Summer League is technically not over until Monday, but for all former Wildcats, the action came to a screeching halt on Saturday. With the Celtics (Harrison) and the Heat (Herro) being the only teams with Kentucky players to make the quarterfinals, they had to win today to advance to the semi-final round. However, both lost their matchups (Harrison played, Herro did not).
For Aaron Harrison, 2019 Summer League was a bit underwhelming. He played sparingly on Saturday (4 minutes) and scored just a single point. In his 5 games, he averaged just over 4 points and never managed to have a real breakout game. I’m not sure what this will mean for Aaron’s future, but he keeps grinding and I hope it eventually pays off for him.
Tyler Herro already did more than enough to impress everyone, so not playing today had zero impact on him. During league play, he averaged just over 29 minutes a game and had 19.5ppg. His 96% free-throw shooting was better than the percentage suggests: he only missed one FT (24-25). During his 6 games, he also dished out 23 assists and had 9 steals. The only question surrounding Tyler is whether he will ultimately sign with the heat or if he will be traded. It’s hard to imagine a lottery pick’s stock actually rising in Summer League, but I think Herro made that happen.
Kevin Knox finished his league play with a very solid outing. In his 27 minutes, he scored 15 points, had 4 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks, and 5 assists. Knox was consistent throughout league play and seems to be developing good chemistry with his new teammate, lottery pick R.J. Barrett. I look for Kevin to have a solid season in 2019-20.
Mychal Mulder had another solid outing on Saturday. In 29 minutes, he scored 13 points, grabbed 5 rebounds, and added 2 steals. In the 5 games Mulder played, he was a steady performer, averaging 8.8 points and 3.4 rebounds in 23 mpg. Hopefully, this will be enough to propel him from G-League onto the Bulls’ regular-season roster.
The final Cat in action tonight was Jarred Vanderbilt. In 25 minutes, he scored 11 points and just missed another double-double having gotten 9 rebounds. He also added 3 assists and 2 blocks to his stats. Jarred was one of the better Summer League performers, averaging a double-double for the 4 games he played (11.75 ppg, 11.25 rpg). His free-throw shooting was rather mediocre (54.55%) but he did total 9 assists, 6 steals, and 3 blocks. Vanderbilt’s “glaring” issue? Turnovers. In 4 games, he had 15 turnovers, the highest of any of the Cats. But that’s me looking for some kind of obvious weakness, and quite frankly, I don’t think this will be an ongoing issue for Jarred. Watching him play did make me a bit wistful, however. Can you imagine if he’d been completely healthy for his season at Kentucky? I’ve no doubt our Cats would have been to another Final Four. (insert heavy sigh here)
Besides those previously mentioned, Gabriel, Diallo, and Johnson all had excellent Summer League performances. Obviously, free-throw shooting is a sore spot for the former two, while consistency will be the key for Johnson. Humphries and Travis didn’t stand out, but both could be assets to any team that gives them a chance, especially Travis. Derek Willis was, in my opinion, the most efficient performer of the Kentucky players. It would have been nice to see him be given more than a handful of minutes each game, but maybe the Suns will have a sudden urge to do something semi-smart and add Derek to their roster this fall.
PJ Washington is hopefully recovering from that mysterious sore foot (the same one injured at the end of last season). Of course, PJ didn’t need Summer League to impress anyone, so he’ll be fine in any event, provided his injury actually does heal and he can once again play at 100%.
Perhaps the biggest mystery of the Summer League was Skal Labissiere. He had worked out with Portland during their 4-practice training camp prior to the start of league play. He was listed on the team roster but did not travel with the team to Las Vegas. He was said to be “nursing a minor shoulder injury” but it’s unclear what his future will be with the Blazers.
Below are the final stats for all the players. Thanks for following along as we’ve followed the Cats the past 2 weeks.