- Eamonn Brennan, ESPN Staff Writer
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In case you missed it, Kentucky freshman Brandon Knight had himself quite the three days in Windsor, Ont., this week. He scored 31 points on 19 field goal attempts in his debut, before dropping 17 points and 12 assists in his second game and 25 in his third. Naturally, Kentucky rolled its opposition -- the University of Windsor and Western (Ontario) University -- like the 1992 Dream Team in Barcelona. (OK, maybe it wasn't that bad. Just look at some of these scores!)
Which is all well and good. Kentucky fans should be super excited about Knight's inherent ability; he appears ready to step on Kentucky's campus and seamlessly take John Calipari's point guard reins. Some exuberance is warranted.
Still, exuberance exists on a fine line between "warranted" and "irrational," and Big Blue fans are already veering dangerously toward the latter. From the always-thoughtful Cats fans Truzenzuzex at A Sea of Blue:
Brandon Knight is really good. No, let me restate that -- he is terrific. There was little doubt about that to begin with, but now, all doubt has been blasted away. Knight can score, dribble, run and jump at the highest level. And his leadership is already showing. In my judgment, he is likely to be a better college player than John Wall.
Ahem. This is where we should probably slow down just a little bit.
Sure, Knight has that potential. But John Wall was an All-American as a freshman. He led a dominant team of NBA talent to a 35-3 overall record and an Elite Eight appearance. He was as physically gifted as any player we've seen in the past 10 years, and his intuitive leadership ability was almost unnatural for a player his age. He wasn't perfect -- you could make the argument that DeMarcus Cousins was vastly more productive -- but man, Wall was really good. He was the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft for a reason, you guys.
This isn't to pick on the gents at A Sea of Blue -- who, as I wrote earlier, are the best fans writing about Kentucky hoops out there -- nor is it a dour attempt to dampen Kentucky fans' expectations. Don't get me wrong. Knight is going to be really good, too. As a matter of ability, his shot off the dribble could make him a more dangerous scorer than anyone on the 2009-10 Wildcats. But better than John Wall? After three exhibition games in Windsor?
It's almost unfair to saddle him with those kinds of expectations, just as it was unfair to expect Tyreke Evans to be the next Derrick Rose, or Wall to be the next Evans. Calipari, a master at downplaying expectations himself, would probably say the same thing even if he didn't necessarily believe it. But in this case, he'd be right.
If Knight is doing the same things to SEC competition in February, then we can discuss the Wall-Knight superiority battle. Until then, though, we should probably take it easy. August exhibitions are great, but Brandon Knight has a long way to go before he reaches Wall's lofty standard.