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Help is on the way

Chris Livingston impressed national college basketball media members both with his offense and defense at the McDonald’s All-American Game. (McDonald’s All-American Games Photo)

Numbers don’t always mean a lot in the McDonald’s All-American Game because there is normally not a lot of structure and consistent team play.

Kentucky signee Chris Livingston had 13 points — he was 2-for-4 on 3-pointers — along with six rebounds and five assists for the winning East team. His only flaw was missing six of seven free throws but he was a 70 percent shooter at the foul line this season.

Kentucky signee Cason Wallace was on the losing West team and had seven points, five rebounds and a team-high six assists. He was 3-for-10 from the field.

However, both players did impress national college basketball media members.

ESPN national recruiting director Paul Biancardi really liked Livingston, a 6-6 wing. He thinks he could be a dynamic point forward for coach John Calipari.

“He just plays hard all the time,” Biancardi said. “He brings the energy. He reminds me in many ways of a poor man’s Jimmy Butler.”

247Sports’ national basketball director Eric Bossi thought Livingston was better in the game than he had been at any other time during practice for the game.

“Livingston connected on a pair of good-looking 3’s, he was on the glass, and he did a really nice job of setting up his teammates,” Bossi wrote. “There’s no doubting that he’s physically ready to play in Lexington.”

Rob Cassidy, director at Basketball Recruiting, said it was “encouraging” to see Livingston hit 3-pointers in the game because he “looked confident” after working on improving his range.

“If Livingston continues to become a better shooter, his body, motor and ability to impact games in the paint and on the glass could make him a future lottery pick,” Cassidy wrote.

CBS Sports analyst Kevin Flaherty believes Kentucky fans should have really liked the “defensive aptitude” Wallace and Livingston displayed in the game.

“Both players approached that side with intensity, and while Livingston might have had the better overall day, Wallace’s intangibles and work on that end make him a valuable addition,” Flaherty wrote.

“The Nos. 7 (Livingston) and 8 (Wallace) prospects in the 247Sports Composite may need to plug in immediately on the wings for Kellan Grady and the likely-to-depart TyTy Washington. And a willingness to grind defensively has always been a key to the door of John Calipari’s playing time.”

Larry Vaught
Larry Vaught is a seven-time winner of the Kentucky Sportswriter of the Year award and has covered University of Kentucky sports since 1975. Larry now has a syndicated UK sports column appearing in 34 newspapers across the state as well as, and Larry also joins Mark Buerger and Anthony White on WLAP Sunday Morning Sports each week in Lexington as well as appearing each Tuesday with Tom Leach on The Leach Report.

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