Watch: John Calipari Talks 56-38 Exhibition Win Over Missouri Western State
Kentucky’s head coach John Calipari spoke with the media after the No. 4 Wildcats’ 56-38 exhibition win over Missouri Western State on Sunday night.
The 14th-year skipper talked what he saw out of his team defensively, his relationship with Missouri Western head coach and former UK team manager Will Martin, point guard Sahvir Wheeler’s injury and more.
Calipari can be viewed the entire press conference.
Three Takeaways From The Exhibition
No Oscar, No Problem Defensively
Kentucky was without star center Oscar Tshiebwe on Sunday night. Although it was offensively obvious, freshman Ugonna Onyenso filled any gaps on the Griffons’ defensive end.
His presence down low reminded me of the defender Tshiebwe.
Lance Ware looked more like an SEC big tonight, with his added muscle. He showed some nice moves in the post and added a clever no-look pass for CJ Fredrick, which led to a 3-pointer.
Daimion Coll was quiet after showing so much at Big Blue Madness, and in the Blue White scrimmage. They won’t score any points, but that doesn’t mean they won’t. The offense still looks like someone who’s going through the NPOY while he’s on court.
How serious is Sahvir’s Injury?
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Around the midway point of the second half, point guard Sahvir Wheeler hit the deck after driving to the basket. After a brief time, he was taken to the locker room with a right-leg injury.
Wheeler did not put any pressure on his foot or leg after getting up. He also didn’t participate in the Blue-White Scrimmage, so he has already had to deal with some injury. In the run-up to Nov. 7, minor knocks have been recorded on the Cats.
Cason Wallace proved to be a solid starting guard against Missouri Western. He would not have any problem filling in for Wheeler. However, talking about players being out is not good news for the Wildcats. These things can add up and can cause a lot of stress down the stretch of a long season.
Toppin, Fredrick Excel
Jacob Toppin has taken major strides since he first put on a Kentucky uniform. This was more evident than ever Sunday night. He was the most outstanding player on the court, hitting multiple fadeaway mid-range jumpers, getting up for a putback dunk, and being a leader on defense.
He is considered a “breakout” player according to almost all of the national college basketball media. It is clear that there is potential for superstardom. Calipari has also made it clear that no one on the roster works harder than the third-year Wildcat. Although it’s only an exhibition, it seems like Toppin will go all the way this year.
After what must have felt like an eternity, CJ Frederick finally got on the court wearing a Kentucky uniform against another. He displayed his amazing shooting ability right from the beginning.
Freighting from the field and scoring 3-pointers, Fredrick scored a remarkable total of points. He was confident in his shooting stroke and never let one go. Fredrick could be the Cats’ back-up point guard this season, along with Antonio Reeves.
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