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  • The never too late report card-UK vs Duquesne

    By: Ronald "Doc" Ball

    Photo: Jeff McKinley

    General Impressions Was actually an enjoyable game as it was a quality opponent, and we played well overall. Some solid play on both ends, and some errors that will be corrected. The team has the makings to beat any team on any night. Perhaps the most optimistic feeling since 2015. The first 4 minutes gave me some concern as we played dumb and made silly errors. Once we got comfortable, things worked well. Duquesne is a much better team than they are given credit for. I would expect them to be a tourney team come end of the year.

    Jacob Toppin B- Offensively he was off but still productive. 8 pts and 8 rebounds with 3 assist and a couple miscues. Not a bad performance but not what we need against a ranked team.

    Cason Wallace B+ Again, physical size played to his advantage. 4 assists and 4 turnovers is a negative in my book. Also was 3 for 8 from the field, including 1-1 from long range. His block was a great show of athleticism and hustle.

    Chris Livingston B As I rewatched the game, I paid particular attention to Livingston. I often select a player to watch, and this morning it was Chris. The focus earned him an extra bump on his grade. Some of the stuff he did was not statistic worthy but none the less important. He was very physical in the post defensively. My fear is he ends up a "tweener" but if he can bang like he did plus step out and drain a trey, that is overcomable. Statwise, he was a poor 2 of 7 with a trey, 7 rebounds, no assists and a turnover.

    CJ Fredrick A- Boy is it nice to have a pure shooter (or two), led the team in minutes played with 31. That is not a stat I like but that does not affect the grade. Hit 4-7 from long range and 5-9 overall, giving him 14 pts. Him giving us that consistently is a huge key to our success. But as impressive was the 3 assists. Shows he knows more than just shooting. Getting the ball to the right man at the right time leads to open looks for him later in the game.

    Lance Ware C+ Leads the nation in missed 2 footers. Has his eye on the all time record. Boxscore says he was 1-4. Not sure how they got 3 missed shots. He missed that many in the first half. But enough on that, I still love what he did do. Hustle, diving on the floor and being that "enforcer" down low. I have no issue with his game at all. Its as big a part as 3-pt shooting. But most surprising, he led the team in blocked shots with 4.

    Antonio Reeves B He led the team in scoring with 18 on 5-9 and 5-6 long range. Is every bit the shooter as Fredrick but with more ability to drive. Needs to focus on turnover as he had 2, with no assists. My thoughts early in the preseason was him starting but I like Cal bringing him off the bench more. If Reeves is cool with that, as it appears, then great. I think he is that push, that going to 11 when you need that extra umph, that makes us special.

    Adou Theiro DNP Sadly. This was a game he should have played. I don't take Cal's logic on this one bit. If the players isn't the right one for a certain opponent you make them such. Otherwise its a give up attitude.

    Ugonna Onyenso A- Fell a pt short of a double double. 9 pts and 10 boards is excellent. His offensive is improving by light years. Granted, Dusquesnes is anything but tall so Onyenso had a marked advantage but still he showed much improvement with the ball.

    Daimion Collins DNP

    Oscar Tshiebwe DNP

    Sahvir Wheeler A- (but on coach's challenge, the call is reveresed) Grade A Great debut by Wheeler. 11 pts including a trey, 11 assists to 2 turnovers, 6 rebounds. What more can you ask. He looked fresh and solid. Made some smart players. Had him as a B+ but changed it to an A- after reading what I typed.

    Coaching A- My only criticism was the lack of Adou. That falls on him. However the team was ready and he is focused on our strength which is shooting long range. I did note we had an effective out of bounds play. Now lets get 2, maybe 3. Also the PR fall out from the Coal Miner is huge. Cal gets full credit for seeing what he at times pays lip service to. Its great to see Drake and Ashley Judds courtside, but the real fans are the Micheal McQuires of the world. Its the ones who can't afford it but do what they have to support the Cats that deserve the accolades!

    Officials B I hope they call it like that all year. UK will benefit from a physical game as we have the beef to do it.

    Commentators B But the last crew was better

    Other Looking to be a great year. We shot better from beyond the arc (11-19 for 58%) than we did overall (28-61 for 46%) with 5 different players making at least one (Fredrick, Reeves, Wheeler, Livingston and Wallace). That is hard to stop. 22 assists to 15 turnovers is OK, not great but OK. We won the battle of the glass by 46 to 35. Not sure if that is overly impressive due to the lack of size from the Dukes but many were eye catching rebounds, as well as ones we fought for. That bodes well. The 67% FT shooting needs to improve. And the swats continue at a pace of 11 for us, and 1 for them.