Photo by Adam Spivey
Kentucky Basketball

Notes from UK's Men's Basketball Practice

August 1, 2018

Kentucky held it's first open practice today and, as expected, the gym was full of media members excited to report on the Cats. UK has asked us to not talk about specifics of what we saw so I'll just give some of my general notes. 

•First and foremost, Ashton Hagans was the most impressive player by far. The fact he should be a senior in high school right now is crazy but he created quite a few "oohs" and "ahhs" from the media members. He was ultra quick with the ball and has the ability to blow past anyone and finish around the rim. On top of that, he was smooth and under control in transition. He's going to be a guy to keep an eye on next week in the Bahamas.

•On the other hand, Immanuel Quickley struggled a bit today. In the scrimmages, the teams were broken down like this: Quade Green, Tyler Herro, Keldon Johnson, PJ Washington and EJ Montgomery were on one side while Quickley, Hagans, Brad Calipari, Reid Travis and Nick Richards were on the other team. Quickley struggled a bit keeping Quade in front of him on defense and made very few plays on the offensive side. He may have just had a bad practice, but it will be interesting to see if he turns it around next week.

•Quade seems to have embraced being the team leader. He looked much more in control as a floor general and was constantly looking to set guys up as opposed to scoring. 

•Reid Travis, PJ Washington, and EJ Montgomery looked very comfortable taking the 15-foot jump shots. Travis said before practice that Calipari wanted him to work more on his perimeter game, and it looks like he told the other big guys that as well. Montgomery in particular has a nice stroke and I wouldn't be shocked if he is taking corner 3's by the end of the season.

•Tyler Herro can get to any spot on the floor he wants and score. He was hitting everything from 3's, stepbacks, floaters and putting lobs up for the big guys. There is room for him to grow as a playmaker, but early Devin Booker comparisons are not unrealistic for him. 

•Keldon Johnson made a few plays but he has all the tools to be special. He is a legit 6'6-6'7 with extremely long arms. Outside of him the Cats don't really have anyone who can guard big wing players, which will be something to watch, but he will dunk on quite a few people this season.

•Calipari and Kenny Payne made it a point to tell Nick Richards to stop thinking so much and just play. This seems to be the point of emphasis for him this year.

Altogether, the Cats looked to be in great shape, comfortable with one another and played at a very good pace for most of practice. The Bahamas will be a good litmus test for this team and show everyone how they play against actual teams and not just each other.

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