BOZICH | Would Kentucky beat Blue Ribbon's All-American team? Ye - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Would Kentucky beat Blue Ribbon's All-American team? Yes

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The Blue Ribbon College Yearbook did not put any Kentucky players on its all-American team. The Blue Ribbon College Yearbook did not put any Kentucky players on its all-American team.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Montrezl Harrell is a one-of-a-kind talent. I can't think of another guy I've seen at the University of Louisville who's shown Harrell's combination of strength, power and fearlessness. And he always wants to do more. Always.

Harrell earned his spot on the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook All-American first team.

Even John from Kentucky would not call into Mike Francesa's radio show to howl about that. Well, he could, but he would be kidding – or Francesa would hang up the phone.

Marcus Paige, North Carolina's point guard, is also terrific. A 39 percent three-point shooter with a 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio? Perfect. I wonder why Paige isn't already in the NBA.

Frank Kaminsky is Captain Old School, which is exactly what Bo Ryan loves at Wisconsin. Do you remember Jack Sikma? If you don't, search for Sikma on YouTube as soon as you finish reading this piece. You'll understand.

Kaminsky is Sikma. Big guy who is comfortable playing anywhere on the court. Makes threes. Rebounds well enough. Understands angles and positioning. Doesn't hunt shots. Plays like he loves college basketball more than getting to the NBA ASAP.

The other two spots on Blue Ribbon's first team went to Fred VanVleet of Wichita State and Virginia's Malcolm Brogdon.

VanVleet pocketed the keys for the WSU team that won its first 35 games last season. If you want a guy who gets everybody in the right spots and keeps the ball moving, VanVleet is your guy. I'm not sure he's a pro but in college VanVleet delivers.

Now that Louisville is playing in the Atlantic Coast Conference, I'm looking forward to watching Brogdon play. But I can't say that his numbers scream, “First Team All-American.”

Somebody enlighten me on the choice of a 41 percent shooter who averages less than three assists per game. Is Brogdon that relentless on defense? What am I missing?

Now I get to the main event: There is your Blue Ribbon All-American team – Harrell, Kaminsky, Paige, VanVleet and Brogdon.

The next question is inevitable: Would that group beat Kentucky's first five?

The answer is, “No.”

Wildcats by 7.

That would be my pick – and I'll limit myself to five of John Calipari's players.

Andrew Harrison outscored VanVleet 20-4 when Kentucky and Wichita State played in the third-round of the NCAA Tournament in St. Louis. VanVleet took four three-point shots – and missed four three-point shots. He has issues with Harrison's size.

Aaron Harrison might struggle to stay in front of Paige, but Paige would have just as much trouble stopping Harrison from releasing his three-point shot or getting to the glass. It would be a wonderful match-up.

This Blue Ribbon team features three guards. So you'll need some defensive versatility to defend. Maybe a big guy who can go on the wing and make a shooter feel uncomfortable. I'll volunteer Willie Cauley-Stein. He gets Brogdon.

Alex Poythress loves a defensive challenge. He'd have one in Harrell. Harrell would get his points and rebounds, but Poythress looks stronger and more energized these days. And as a junior, Poythress has proven that he's glue-guy, too.

Inside, Kentucky has multiple choices. Give me Dakari Johnson. Others might be more effective chasing Kaminsky away from the basket. But Kaminsky would need help on a double team to stop Johnson from dominating the block.

So there is your match up:

VanVleet, Paige, Brogdon, Harrell and Kaminsky vs. Harrison, Harrison, Cauley-Stein, Poythress and Johnson. (Some might tinker with Kentucky's lineup and employ Karl-Anthony Towns, Marcus Lee or Tyler Ulis. Duly noted.)

Wildcats by 7.

That's my call.

What's yours?

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