UK BASKETBALL | 4 takeaways from Blue-White Scrimmage

10/27/2015 10:31 PM

LEXINGTON — Big Blue Nation got its first real look at the 2015-16 Kentucky men’s basketball team on Tuesday night at UK’s annual Blue-White Scrimmage.

The Wildcats played a full 40 minutes in front of over 15,000 fans at Rupp Arena, with the White Team ultimately prevailing, 74-66.

Here are four early takeaways from Kentucky’s first full-length competition:

1. Skal The Superstar

The No. 1 overall prospect from the 2015 recruiting class is pretty good at basketball, believe it or not.

Skal Labissiere, the 6-foot-11 freshman forward from Haiti, displayed his full arsenal during the scrimmage, finishing lobs, swishing sky hooks, and swatting shots into the stands.

Labissiere finished with 18 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks, two assists, and a steal during the scrimmage and should be a dominant force on both ends for the Wildcats this season.

2. Point Guards for Days

What a terrible thing it is to have three five-star point guards fighting for minutes in your backcourt.

Returning sophomore Tyler Ulis looked every bit the floor general that John Calipari labeled him during the offseason, dishing out a ridiculous 10 assists in the first half alone and finishing the night with 15 assists, 10 points, and just three turnovers. Ulis displayed complete control of the UK offense, and the Wildcats will go as far as its diminutive leader can lead them in 2015-16.

After a slow start, much-hyped freshman Jamal Murray found his stroke late in the first half, swishing a high-arching floater down the lane followed by a falling-out-of bounds three-pointer just before intermission. The Canadian sharpshooter finished with 17 points, six assists, four rebounds, and two turnovers, and looks to be the most dynamic scorer on the UK roster.

And don’t forget about Isaiah Briscoe. The other 5-star freshman guard at Kentucky scored six points in the opening 90 seconds and finished with 16 points, five assists, and four steals. Calipari mentioned earlier in the offseason he feared Briscoe would defer to veteran teammates when out on the court (specifically to Tyler Ulis), but the New Jersey native came out with confidence on Tuesday night — an attitude that hopefully carries over into the regular season.

3. Alex Almost Back

Senior forward Alex Poythress looked to be around 75% earlier this month at Big Blue Madness after knee injury cut short his junior year, but the former McDonald’s All-American appeared to be back near full strength on Tuesday night, posting 17 points and seven rebounds while also making an impressive three of four attempts from behind the three-point line.

Poythress is the grizzled veteran on what is an otherwise young and untested Kentucky roster. If he’s anywhere near 100% during the 2015-16 season, he’ll provide much needed reliability in UK’s quest to return to the Final Four for the fifth time in six seasons.

4. Willis Wants Minutes

Junior forward Derek Willis made his case to escape the bench and log meaningful minutes, not allowing an injured finger to stop him from scoring 14 points on 6-9 shooting, 2-3 from distance, while adding three rebounds, two blocks, and a steal.

The Bullitt East High alum watched seven of his teammates leave school early to declare for the NBA Draft last season and figures to be a mainstay in John Calipari’s rotation this year.

Next Up: Kentucky’s first exhibition of the season against Ottawa University on November 2 at Rupp Arena.

Check out highlights from UK's Blue-White game tonight.For more highlights and takeaways of the scrimmage: #WeAreUK

Posted by Kentucky Sports Television on Tuesday, October 27, 2015


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