LEXINGTON, Ky. – Add Duquesne coach Jim Ferry to the list of opposing coaches turned true believers in Kentucky basketball after he watched his Dukes get demolished, 93-59, at Rupp Arena on Sunday night.
“It was one of the most talented teams I’ve seen with their length, athleticism and depth,” Ferry said of the second-ranked Wildcats, who will likely move to No. 1 on Monday afternoon. “When John (Calipari) gets these guys playing this hard, it’s overwhelming. At times, we felt we couldn’t make a pass. We couldn’t get past anybody – and when we did, the ball was blocked.”
Kentucky (4-0) held Duquesne (2-3) to 20.7 percent shooting in the first half and 30.4 percent for the game. The Cats had 11 steals and 10 blocks. Eight players scored at least five points.
The starting backcourt of De’Aaron Fox, Isaiah Briscoe and Malik Monk combined for 43 points, 16 rebounds, 11 assists, 7 steals and just 5 turnovers. Freshman forward Bam Adebayo went for 12 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 steals – in just 24 minutes.
“They had relentless attack and speed,” Ferry said. “The closest thing I’ve seen to this was when my LIU (Brooklyn) team went to the (NCAA) Tournament and we played North Carolina with Harrison Barnes at the three, (Tyler) Zeller and (John) Henson. Their length, athleticism and speed, I just think these guys are at another level than that even.”
He’s talking about the 2010-11 Tar Heels, who were a No. 2 seed in that year’s tournament and lost, coincidentally, to Kentucky in the Elite Eight. So what sets the 2016-17 Wildcats apart?
“They just keep coming,” Ferry said. “We had clips that we made in our scouting report (showing) on made baskets, when someone was scoring on them, they were at the rim at the other end of the court laying it in, in three seconds. We had about eight clips of that – and again, against Michigan State, who’s a high-level team.
“It’s just so challenging, the size and length of the guards, how quickly they attack and they play very unselfishly.”
He was especially impressed by Briscoe, a New Jersey native who as a sophomore is leading the Wildcats in scoring – but also just leading the Wildcats.
“I’m a New York guy, so I’ve seen him grow,” Ferry said. “I think the development of his game is really setting the tone for the impressive tempo which they are playing at. It really is relentless.”