With just about half of the college basketball season over I thought it would be a good time to catch up on how Kentucky basketball has looked in the first few months of the season. For this report card the Wildcats will be judged on four categories. The first category we are going to look at is how there freshman stack up against the rest of the country.
At the start of the college basketball season everybody saw the stacked freshman class that Kentucky put together, All Americans at every position. I feel like thus far this class has lived up to the hype. Forward Julius Randle is a force in the paint and looks like he can handle anybody down on the block. He is making a strong case to be the first overall pick in next years NBA draft. Also the Harrison brothers are finally starting to play like everybody thought they would. Aaron is averaging 14 points a game, with his twin brother Andrew averaging 11. This freshman class looks to be head and shoulders above last years group.
Returning Players: B+
As far as returning players go the only two that stick out to me are Willie Cauley-Stein and Alex Poythress. Both players have stepped up and have accepted there roles on the team this year. For Cauley-Stein he has taken on the role as starting center. It seems like the young guys have looked up Cauley-Stein, literally and figuratively. As for Poythress he has assumed the role as 6th man. I feel like seeing him come off the bench is more beneficial for the team instead of having him start everyday.
Play Against Ranked Teams: C-
Kentucky’s record against teams in the top 25 is a dismal 1-3. With there only win coming against Louisville the Wildcats need to change how they play against good teams. With losses to Michigan State, Baylor, and North Carolina something needs to change in the game plan. They have plenty of time to make up for these losses. The Wildcats still have to play Missouri and also Florida twice. It should be interesting to see what adjustment are made.
Team Play: C
The worst stat that I have seen so far from this team is that the Kentucky Wildcats only average 12.3 assists per game, that is good for 228th in the country. With that being said there must be a lot of 1 on 1 play that goes on during games. The few games that I have watched it looks like they share the ball, but most of the time it is a very quick shot. There starting point guard Andrew Harrison is only averaging 3 assists per game, there is no excuse for that.
Final Grade: B
For the first half of the season I gave the Kentucky Wildcats the final grade of B. The freshman have preformed just like everybody thought they would. Julius Randle is quickly becoming one of the prime time players who will be selected in next years draft. The biggest thing the Wildcats need to work on is playing as a team. There is no way that the number 15 team in the country should only be averaging 12 assists per game.
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