Three takeaways from Friday night’s Blue-White Game at Rupp Arena:
1. Putting the guard trio together -- finally
That happens Saturday, said coach John Calipari after his Blue team beat the White 110-94 in front of a record crowd of 16,089 for a Blue-White game. To this point, the UK coach has put his freshmen De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk on one team in practice, while his veteran, i.e. sophomore, Isaiah Briscoe has been on the other. That was the lineup on Friday night. Fox scored 31 points and Monk 26 for the Blue. Briscoe scored a game-high 39 points for the White.
Starting Saturday, Calipari will get his first look at what most figure will be three-fifths of his starting lineup. Without seeing them together yet, the coach said he doesn’t see a scenario when either Fox or Briscoe won’t be on the floor. And he expects that for 20 minutes the two will play together.
“I’m excited to play with Isaiah,” Fox said. “It’ll be fun. And it’ll make it easier for me.”
And what will the trio look like?
“I think we can do a whole lot of damage,” Fox said.
2. Dominique Hawkins could be a factor
The senior from Madison Central had an excellent Blue-White game. He hit seven of nine shots, including two of three three-pointers. He was six-of-seven at the foul line. He didn’t turn the ball over in 40 minutes on the floor.
Even though, as mentioned above, this particular team appears to have a wealth of guards, it would not be surprising to see Hawkins get some serious playing time off the bench. He’s tough. He’s athletic. He has that four years of experience. He can also bring a defensive spark off the bench.
Hawkins said Friday he believes his shooting is very much improved, something that showed in the scrimmage. He spent a lot of time in the gym getting up shots over the summer. He said his teammates are encouraging him to shoot, which helps his confidence.
Somewhere along the line, probably sooner rather than later, Hawkins is likely to play an important role in an important game.
3. De’Aaron Fox is fun to watch
It’s one thing to hear about the freshmen’s wheels. It’s another to see them in action. At least Friday night, Fox appeared as fast as advertised. He may not be John Wall-fast, but he’s pretty close. And that’s saying something.
Fox also has a flair about his game. He’s not just fast, he’s active. Yes, Fox made 11 of 20 shots, including one of four threes. He made eight of 10 free throws. But he also had 12 rebounds and five steals to go with six assists.
“You saw the speed of De’Aaron Fox,” said Calipari afterward. “One time he started walking. I said, ‘Go.’ A second and a half he shot a layup. What just happened?”
Clarion at Kentucky (exhibition)
When: Oct. 30, 7 p.m.
Where: Rupp Arena in Lexington
TV: SEC Network