Will Mulder Emerge as Bench Threat for UK?
Senior Guard Scores 20, Grabs 11 Boards, Looks Primed to Contribute
Senior guard Mychal Mulder scored 20 points, shooting 8 for 13 from the field, including 4 of 9 from behind the arc, and grabbed 11 rebounds, delivering his best performance to date in 19 minutes of action against Asbury. Though the level of competition was lower than the Cats will face this season, as Kentucky throttled Asbury 156-63, Mulder nevertheless was active and aggressive, showing signs of what Coach John Calipari has been looking for from the transfer guard as the Cats look for consistency off the bench, including from 3-point range.
“I thought (Mychal) Mulder shot the ball really well,” Asbury Head Coach Will Shouse said after the game. “He put the ball in the basket well tonight, and I know that had kind of been a question mark for them last year. I thought he looked good.”
“On this team you just have to know your role,” Mulder explained. “I know that I am expected to make open shots, be a finisher, rebound the ball, and to play like a big guard. It is important to hit shots but it’s probably more important to play defense, rebound the ball, fight, battle and understand the game.”
For Mulder, the change from last season, when the first-year Cat averaged less than a point and 3.8 minutes of play per game, starts with confidence.
“I just feel more confident, more comfortable on the court, after that year of experience under my belt,” Mulder said. “I feel more calm and poise. I know what my role is for the team.”
While Mulder’s play was inspired in the Cats’ final exhibition game, the senior has been equally impressive in saying all the right things, displaying maturity and selflessness. If that attitude and play can continue, and Mulder can get quality minutes with this elite squad, that maturity might just blossom into the rare senior leadership that could help these Cats make a run in March.
“It’s not really just about me,” Mulder said of his performance against Asbury. “We knew they would pressure us. We knew they would send double teams. We had to make good decisions. We really used this game to get better in that aspect. The guards used it to practice against that, make the right decision and pass. The bigs helped a lot with getting out of double teams, so we really used the game for that type of experience.”
For Mulder, that experience might just lead to becoming a key contributor on this young and talented basketball team. Here’s to hoping his progress continues. We’ll need every gun we can get come tournament time.