[Source] - So what's going on with the Wildcats and Blue Devils, and can their issues be fixed moving forward? We talked to opposing coaches and scouts to figure it out.
"They're probably at their best with either [Sarr] or Jackson in the game, but not both. Jackson is much less nuanced than Sarr in terms of back to the basket, but Isaiah just flies around and makes things happen," one coach said. "He blocks a ton of shots, he's all over the offensive glass, finishes lobs, putbacks around the rim. Plays with a lot of activity. So he needs to be out on the floor. Sarr and him are two of [Kentucky's] five best players, but [you] can't play both. ... Neither one of them stretches the floor, so you're not in a position to play both of them together, unless they say, 'Hey, we're gonna play bully ball.' Then you're gonna see teams zone them."
Hmm, sounds familiar, almost like every single tweet I have during a Kentucky game or what I say in every blog after a Kentucky game. It's time to modernize the offense and lineup. Yes, part of it is getting Keion Brooks back from injury. That truly is the biggest step for this team. Putting him in the 4 spot as a guy who can catch and shoot and finished the season strong is so important to this team.
But it's this simple. STOP PLAYING OLIVIER SARR AND ISAIAH JACKSON TOGETHER. It's wild that this is still happening through 4 games. Yes, Calipari is stubborn. Talk to any person that ever played for him and they tell you he does this because it pays off in March. We see it all the time. Kentucky looks like shit early and then they are the favorite to win it all, no matter what seed they have. That's true this year with Devin Askew. It can't be true with playing Sarr and Jackson together.
That weird thing is Cal does play just 1 big, but with the shitty lineup when he plays Toppin at the 4 and Ware at the 5. Why not do this with your better 5? Dontaie Allen is the guy they need to target. He's a knock down shooter, a year removed from injury who should be playing more minutes. He's long enough to keep switching defensively and can still run that zone if they want. Start Sarr, that's fine. Jackson has more energy off the bench anyways, even if he's the better player. But the fact is they need to start adjusting Sarr/Jackson together.
Don't believe me? How about listening to an actual coach:
"Their two greatest strengths, I think, is they have a chance to be a great defensive team and a great transition team. Askew helps on both sides of that. ... Coach Cal is way too good at this. If I had to pick a side to be on, I think I'd be on the side of they're going to figure it out."
Yes, this team sucks right now. I firmly believe that. But will this team suck come March? Hell no. Get your laughs in now. Enjoy the loss to Georgia Tech and Richmond. Enjoy the lack of shooting against Kansas. Shit, enjoy the lack of offense against Kansas. We're in the middle of Camp Cal right now. One simple change and this team will be just fine. Listen to me, listen to other coaches.