LEXINGTON, Ky. — Best Dunker was a rout, but Best Shooter brought a much closer vote in SEC Country’s preseason player poll of the 2017-18 Kentucky Wildcats. In fact, we ended up with a tie.
Freshmen Kevin Knox, a 6-foot-9 forward, and Jemarl Baker, a 6-4 shooting guard, tied with four votes apiece — although Knox got there with two half votes as teammates were torn between him and someone else — in the sharpshooter showdown. The coach’s son, walk-on guard Brad Calipari, earned 2½ votes (including his own).
“When [Knox] puts a shot up, everybody thinks he’s going to make it,” center Nick Richards said, “so everybody just gets back.”
As for Baker, he was the least-heralded prospect in Kentucky’s top-ranked recruiting class, but he is already turning heads. Last week, former Wildcats star Rex Chapman said Baker can shoot it like longtime NBA 3-point sniper Dell Curry and UK legend Tony Delk.
“People are not as familiar with [Baker] because he was a late signee and he wasn’t really in some of the major [high school all-star] events where you could see us on TV and stuff,” 5-star freshman Jarred Vanderbilt said, “but I think he’s going to surprise a lot of people.”
Another of Kentucky’s McDonald’s All-Americans had similar praise for Baker.
“He shoots the lights out,” forward P.J. Washington said. “He’s definitely the surprise. He’s the best shooter I’ve ever played with.”
That Knox is even in the conversation is impressive, considering he’s a towering forward with a 7-foot wingspan.
“His shooting motion is extremely fluid,” junior guard Dillon Pulliam said. “I think that really speaks to Kevin’s versatility. He can handle the ball well, shoot the ball well and guard multiple positions. One thing that will stand out early when people watch him is definitely his shooting ability.”
Freshman shooting guard Hamidou Diallo is a freakish athlete — he won our Best Dunker poll in a blowout — but isn’t necessarily known for his stroke. That hasn’t impacted his confidence.
“We have a bunch of great shooters,” Diallo said. “Game-winning shot, I’m going with Hamidou Diallo.”
More 2017-18 Kentucky previews
- Calipari sees 2014 Cats, good and bad, in this group
- Wenyen Gabriel is a fighter, and UK needs him to be
- What the Wildcats will miss while Vanderbilt is out
- Full 6,500-word John Calipari preseason Q&A
The post WATCH: Kentucky basketball players vote on the 2017-18 Wildcats’ best shooter appeared first on SEC Country.