LEXINGTON, Ky. — A record Blue-White scrimmage crowd saw a rush of speed, a flurry of dunks and not too much defense Friday night as Kentucky showed its first glimpse of game action.
Blue beat White 110-94 as Kentucky’s young trio of guards: Isaiah Briscoe, De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk combined for 96 points.
Here are three takeaways from what the Wildcats showed.
De’Aaron Fox is fast
The freshman guard’s speed was the sensation of the scrimmage. The Wildcats have said over and over that they want to play fast, and Fox will no doubt push the pace when he’s in.
Just how fast is Fox?
“I say John Wall fast when he was in college,” senior guard Dominique Hawkins said. “He flies with the ball when he gets it. I haven’t played with a teammate like that before.”
Coach John Calipari said after the scrimmage that he expects either sophomore point guard Isaiah Briscoe or Fox to be on the floor at all times for Kentucky. The two were matched against each other Friday and neither could contain the other. Fox finished with 31 points and Briscoe slashed his way to 39.
Defense needs work
Players were throwing playful lobs to each other by the end of the scrimmage, but even when the intensity was at its highest, both sides had trouble making stops.
Freshmen big men Bam Adebayo and Sacha Killeya-Jones picked up plenty of fouls to have disqualified them from a real game. Killeya-Jones had at least eight before the first half was even over. Freshman Wenyen Gabriel can guard just about every position for the Wildcats, including with Adebayo and Killeya-Jones inside, but Calipari said the Wildcats need work defending the rim.
“I told them at halftime, ‘You can’t let Isaiah (Briscoe) just get to the rim,” Calipari said. “Make him pass, make him throw it.’ And they didn’t.”
Not too much stock can be put in a scrimmage, good or bad, but interior defense looks to be the primary weakness for the Wildcats.
Backcourt looks to be one of the best
Freshman guard Malik Monk captured the Rupp Arena crowd Friday night with a monster slam, but the entire backcourt trio of him, Fox and Briscoe put on a show.
Monk and Fox were paired on the Blue team, Briscoe on White, and the three combined for 96 points in the game.
Calipari has room to mix and match his lineups, but his arsenal of guards looks special. Monk was asked if Kentucky has the most talented backcourt in the country. “Ever,” he joked.