By KEITH PEEL
I watched the UK Pro Day on Sunday and came away impressed with the length and athleticism of this year’s basketball team. I think they will be similar to the 2010 team in getting out on the break with De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk, controlling the paint area with Bam Adebayo, Isaac Humphries and potentially Sacha Killeya-Jones or Wenyen Gabriel and playing tough defense through Cal’s normal switching man to man.
It appears to me that like the 2010 team, this team will go as far as the guards’ outside shooting will take it. Kentucky will see plenty of 2-3 zone and matchup zone this season and will have to be prepared to knock down outside shots from the wings and corners if they hope to advance deep into the NCAA tournament.
They will need at least two consistent outside shooters in order to force teams to play them honest and not pack a zone back into the paint. If Derek Willis and either Isaiah Briscoe, Monk or Fox can consistently make 35 percent or more of the 3-point shots they take this team can be very successful with a deep run in March.
But if they are inconsistent in their outside shooting (like the 2010 team) they will be very beatable by an experienced team that plays physical zone defense and packs it back into the paint (think West Virginia).
Another plus for this team would be for Mychal Muldur or Dominique Hawkins to step up as a viable option as an outside shooting guard. If either of those players could complement the existing guard trio, especially early in the season, it would make this team that much more dangerous in March.
Overall this team is as talented as any Cal has had so far but they need to quickly develop a high basketball IQ to compete and win the difficult games they will encounter early in the season and overcome the physical, more experienced teams they will most likely see in their bracket in March from the NCAA Selection Committee.