1. Zoom Zoom Zoom
If we've learned anything from Big Blue Madness, the Blue-White Scrimmage, and tonight's exhibition opener it's that the Cats are going to run the floor like no other team to date in the John Calipari era. This Kentucky team has two speeds: fast and faster. Their ability to get the ball out in transition was extremely impressive against a small, quick Clarion team that -- despite playing way up in class against one of the nation's elite teams -- was at the very least equipped to get up and down the floor. Runouts for layups, dunks and lobs were constant throughout the game as UK held a 34-0 edge in fast-break points. After the game, freshman center Edrice "Bam" Adebayo (13 points, 14 rebounds) said the best thing about being a big man on this team is knowing that, if he sprints the floor, he's going to get rewarded on the other end. Senior forward Derek Willis (13 points) added that this might be the best transition basketball team he's been on during his four years in Lexington. Kentucky racked up 29 assists on its 44 buckets, shooting 61 percent on the night.
2. Dual Point Guards
Expect to hear the term "lead guards" a lot this season in regard to Kentucky's Isaiah Briscoe and De'Aaron Fox. Technically, you can call Fox the Cats' starting point guard, but it was Briscoe who had a double-double with 11 points and 11 assists against Clarion, while Fox added 12 points and seven assists. Calipari later compared the duo to his first UK team that featured future NBA point guards John Wall and Eric Bledsoe in the same backcourt. Depending on the matchups, either guy can handle the responsibility. It's a luxury that not too many other teams in college basketball will have this season. It may also allow both Briscoe and Fox to be more aggressive on defense than a typical starting point guard would be due to having another guy perfectly capable of running the show if one runs into foul trouble.
3. More Depth Than Anticipated?
It's probably way too premature to suggest Calipari may entertain the thought of "platoons" again, but this UK team may have more depth than many have given it credit for having. How many teams could bring five-star shooting guard Malik Monk off the bench for 15 points, four assists and four steals? And it worked because the guy starting in what would have been his spot in the expected three-guard lineup was five-star freshman wing Wenyen Gabriel, who had nine points, did not miss a shot of any kind all night, and later drew praise from Clarion head coach Marcess Williams for being perhaps the most talented player on the floor. Throw in freshman forward Sacha Killeya-Jones (12 points, 3 rebounds, 1 block), sophomore center Isaac Humphries (6 points, 4 steals, 3 rebounds), redshirt freshman forward Tai Wynyard (6 points, 3 rebounds) and senior guard Dominique Hawkins (5 points, 2 assists, smothering defense on the point) and UK clearly has two very talented groups of five that Calipari can call upon to perform. "They're as good as advertised," Clarion's Williams said before predicting we'll see these Cats in Phoenix for the Final Four.