Anyone envious of Kentucky’s players, coaches and fans traveling to the Bahamas next week should know that ex-Cats Hamidou Diallo and Wenyen Gabriel share that feeling.
When playfully asked Thursday if he was jealous, Diallo said, “Yeah. Very.
“And,” he added of the UK players, “they get black jerseys. That’s the best thing. We’ve been asking for black jerseys forever.”
Gabriel echoed the sentiment. “Black jerseys,” he said in agreeing with Diallo. “I like that.”
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Gabriel saw a difference in some of the former teammates who returned to UK.
“Q’s body looks a lot better,” Gilgeous-Alexander said of Quade Green. “That was the biggest thing for him: getting in the best shape as possible.
“PJ (Washington) as well. His body has gotten a lot better. His skill set has gotten better. And Nick’s skill set has probably improved the most out of the three, I think.”
Of course, he was referring to Nick Richards.
Gabriel saw a difference in something less tangible than physical fitness and basketball skill.
“I noticed the biggest thing with them is their attitude is different,” he said. “They’ve been through it a year. They know what to expect. Just coming out with a different approach, a more fierce approach. They know what they’re doing. It’s what I kind of like seeing.”
UK’s incoming freshmen made an impression on Gilgeous-Alexander.
“They’re really competitors,” he said. “That’s the biggest thing that jumps out about all of them. (They) compete on both ends of he floor.”
Gilgeous-Alexander said guards Immanuel Quickley and Ashton Hagans played well in the Wednesday practice he watched.
Back in Lexington
Gilgeous-Alexander, Diallo and Gabriel were in Lexington to participate in the John Calipari Draft Academy camp. They said they enjoyed this homecoming of sorts.
“Just being part of this fraternity,” Gabriel said. “Just being able to come back and give back. And going to do (autograph) signing tours. This is my first time doing that. To feel the love. People don’t have to come to your signing tours (and) take pictures of you and stuff. I appreciate little things like that.”