Although John Wall posted big numbers in a 104-61 victory Tuesday night, something else about the Kentucky freshman impressed Hartford Coach Dan Leibovitz.
"I'm very impressed with John Wall, not just his ability," Leibovitz said. "The way he carries himself. He's respectful of the referees and he's respectful of the game. He has a bright future here and beyond."
Leibovitz likened Wall to two superstar point guards of yesteryear: Jason Williams of Duke and Mateen Cleeves of Michigan State.
"I think he's more talented than them," the Hartford coach said of Wall. "They were a little more advanced in the game as juniors and seniors."
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Wall has his sights set on a triple-double.
"I want to get one before the season's over," he said. "I had one in high school. It would feel good to get one in college, too."
Kentucky has had only one triple-double in its storied basketball history. Freshman Chris Mills scored 19 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and had 10 assists against Austin Peay on Dec. 27, 1988.
Leibovitz saluted how well UK played.
"I thought we got their 'A' game," he said. "A lot of teams would have lost to Kentucky tonight."
That made Leibovitz appreciate his team's effort.
"I was pretty proud of them despite the scoreboard," he said of his players. "They tried to the end."
Kentucky expects a large number of media and NBA scouts at Saturday's game against Louisville.
But as far as NBA scouts go, it won't be a record number.
As of Tuesday, UK had set aside nine seats for NBA scouts at the game. That's well short of the 19 seats reserved for scouts at the Cats' game against North Carolina. It's only equal to the nine reserved for UK's opening game against Morehead State.
UK spokesman DeWayne Peevy noted that the U of L game coming 24 hours after New Year's Day as a possible factor. As of Tuesday, Kentucky had more requests from NBA scouts for the upcoming Southeastern Conference opener against Georgia on Jan. 9, Peevy said.
That's not to say the UK-U of L game will not draw plenty of interest.
Media outlets sending reporters to the game include the New York Daily News, Chicago Tribune and Internet sites such as Yahoo! Sports, ESPN.com (two seats), FoxSports.com and CBSSports.com
Kentucky played Hartford without one of its four double-digit scorers. Freshman Eric Bledsoe sat out the game to rest an injured ankle.
No word on his long-term availability, but the smart money would have him playing against Louisville on Saturday.
Calipari said Bledsoe tweaked the ankle Sunday, then practiced later that day like an "absolute monster."
Bledsoe is UK's fourth-leading scorer, averaging 10.1 points. His 18 three-point baskets rank second only to Darius Miller (21) among UK players.
Patrick Patterson scored 11 points, which moved him past former teammate Jodie Meeks on UK's career scoring list. Now he's three shy of passing UK assistant strength coach Scott Padgett. ... UK had 30 assists (three shy of a Rupp Arena record) and only seven turnovers. ... The 104 points were the most scored by UK since a 108-81 victory over Tennessee Tech on Nov. 28, 2003. ... Hartford's Andres Torres suffered a possible torn posterior cruciate ligament with 4:01 left in the first half. "He's a gutsy kid," Leibovitz said. "That's all that's on my mind."