Photo by Keyli Chisesi (Go Big Blue Country)
The Kentucky Wildcats turned in a solid performance vs. Monmouth at Madison Square Garden on Saturday. The Wildcats had no trouble with the Hawks, cruising to 93-76 victory. There were a number of positives in the win and to steal a page from the game of hockey, we are going to take a look at the three stars from the game.
Third Star: Tai Wynyard
Wynyard gave John Calipari solid minutes off the bench on Saturday, which was encouraging for Wildcat fans to see. The 6-10, bruiser played twelve minutes off the bench, recording four points, six rebounds, and two steals. Wynyard knocked down his only shot attempt and both of his free throw opportunities.
With Sacha Killeya-Jones out nursing an ankle injury, Wynyard provided solid minutes in the frontcourt and hopefully, it’s a confidence boost moving forward. His numbers will not blow you away but he gets my third star for being ready to play and being efficient with the minutes he was given.
Second Star: Hamidou Diallo and PJ Washington
Both freshmen deserve the second star because of their performances on Saturday. Diallo led the Wildcats in scoring with a career-high 23 points on an efficient 8-of-13 shooting performance. The only area he struggled was at the free throw line, finishing 6-of-10. The freshman guard played 30 minutes and only committed one turnover.
If not for SGA’s day, PJ Washington would have been the first star. The freshman forward looked like a completely different player on his way to scoring a career-high 20 points in the win over Monmouth.
Washington played a total of 32 minutes and he looked good for every one of them. In addition to 20 points, he grabbed six rebounds and rejected four shots. The most impressive stat from Washington was his free throw improvement, an area he has struggled with at times. However, that was not the case on Saturday, as he knocked down all nine of his free throw attempts.
If that is what Kentucky gets from Washington, then it completely changes the way this team looks.
First Star: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
Hamidou Diallo or PJ Washington could have been the best performance but it was impossible to overlook Kentucky’s stat sheet stuffer. SGA is quietly doing everything for Kentucky and his confidence is growing with each performance.
On Saturday, the freshman guard recorded career highs in points (15), assists (9), and rebounds (6). That is easily good enough to earn him the top performance on Saturday.
Overall, a lot of performances stood out on Saturday. Expect to see major strides over the next three weeks, as the one game a week schedule allows for extra practice time entering Camp Cal.