basketball Edit

Wallace draws comparisons to former UK standout, NBA star

Kentucky freshman guard Cason Wallace fielded questions from the local media on Thursday.
Kentucky freshman guard Cason Wallace fielded questions from the local media on Thursday. (Jeff Drummond/Cats Illustrated)

Most freshmen coming into the college game, no matter how lofty their recruiting profile, quickly discover there are certain aspects of their high school repertoire that may not translate well to the next level.

Cason Wallace may be an exception to the rule.

The crown jewel of Kentucky's latest impressive basketball recruiting class says he hasn't had to change much about his approach since reporting to campus for workouts in June.

"My bag is pretty deep," Wallace said with with a confident grin while meeting with local media on Thursday at Memorial Coliseum.

"It's definitely a challenge, but I'm stepping up to another level, so I expected it. I can't come in with the same high-school mindset. I have to level-up."

Wallace, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard who was ranked No. 1 at his position and No. 7 overall in the Class of 2022, has drawn some comparisons to former UK standout and NBA star Eric Bledsoe. The Richardson, Texas, native has also been told by some scouts that he reminds them of a young Jimmy Butler, one of the NBA's best players at the 2 position.

"I kept hearing the comparison (to Bledsoe), so I decided to look into it and see what the hype was about," Wallace said. "I saw it, and I was like, OK, I can see where those comparisons are coming from. I see how great of a player he is, so I'm like, 'Why not?' I want to be a great player."

Wallace, who chose the Cats over offers from other top programs like Tennessee, Texas, Baylor, and Kansas, was widely regarded a shooting guard coming out of the high school ranks but says he's spending time at both the 1 and the 2 in UK's early workouts. He views himself simply as a player.

"My game is playing on both ends of the floor and being a winner, doing whatever it takes to win," he said.

Wallace's defensive ability -- and desire to excel in that aspect of the game -- should quickly endear him to his new coach. Early practices have often pitted him against veteran point guard Sahvir Wheeler and fellow newcomers Antonio Reeves and Chris Livingston.

"I love it," he said. "It's really what sets people apart. If playing defense sets me apart from the next best player, that's what I'm willing to do."

"Whatever it takes to win," Wallace added, a mindset that could also establish him as a fan favorite this season.

His weakness so far? A bit of nit-picking, perhaps.

"Throwing lobs," he blushed. "Especially when you have Daimion Collins out there."

Communication is also an adjustment, as well as learning when to speed up and when to slow down, Wallace said.

There's not much slowing down, however, when the Cats have the ball.

"I love the way (Wheeler) plays and the pace he brings to the court," Wallace says. "It will force everyone else to get up and down. That's the way we want to play this year.

"... We've got a good defensive team, and defensive turns into offense. We're athletic, we have length, so getting out and running should give some good highlights this year."