The majority of Big Blue Nation has their eyes set for No. 11 Kentucky’s College GameDay match up against No. 1 Georgia in football this Saturday—but Kentucky men’s basketball hosted their annual preseason Pro Day at Rupp Arena Sunday afternoon.
All 30 NBA teams had scouts on hand to watch the 2021-22 Cats less than a month before they take on Duke in Madison Square Garden as a part of the 2021 Champions Classic to kick off the season.
Here are some notable stories to come out of Sunday’s showcase:
- CJ Fredrick, Bryce Hopkins and Jacob Toppin had no contact during Kentucky’s Pro Day. Head coach John Calipari hopes to practice with a full team next week.
- Freshman big man Daimion Collins has gained 15 lbs of muscle since arriving in Lexington over the summer and fall.
- When you think of Oscar Tshiebwe, you’d typically think of physical paint play and rebounds. He proved Sunday that you can add speed to that list as well with a 3.20 second three-fourth court sprint, 10.97 second lane agility drill time and a 2.77 second shuttle run.
- Tshiebwe looked incredibly confident with his mid-range jumper. The mechanics are there to him to be a real threat from the elbow and corner and not just a muscle that plays under the rim.
- Sahvir Wheeler can get to the rack. He showed in the five-on-five half court drill that even in the iso game with a formidable opposing guard like Davion Mintz—he can make a move and blow by anyone. He still has to work on that jump shot, though.
- Calipari let some bigs bring the ball up the court. Having a forward dribble it up brings a long defender away from the paint, flattening and spreading the defense. That allows Kentucky to potentially utilize their guards off the ball and get into position to make a play and/or an extra pass to their teammate do the same.
- TyTy Washington’s game is the epitome of the term “shooters shoot.” No matter where he is on the court or what position he’s in—that ball could be launched toward the rim at any second. More importantly, he does it with confidence, miss or make.
- Kellan Grady’s court vision and awareness is as sharp as ever. He can finish with ease on a close out and had a crisp lob pass that found Lance Ware under the rim. The speed of the game from the A10 to Kentucky doesn’t seem to be a hindrance in the limited five-on-five on display Sunday.
The men’s basketball team will be featured in the annual Big Blue Madness event Friday night at 7 p.m. inside Rupp Arena, which will be the first time fans can officially see the 2021-22 team in person.