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Would a three-guard lineup work at UK this year?

Ashton Hagans (0) could be part of a three-guard lineup this year for UK. (Jeff Houchin Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

What would a three-guard lineup of Ashton Hagans, Immanuel Quickley and Tyrese Maxey look like at Kentucky this season?

Many Kentucky fans are already envisioning that exact scenario — and apparently so are the players.

“I think we are three different guards. Ashton  is very good defensively which makes Immanuel and I better at practice since he’s going at us,” Maxey, a freshman, said after the Blue-White Game. “Immanuel is a really good shooter and really good scorer in transition. He really proved that today.

“I’m a balance of a little bit of everything. I play pretty good defense sometimes. I can score in transition and give my teammates the ball. Overall, it felt great. We go at each other at practice and make each other better. It feels good to see each other shine and do well.”

You have to admire Maxey’s honestly about his good defense “sometimes.” Not every player would admit that.

Quickley, a sophomore, certainly is on board with the three-guard lineup.

“Absolutely. With myself, Ashton and Tyrese, even though we’re all quote-un- quote, point guards, I don’t think that a label means how we play together because at the end of the day we’re all basketball players and we’re very versatile so you don’t lose anything,” Quickley said.

“Especially with Ashton and Tyrese, they’re really good on defense. Ashton’s Defensive Player of the Year for the SEC and so we aren’t losing anything on the defensive end. On offense you have a lot more space.”

Maxey said his biggest improvement since arriving at UK has been learning to get his teammates more involved and becoming “a really good lead guard” for Calipari.

“Coach KP (Kenny Payne) and Coach Cal have been really on me about getting my teammates involved, getting into the lane and getting assists,” Maxey said. “They want me to get other people going because I can score. That’s really the biggest improvement I’ve made.”

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  1. I am not impressed by talk of a 3 guard lineup. I’ve heard it before from Coach Calipari, and it usually springs from a weakness in the front court that he is trying to offset, but with any perimeter oriented approach, there must be a real (40% range) threat of 3 point shooting, and I have not seen that from any of Calipari’s teams since he has been here. Furthermore, Calipari once said that any college team that does not have a legitimate 5 is just a pretender, not a contender.

    All this talk of 3 guards this year does not bode well for the contributions the team is likely to get from Richards, Montgomery, and others who play in the front court.

    1. Correct assumption of concealing front court weakness. How can anyone really expect consistent play and production from Charmin Bros?

  2. The style of College play has change. Villanova did it with 3 guards and don’t see why Cal can make it work.

  3. It could work here, but Calipari’s track record with sharp shooting perimeter players has not been that strong IMO

    1. I agree Professor. Cal always goes for the “athletic” shooting guards that when in HS, they make a living driving the ball inside and overpowering smaller opponents. However, once they get to college and have 7 footers to go against, they don’t get the same results and most of them can’t shoot much over 30% from three.
      He needs to always go for at least 1 pure shooter per season.
      I think another thing that hurts is that UK does not rely on the 3 that much, so when they get the chance to take it, they hesitate.
      There are a lot of schools out there that have lower ranked guards but end up being much better shooters from outside that what UK usually gets.

  4. There could be a place for a 3 guard line up on certain occasions…just as there is a mix in of pressing and zone defenses. IMHO, there are just too many unknowns at this stage of the season, although, I believe this will be a very good shot making team overall. One thing that puzzles me is all this talk of “small ball”, when most of our wings can jump out of the gym. Guys that are at least 6’6″s with over 7′ wing spans are not small and we have quite a few of them.

    1. Bingo hfb. I think Calipari and staff will determine the best line up.

  5. I agree with you hope for best.

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