Photo by Keyli Chisesi (Go Big Blue Country)
Did you know freshman Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was this good? If you answered that question no, dont worry, I didn’t know either.
Everyone knew the backcourt names Quade Green, Kevin Knox, and Hamidou Diallo but the name that has emerged to the forefront through two exhibition games is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
Gilgeous-Alexander, a 6-5 guard from Hamilton, Canada, was the third commitment for the 2017 class and by far the most overlooked. He got his first start as a Wildcat in Kentucky’s 92-67 exhibition victory vs. Morehead State on Monday night.
Calipari has raved about SGA’s length and ability on the defensive end. However, on Monday night, the UK freshman turned in a solid offensive performance, finishing with 17 points on 4-of-6 shooting, including 8-of-10 from the free throw line. Gilgeous-Alexander scored in various ways, such as getting to the basket, knocking down a mid-range jumper, getting to the line, and knocking down his only attempt from long range.
In addition to being the third leading scorer, he finished second in rebounds and assists with four in each category. He also added two steals, second to Green’s game high of four.
Of all the players, SGA appears to be in the best physical condition with only one exhibition game remaining on the preseason schedule. He played a game-high 32 minutes on Monday night, which was six more than Green and Diallo. He also only turned the ball over a single time, despite handling the ball a significant amount.
Through two exhibition games, he is averaging 11 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals, while shooting 85.7 percent from the free throw line. Gilgeous-Alexander has also connected on both of his three-point attempts.
He might not have been a five-star talent in high school but through two games, it is clear he belongs on the floor.