The Kentucky men’s basketball team has dealt with its fair share of early-season injuries and illnesses, but the No. 10 Wildcats may be shorthanded yet again when they host North Florida on Friday at Rupp Arena.

According to UK assistant coach Orlando Antigua, though, it would mean another learning opportunity for some of the Cats’ younger players in the rotation.

In Monday’s 86-61 win over Albany, UK was paced by its starting lineup that included TyTy Washington Jr. (20 points), Keion Brooks Jr. (17 points, eight rebounds), Sahvir Wheeler (15 points, seven assists), Kellan Grady (14 points) and Oscar Tshiebwe (12 points, 14 rebounds).

However, it was the playing time for freshmen Daimion Collins and Bryce Hopkins that excited Antigua the most.

“It’s giving Bryce and Daimion an opportunity to come out and get some great experience and playing time,” Antigua said of his team’s current lack of depth. “So, it’s going to benefit us down the road. It’s a long season and injuries are something we have to deal with in athletics.

“They’ve been great in doing what we’ve asked of them.”

Both freshmen have played in all five games this season, with Collins, a 6-foot-9 forward, averaging 4.8 points per game, while Hopkins, a 6-6 forward, is scores 3.0 points per outing.

Both are playing less than 13 minutes per matchup, but that could increase if Daxion Mintz, Jacob Toppin and Lance Ware continue to miss time.

“It’s given Bryce an opportunity to get better defensively, understand our schemes and get in better shape,” Antigua said. “He still has a very bright future and this time has helped him.

“Bryce has a lot of versatility to his game. He can handle the ball, he’s got a great touch. He’s someone that you can certainly throw in the post or have out on the perimeter.”

As far as UK’s players are concerned, the Cats (4-1) are taking a “next-man-up” approach.

“Our depth is kind of short right now,” Washington said, “so it’s our priority to make sure we’re in tip-top shape because at any given day, any given time of the game, coach (Calipari) can call your number.

“As long as you’re ready and warm, you’re going to be good.”

North Florida (1-5) enters following Saturday’s 103-43 win over Webber International.

UK is averaging 82.8 points per game on 49.8% shooting from the field and 37.8% from 3-point range. Meanwhile, the Ospreays are averaging 66.7 points per contest on 42% shooting from the field and 38.3% from distance.

The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network.

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