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When The Stars Align
October 20, 2017
Starkville Struggles, Kentucky Falls To Mississippi State 45-7
October 22, 2017

Historically, we never learn a lot from watching the annual Blue-White game.  What we do gain, however, is a glimpse into the potential the team possesses.  While the 2017-18 Wildcats have been getting rave reviews from performances in practices, fans were treated to some outstanding plays over the course of the scrimmage.  With a final score of 88-67, the Blue team took the win, but the score was inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.  What was important was the things we learned tonight.

We learned Kevin Knox is a stud.  It’s that simple.  Knox finished the game with 22 points on 9-14 shooting and added 7 rebounds.  We also discovered that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is good.  He is really good.  He had a very quiet 14 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists while leading the White team at the point.  We also know that it’s a good thing to have Nick Richardson on your team.  He will do anything to secure a rebound, even if it means another player takes a foot to the head (I think he got 3 different players tonight).  Richardson is also showing signs of being an excellent rim protector, finishing the game with 8 blocks to go along with his 10 points and 13 boards.

We also learned Quade Green is very talented.  Though limited to just 24 minutes because of cramping (more on the cramping epidemic later), he still managed to get 18 points and 7 assists.  And while it seems many love to focus on the newcomers, it’s just as important to see improvement in the returning players, especially when there are so few of those this year.  Wenyen Gabriel looks like a completely different player this year.  His 19 points and 4 rebounds seemed almost effortless and he was running up and down the court with purpose.  Tai Wynyard and Sacha Killeya-Jones both added 10 points and 6 rebounds each.

Looking at the team overall, there were many things to love and a few things that might give fans concern.  First of all, this team can shoot the ball and they can do it well.

The Cats shot 13-29 from the 3-point arc (45%) and were almost 50% from the field for the game.  That’s a huge positive.  The negative, and this shouldn’t come as a surprise this early in the season, is free-throw shooting.  Only making 62% of shots from the charity strike is not impressive, but with this many excellent shooters, that number should improve quickly.

Cal also has a team that is skilled at passing.   Maybe it’s my blue-colored glasses or maybe it’s just how it is, but it seems like this is a very unselfish team.  Cal might be ready to hit the panic button over the team’s defensive progress thus far, but it’s clear this team loves to pass, perhaps even making the extra pass a few too many times.

Kevin Knox also with knees iced after the game

PJ Washington with knees iced post-game

This team is filled with length and strength.  Getting up and down the floor will not be an issue for these young men.  However, conditioning is an issue, at least for the moment.  During the 2nd half, there seemed to be a steady parade of players heading to the sideline to get their legs massaged because of cramping.   Knox and Washington both acknowledged during post-game interviews that the team had much work to do in terms of conditioning.   Coach Cal summed it up like this:

Of course, we didn’t get to see a full picture of what these Cats can be.  Jamarl Baker didn’t play (injury) and Jarred Vanderbilt is still sidelined (no updates from Cal on his status).  But we saw enough to get really excited about the upcoming season.  We have a team that, from all appearances, has the right attitude, is ready to put in the work, and appear to be very eager to be coached.  In late October, that’s all we can ask for.

Follow me on Twitter @ForeverBigBlue

For live game updates, follow @CameronRadio

You can check out Coach Cal’s full post-game remarks below:

 

 

 

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Michele Brown
Michele Brown
Writer at CameronMillsRadio.com since Feb. 2015 Co-host of Big Blue Views podcast. Mom, Christian, sports junkie, golf addict and speed typist. I can cook your mama's food better than she can.

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