April 3, 2014
Here are my thoughts about each Kentucky Wildcats Men’s commit after watching them in the McDonald’s All-American game last night.
Tyler Ulis @tulis3 Stat Line 2-5 from the field, 5pts, 3ast, 3rebs, 2stls in 16 mins
Watching Tyler Ulis play was like watching poetry in motion, in other words the kid had a fluid movement on the basketball court about him. He’s always under control and in rhythm with the game. I love the way he led the team on the court. He was always looking to get the other players involved, before looking for his own shot. If some of the other players would have converted some of the open looks Ulis created for them, he would have ended up with more assist than 3 tonight. Although Ulis is a small guard, he has above average court vision, plus he pulled down 3 rebounds, so he’s not scared to battle among the trees. He is a true point guard, with a nice jump shot too. Some in the Big Blue Nation questioned his size, but this kids heart and talent will make up for that when he gets to campus. He will be a fan favorite. He needs to get stronger to be able to play defense on the bigger guards in college, but that will come as his body mature’s over the next few years at Kentucky. Tyler size of 5’9 didn’t keep him from impressing everyone in practice, or during the All-American game. This kid is the real deal, and will be one of the Greats before he’s finished with his Big Blue Career. Good Luck T. Ulis and I can’t wait to see you play in the Blue and White next season.
Devin Booker @DevinBook Stat Line 3-8 from the field, 2-3 from the 3pt line, 8pts 1ast in 17 mins
Devin Booker is a big guard with a text-book release on his shot. He looked bigger than 6’5, I believe he will grow to 6’6 or 6’7 before it’s all said and done. Coach Calipari will not have to teach this kid the fundamentals of the game, because Booker is fundamentally sound. He sat down on defense, plus he runs the court well for his size. The kid can really shoot the ball. One shot in the game he released with confidence from well beyond NBA range. It went in and he ran back down court like he’s use to those kind of shots falling. Although, he was unable to display his mid-range game in the game tonight, the Big Blue Nation will have visions of Doron Lamb when this kid suits up for the Wildcats next season. If the Twins leave, I can see Calipari turning to Booker to share in on some of the back up point duties when Ulis is not in the line-up. He is clearly a starting 2 guard at the next level. Congrats D Book, and it will be fun watching you develop your game next season for the Kentucky Wildcats.
Trey Lyles @TreyMambaLyles Stat line 3-7 from the field, 8pts, 8rebs, 2ast, 2 stl in 17 mins
Trey Lyles was very impressive tonight. He quietly allows the game to come to him. Tonight he had one of the best stat lines of all the Kentucky recruits. He almost had a double double in 17 mins of play. That’s absolutely ridiculous. I have watched some college players in my time with more mins played, but struggle to pull down 8 rebounds for the game. He will be another double double monster for Calipari, after the Beast Randle leaves after one season. Although he and Randle are 2 different types of players at the same position, I believe they both could learn from each other’s game to make them better all around players. I understand Julius will probably enter the draft after this season, so technically they will not be able to help each other’s game next season, but the patience that Trey Lyles displays on the court is what Julius has tried to figure out all season. Trey does everything well on the court, from passing, to shooting, and with his back to the basket. The one thing Calipari will have Kenny Payne work on with Trey is his assertiveness. That’s what Julius has now that Trey will need to learn and that’s the will to take the game over. This in my opinion will make Lyles game complete. When Lyles chooses to take over the game the sky is the limit for this kid. This is not promoting Lyles to go away from the team game, for personal success, so don’t get me wrong. There is just certain points in a game when a player feel they need to take over. With the skills that Lyles put on display last night he has the ability to do that for the blue and white next season when he’s called upon. I’m pretty sure he’ll be wearing some of those Mamba’s while taking over next season for the Kentucky Wildcats.
Karl-Anthony Towns @KATis32 stat line 3-8 from the field, 6pts, 5rebs, 2blks in 19 mins
First things first, that blind-folded dunk in the Jam Fest is one of the best dunks I watched during the Jam Fest. That takes a lot of skill to not only get to the rim from the 3 point line blind-folded, but to wind-mill it at the rim too. I believe that will go down as one of the best underrated dunks taken for granted in McDonald’s All-American game history. Nice job big Fella. Karl-Anthony Towns is a big man with skills. It’s hard for a big man to get off in these guard driven all-star games, but Karl still made his presence felt with 2 shot blocks last night. Towns has the length and size to control the paint for Kentucky with his blocking ability. Karl is a 7’0 big man that’s not afraid to shoot from deep and put it on the floor. Calipari will have to fight with him like he did with DeMarcus Cousins, and Anthony Davis about limiting those outside shots, but Cal will probably allow Karl to take one or two for the game. Banging in the paint is what will make Karl the better version of himself. Towns reminds me a little of Dakari in the beginning of the season, in that he just has to get his body stronger and in great shape to see his full potential take flight on the basketball court. Towns stays attached to the game, although some of the guards from the East wasn’t getting him the ball. He too will be a great at the University of Kentucky before he’s done, plus he will be able to get better quickly banging with Dakari next season.
Alyssa Rice @lyss_45 Stat line 3-5 from the field, 6pts, 2rebs, tied 4blks in 20mins
Rice is the number 20 recruit in America by ESPN. Rice help lead the West team to victory with a game high 4 block shots. She is 6’3 with the ability to defend with her wing span. She is agile, she defends well, and has a great touch around the rim. She will be another gem for Mitchell’s UK hoops next season. I can’t wait to check her out during 2014 -2015 Big Blue Madness.