Kentucky played together for the first time during summer pickup games with NBA players, with the most extensive visit coming from the Oklahoma City Thunder, which brought most of its roster to Lexington for nearly a week.
The Wildcats struggled early on.
“They came out here and just tried to kill us, really,” Doron Lamb said. “They weren’t taking it easy on us — especially Kevin Durant. Every time he got the ball, he tried to shoot it. And he was talking junk.”
“It think it helped start us off knowing we needed each other,” Terrence Jones said, “because if we did it one by one, we were going to get destroyed by those players. We had to help on defense, had to do something on offense to free each other up or we weren’t going to win.”
By the end of the Thunder's visit, the Wildcats were holding their own and carrying a new confidence that this season might be as special as fans hoped.
“We were pretty excited about that,” Darius Miller said. “That’s when we knew we had a pretty good team.”
“We figured out how good we could be,” Marquis Teague said, “if we were unselfish.”
“We started winning those games and beating some of the best players in the world — just because we were doing it together,” Jones said. “We knew from that point on we were going to have to do it together.”