Kentucky beat Marshall on Saturday afternoon by 28 points, which is an impressive win if you look at it in a vacuum.
Marshall was supposed to be the team that would give Memphis their toughest test in Conference USA.
The problem with that?
The Thundering Herd were playing without their star, Deandre Kane. So from a macro perspective, there isn’t much that you can take out of Kentucky’s win over Marshall beyond the fact that the Wildcats played well and Marshall didn’t.
But for Kentucky fans, there was reason for hope: Ryan Harrow, the point guard pegged as the savior of the Wildcat season, played great. He finished with 23 points and four assists and, according to John Calipari, proved that he’s as good as any point guard in the country:
“When he’s playing the right way with aggressiveness, talking to his teammates, that look in his eye, he’s as good as anybody in the country right now. I’m looking around at point guards, he’s fine. That other guy – you ready – the cool guy, he’s not very good. The guy that runs in and gets bumped and falls on the floor, throws the ball, that guy is not very good. That other guy we saw? Spurts today, just play that way. Every minute you’re on the court, play that way.”
Well, I’m going to have to go ahead and disagree with that statement.
Ryan Harrow is not as good as any point guard in the country. This season, the point guard spot is as deep as it has been in years. Trey Burke. Phil Pressey. Michael Carter-Williams. Isaiah Canaan. CJ McCollum. Nate Wolters. I could keep going. For a while.
But the point that Calipari was trying to make was actually correct:
“He has a good feel for the game. He can run our team. I mean, there are point guards that are tougher than him, but if he would be tougher, then he’s just as good as them. … He’s made strides these last two weeks. Like I said, the difference in our team, he’s playing well and he’s able to put our players in a better position for themselves.” (Emphasis mine.)
The point is that when Harrow is playing well, he’s as important and effective as any point guard in the country. Kentucky as the talent. What they need is a) a player to set the table for that talent, getting them the ball where they are dangerous; and b) a guy that will be able to settle things down and get them into an offense set when things get hectic. Harrow can be that guy, and he just so happens to have enough talent to earn a spot on an all-SEC at some point down the road.
If you cut through the coachspeak and the spin, there actually is some value in what Calipari says.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.