The Cats are 4-1 to start the season with a couple of impressive performances as well as glaring changes that need to be made. This is the start that a lot of people I'd say could have predicted so the Cats seem to be right on schedule. With that said, they have continued to improve each game and player roles on the team are beginning to show. There has been a couple things I've noticed so far during the season. At the bottom of the article I have a few side notes as well.
(Picture Credit: ukathletics.com)
Kellan Grady NEEDS more shots and I think I speak for almost everyone when I say that. I honestly don't care how but it needs to happen. Grady is our best shooter in every aspect yet he's getting limited looks, why is that? In his years at Davidson he has always had really good shooting percentages and I'd say that's because he doesn't force up bad shots. It seems he's still adapting to this game speed because I've noticed him passing up on some pretty open looks and that makes me think that he is thinking and then playing rather than playing off of instincts. For him, he needs to look to do more off the dribble and not just become a spot up shooter on this team, he's too good of an all around scorer for us to limit him.
I also believe that even with all the 3 point shooters we have, Cal still is not ready to run an offense centered around getting a three every possession. Through 5 games, we are shooting 16.4 threes a game and making 6.2. Which isn't horrible but with this team that makes number needs to get into the double digits per game for us to make a deep run in March. This team is also more than capable of doing just that. With that said, this team still averages 82.8 ppg which is enough to win a lot of games so I'm very confident in this teams future. The Wheeler/Tshiebwe pick'n'roll has and I believe will continue to be the focal point of this UK offense.
Lastly, this team seems to be a second half team so far this season. With the depth that they have they have been able to run the legs of their opponents in the second half and pull away to much larger wins. It always seems like every game I'm waiting for that big final knockout blow to put the other team away for good. That second half full court pressure is the real deal and it continues to only improve each game. Wheeler at the top hounding the opposing PG and forcing them into a turnover or a quick shot which then leads to fast break opportunities and that is where this team excels.
We still have a few tune up games left before our battle with Notre Dame so there is no need to rush this team just yet. I'm excited to get everyone back to 100% healthy and gain some steam into the tougher non-conference schedule.
A couple of small side notes:
Daimion Collins could have an SC Top 10 play every time he steps on the court!
I really like Bryce Hopkins willingness to come in and do the dirty work as well as play the guard position when he is out there.
TyTy Washington is starting to get comfortable and that's bad news for upcoming opponents.