LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Transfers and Top 50 recruits dominated the conversation about the University of Kentucky basketball team during the off-season but don’t forget Keion Brooks.
Most of John Calipari’s top recruits have not stayed three or more seasons with the Wildcats. But Brooks looked like a junior primed to blossom as UK defeated Kentucky Wesleyan, 95-72, in an exhibition game at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., Friday night.
“We’ve got a long way to go,” Calipari said after the game on the SEC Network. “Our interior defense can’t be this bad … it’s an interesting start. Now we’ve got to go to work.”
Credit Brooks with 18 points. He stuck a three-point field goal 25 seconds into the game. Brooks made another 3 minutes later and then a third later in the first half. Brooks finished 4 of 6 from distance and contributed 8 rebounds.
“He’s doing better,” Calipari said. “More motor. Don’t be satisfied.”
Freshman TyTy Washington looked the part of an upgrade at running Calipari’s team. He ran the team. He pushed the pace. He defended. Washington also scored 18, making 7 of 9 shots, including all three of his 3-point attempts.
Oscar Tshiebwe, the transfer from West Virginia, had 11 points and 10 rebounds in only 17 minutes. The Wildcats finished 10 of 28 from distance and only turned the ball over 9 times.
Jomel Boyd, a transfer from Montana State Northern, led Wesleyan with 29 points.
The Wildcats came out eager to shoot from distance, taking their first six shots from behind the arc. Calipari was not crazy about that.
“Dudes, what are we doing?” he said.
Then Kentucky started to take advantage of its superior size, depth and athleticism. They led 7-0, 23-9 and then 35-14.
“It’s early, I was trying to play everybody,” Calipari said.
Kentucky returns to Rupp next Friday to host Miles College, a Division II program from Fairfield, Alabama. The Wildcats open the regular season against Duke Nov. 9 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
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