Five Takeaways From UK Pro-Day
It has been over an eight month wait, but Kentucky basketball is finally back. Last night gave a quick look at the roster and what it could become. Here are five quick things that stood out to me.
- BJ Boston is the real deal- He is the most heralded recruit that Cal has landed in the last few years, and at first glance it appears he will live up to the hype. He is a 6’7 wing with a silky smooth game and a great motor. He scored the ball in every way imaginable last night and appeared to be a tenacious defender. He is capable of playing multiple positions, including the point guard spot at times. His game and build remind me of NBA all-star Brandon Ingram, but BJ can handle the ball a bit better. He is a good bet to lead the team in scoring this season. More important is that he seems to have the alpha dog mentality that Cal likes so much. He will be incredibly fun to watch this season.
- Olivier Sarr is what puts this team over the top- They would be a super athletic high potential type of team without Sarr. With him on the roster it changes the team into a legitimate national title contender from day one. His size is imposing and he displayed an ability to run the floor well and score both inside and out. His experience will be absolutely huge for the young Cats this season. He is the best transfer that Cal has landed in his time at Kentucky. On top of that, he is the perfect player for what this roster needed. He should be able to step in and replace the production of Nick Richards from day one. If any player will challenge BJ Boston for the scoring lead this season, it will be Sarr.
- Davion Mintz was a bigger pick up than fans realized- When Mintz transferred to Kentucky from Creighton, there were fans that were underwhelmed by the addition. Those fans will be forced to eat their words later this year. Mintz can play the point and he can also play off the ball and make shots from deep. He will likely be the teams most consistent threat from the three point line. He also gives them a veteran presence in the backcourt if the youth is struggling. There is a strong chance that he will be the starting point guard early in the season, with Devin Askew taking over that role later in the year.
- Isaiah Jackson will be the best shot blocker since WCS- Willie Cauley-Stein was the last elite shot blocker that Cal has had. There have been several good ones since him but none that reached that elite status. Jackson will help return the Kentucky defense to swat city. He is super long, uber athletic, and a quick jumper with great timing. He clearly has the knack for blocking shots. That ability alone will get him on the floor quite a bit. He will be the primary backup for Sarr, but will also play along side Sarr at times. The rest of his game appears to be much further along than advertised. Most expected Jackson to be a potential two year guy, but now that seems unlikely. His motor and skill set are going to be very fun to watch.
- Don’t forget about Terrence Clarke- He has somehow flown under the radar in all of the practice chatter recently. Like Boston he is a big guard that can play all over the court. His ability to create for teammates will allow him to play point forward at times or slide down to point guard. He will likely be on triple-double watch a few times this season. It is going to be very interesting to see how Cal decides to utilize him this season. Like Boston, he is another potential lottery pick in the 2021 NBA draft.
Just having college basketball back is tremendous after all this year has thrown at us. The icing on the cake is that this Kentucky team could be a special team that returns the Cats to the Final Four. A long road is ahead and it will require some patience as the young roster grows. Enjoying the journey will be a bit easier after everything 2020 has put us through.