CatsIllustrated - QUICK TAKES: UK vs. Kentucky Wesleyan
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QUICK TAKES: UK vs. Kentucky Wesleyan

Kentucky head coach John Calipari made a point to the Wildcats' bench during Friday's exhibition opener against Kentucky Wesleyan.
Kentucky head coach John Calipari made a point to the Wildcats' bench during Friday's exhibition opener against Kentucky Wesleyan. (Jeff Drummond/Cats Illustrated)

In our regular postgame feature, the Cats Illustrated staff offers its first impressions from Kentucky's 95-72 win over Kentucky Wesleyan in the exhibition opener on Friday night at Rupp Arena... 


This was a somewhat typical exhibition game, although I think Kentucky Wesleyan is a little better than some of the teams that the Cats will face in these tune-up games. Kentucky head coach John Calipari took the opportunity to give everyone on his roster a deep look and see who would add the "little things" that will separate playing time as the season gets started. Keion Brooks seemed to stake his claim to one of those open starting jobs with an 18-point, 8-rebound night. It seems pretty clear that this will be a vastly improved offensive club (11 3-pointers made, 20:9 assist-to-turnover ratio), but it remains to be seen if these Cats can defend and rebound the way Calipari demands that all of his teams do those facets of the game. He's not going to like reviewing film and seeing KWC shoot 56.3% in the second half or hang within 39-31 of the much bigger Cats on the glass. But those are good things to learn before you get into a season opener like Duke.


My big takeaway is that the offense is going to be good. There are too many pieces in the backcourt for them to struggle much on offense. Wheeler picks his spots, TyTy Washington is super smooth, and Davion Mintz looks like one of their better players. It's a strong backcourt. Keion Brooks came in with a great mentality and built on some nice plays early. I didn't think you could take a lot from what Tshiebwe or Ware did because physically it wasn't close to the test they'll see against Division I teams. I'm sure Calipari will get them eventually playing well on defense but it looks like a team that might need to lean on its scoring for a little while.


As expected, there were pros and cons in Friday night’s exhibition win versus Kentucky Wesleyan. Those are the facts of life when the lights are turned on for the first time of the year. Offensively, the Cats did score 95 points shooting 53.5% from the field and 37.9% from deep on 11 made 3s. Six players finished in double figures and 10 Cats played at least 10 minutes. I could make case for just about every player, but Keion Brooks and Ty Ty Washington stood out to me. Ty Ty was 7-of-9 from field and 3-for-3 from behind the arc. His court vision is immaculate. Brooks started out like a house of fire. He ended up with 18 points and drained four long balls. If he can do that this season from the 4 spot, this could be a prolific offense. What is the downer? Kentucky Wesleyan ain’t Duke. They shot 46% from the field and scored 72 points. Jomel Boyd also ended up with 29 points and he’s not Paolo Banchero. UK will have to tighten up that side of the ball quickly.