Balanced offense strikes the needle for Kentucky: “All of them can play.”

John Calipari on Reed Sheppard, Justin Edwards

Kentucky put up 96 factors towards Saint Joseph’s with 5 gamers scoring in double figures and three going for 20-plus — probably the most since John WallDeMarcus Cousins and Patrick Patterson did it in 2009. The Wildcats assisted on 24 of 33 complete made baskets with 5 gamers contributing at the least three dimes and two with six apiece, simply 9 turnovers. And all of it got here on 51.6% taking pictures general and 48.0% from three.

It might not have been an ideal offensive effort, however it’s arduous to get a lot better than that throughout the board.

DJ Wagner and Tre Mitchell went for 22 every, adopted by Antonio Reeves with 20. Rob Dillingham added 13 whereas Justin Edwards contributed 12. Perhaps probably the most spectacular a part of all of it? Solely two gamers shot greater than 10 photographs. It was a balanced and unselfish scoring assault with no actual counter from the Hawks. Their solely response was to hit photographs proper again.

And most groups aren’t going to hit 15 threes in a recreation towards this group.

“All of them can play. How about, we had all guys in double figures and Adou had seven?” Calipari stated following the win. “And though he didn’t get in double figures, (the) plus/minus (chief) was Reed (+16). However the factor I’ve informed them, even the final recreation, we had seven guys have between 8 and 10 photographs. So you’ll be able to’t say, ‘Nicely, I don’t get my photographs.’ No, you bought them. What are you doing with them? You’re one for eight. Don’t come speaking to me.”

Kentucky is enjoying a method that creates open appears and maximizes every try. The amount might not come, however the alternatives for good photographs are at all times there. That’s one thing not many groups in faculty basketball have.

And if they fight it with the mistaken dudes, these coaches is perhaps searching for jobs.

“While you play this manner, there’s extra weight on a shot as a result of you aren’t taking 25 photographs. You’re simply not. And the best way we play, it’s a steadiness,” Calipari stated. “When you have got a group like this — you’ve got totally different groups you might be watching. We don’t all play the identical. ‘Nicely, you need to play like him.’ Nicely, if I had his guys I might play like him. How about I don’t.

“The way in which we play now, there are numerous groups within the nation that may’t play this manner, and shouldn’t. Or they are going to win 5 video games. ‘Nicely, I’m simply going to play the fitting manner, although.’ Yeah, okay, now you might be searching for work.”

Is Kentucky going to launch 12 threes a recreation and rating 90 factors per contest when its trio of 7-footers make their season debuts? Perhaps, possibly not. However Calipari is assured the model of play will stay the identical.

And that’s all that issues.

“How do I play with this group? We’ve acquired to get one in all these bigs again, hopefully two. It modifications who we’re. You say, ‘Nicely, how are you going to play?’ They’ll play basketball. They’ll bounce it. You possibly can nonetheless play 5 out. You might put Tre on the 4 or him on the 5 and people guys on a fringe due to how they play and the way they shoot. However I do know what you should have is somebody close to the rim that’s 7-foot-2 that you’re not simply getting lay-ups.”

You’ve acquired 4 succesful ball-handlers in Wagner, Dillingham, Reeves and Reed Sheppard, then versatile wings and bigs in Edwards and Mitchell. And so they all work effectively collectively on the ground, actually positionless ‘basketball gamers.’

That’s the way you get a 24-9 assist-to-turnover ratio on scorching-hot effectivity in a 96-point output. And the system is in place for that to proceed.

“It doesn’t matter in case you are on or off the ball if you play basketball the best way we’re enjoying. Actually, Reed’s some extent guard, D.J.’s some extent guard, Robert’s some extent guard. You already know, we put Antonio in pick-and-rolls,” Calipari stated. “We’re enjoying with three of them at instances on the courtroom. And you then say, ‘You’ve got a whole lot of guys with a whole lot of assists.’ Yeah, they’re level guards. They’re basketball gamers.”

Kentucky is actually doing an entire lot of dribbling, passing and taking pictures to open the season. It’s paving the trail for historic offensive success via 5 video games.

Taylor Mitchell

Taylor Mitchell grew up with a deep love for sports, inspired by her family's tradition of watching games together. Hailing from a small town, Taylor's journey into sports journalism began with local high school games and community events.
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