In what ended up being, at times, a sloppy and out-hustled blowout, the #5 Cats took down in-state opponent Centre College in their last exhibition game. The game was led by Wenyan Gabriel who finished with 20 points (8-11 FG, 3-4 3pt, 1-4 FT), 9 reb, 1 blck, 1 steal. Other notable points were Kevin Knox 15, Quade Green 18, Nick Richards 17.
This team has a long way to go, which we got the heads-up on from Coach Cal at BBM, but to me the things that need to be fixed aren't practiced in the gym. This team dwarfed Centre and the sheer size and skill of this giant Kentucky team is what won this game. The piece that seemed to be missing was the hustle and speed. I know this was an exhibition game and things should be different next Friday at the start of the regular season, but I was hoping to see a little more. One of the biggest areas of improvement is moving feet on defense. There were many times that UK was getting behind off the dribble and hoping they could block the shot. A couple times there were loose balls on the ground and everyone stood around and watched.
Coach Cal agreed as he said, "We just have so far to go. I didn't think we passed the ball to each other in the first half. Everybody was trying to get theirs a little bit and it just looked bad. We just got a lot of work to do to be able to feel a comfort level on the court. I don't want to have to call stuff every time down, but I will."
The standouts to me were Wenyan Gabriel and Nick Richards. Wenyan because of his hustle and Nick Richards because of his play. Richards went 6-6 FG and 5-5 FT. He had greta moves down low and his hook shot was on point tonight. If we can get him playing like KAT or Davis this season, he will be the missing piece to this team. Big shoes to fill, but he is a guy that can easily do it.
Overall, I was impressed with the athleticism and skill this team is going to have. They are going to be fun to watch once they get under way. Like Cal alluded to, stick with this team because there may be some struggles early.
Next opponent as the regular season gets under way is Utah Valley on Friday, Nov. 10 at 7:00pm EST on the SEC Network. After that,
the Cats will take on Vermont on Sunday, Nov. 12 and #4 Kansas on Tuesday, Nov. 14 in the State Farm Champions Classic in Chicago.