox-Monk trio was, UK also got strong play from senior guards Dominique Hawkins and Mychal Mulder, who played with the type of poise and confidence one would expect from guys with their experience. Hawkins went 7-for-9 from the field, 6-of-7 at the line and finished with 22 points for the Blue squad. Mulder had 18 points for the White team, knocking down four of his five attempts from the 3-point arc. They combined to go 6-of-8 from deep. If Hawkins and Mulder can give UK that kind of perimeter shooting in spot play off the bench, that area may not be a concern for the Cats after all. If one subscribes to the notion that guard play still dictates who emerges as champions at the end of the college basketball season, Kentucky has reason to be extremely excited about this campaign.
3. Fox On The Run
A lot of fans probably rolled their eyes and took a wait-and-see approach when Fox was hyped to be a John Wall clone during the recruiting process. On Friday night, they saw firsthand that the comparisons are not without merit. Granted, this was just a scrimmage and the Houston native has a long way to go to match the accomplishments of one of best to ever play for Calipari, but Big Blue Nation got a glimpse of the incredible end-to-end speed and athleticism to finish plays at the basket that Fox possesses. At one point, he even rebounded a teammate's missed perimeter jumper, and while still in the air, dunked it with authority. It was the type of play one expects from its forwards or centers, not a point guard. If college basketball's new points of emphasis for less physical play are indeed followed by officials throughout the season, it's hard to see anyone staying in front of Fox for an entire game without running into serious foul trouble. Said Calipari: "You saw the speed of De'Aaron Fox. Oh my gosh. One time he started walking, and I started yelling "Go!" and a second and a half later he's shooting a layup. What just happened?"
4. Defense Lacking, But Cal Not Concerned
The thought of his team giving up a combined 204 points on Friday would ordinarily keep Calipari up at night, but the UK boss said he's not at all concerned. For starters, the Cats haven't installed much of their defense. Calipari has seen enough of their length and athleticism in practice to know that facet of the game will improve. "We really guard on the ball really good. And it all starts right there," Calipari said. "... (The guards) all guard the ball, which means you're not getting broken down, having to rotate. Now Derek (Willis) is better, Wenyen (Gabriel) is really active and long and can block shots. We got to get Sacha (Killeya-Jones), Isaac (Humphries) and Bam (Adebayo) in that back line to play pick-and-roll better, taking away drives. ... But that's OK.... I think we'll be alright."
5. Injury Update
Sophomore center Isaac Humphries and redshirt freshman Tai Wynyard were held out of the scrimmage due to minor injuries. Calipari said afterward that Humphries could have played on Friday, but they staff took the cautious route with the 7-footer. He should be back at practice soon. Wynyard is slated to return to practice on Monday. The New Zealand native remains one of the biggest mysteries to UK fans after sitting out the second half of last season when he joined the program mid-year. We still really don't know what to expect from the 6-foot-10 Kiwi.