In a society where patience has gone out the window and only instant gratification matters, the poor play of the 2013 rookie class has many ready to write them off entirely. But while there isn’t an Anthony Davis in the bunch, this year’s draft had plenty of good young players who, for a variety of reasons, were simply not ready for the NBA. Read More. Written by Jonathan Tjarks on Apr 17, 2014
Billy Donovan praised the shot-blocking ability of Anthony Davis, who leads the country with 138 rejections.
"He's definitely one of the best of all time," Donovan said.
After noting that he was not old enough to remember Hall of Fame centers such as Bill Russell or Wilt Chamberlain, Donovan said of Davis, "Certainly, here in recent times, the last 20, 25 years, he's as good as anybody out there."
Donovan noted Davis’ slight build and credited the UK freshman on how he blocks shots with length, timing, and quick feet.
"He's a quick jumper," Donovan said. "He's got long arms. ... He has an ability to become a lot longer than he appears, and very quickly. And it's different from most guys."
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist said that he plans to stay at Kentucky beyond this season.
"I'm graduating here. I'm not going nowhere," Kidd-Gilchrist said after Saturday's game against Vanderbilt. "I'm staying at Kentucky."
When those around him chuckled, Kidd-Gilchrist added: "I'm dead serious. I don't know why y'all laughing."
Kidd-Gilchrist will have to convince John Calipari that he should stay.
“He’s got to come up with some reasons he’s coming back and convince me,” Calipari said. “Here’s why: What if he got hurt and I’m out there convincing him to come back? What if that happened? Or something happened to him that all of the sudden really hurt him and his draft-ability and his future?
“It’s hard to live with yourself, unless you’re just trying to win five more games or ‘How many games can I win before I retire?’ This is about these young people.”
Calipari said that former one-and-done stars like John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe often say to him, “Man, I wish I could have stayed three or four years.
“But there’s opportunities that arise. Just like Bill Gates, when he said, ‘You know what? I’m done with school; I’m going to chase my dreams’ and in his case, change the world. Steve Jobs did the same thing; left school and went out and changed the world.
“You have opportunities. You’ve got to look at them and figure out what’s right.”
At least one NBA general manager has not been overly impressed so far by the potential 2012 draft class.
"Everyone talks about how great this draft is," one NBA GM said. "On paper in July, it really looked that way. On the ground in February, I'm not that impressed. Anthony Davis is great. But after that, there are a lot of question marks and a surprising lack of depth. I'm not sure that the 2012 draft will be better than the 2011 one."
North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes, Baylor’s Perry Jones, Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger, and Kentucky’s Terrence Jones have failed to show significant improvement from one season to the next while UConn's Andre Drummond and Duke’s Austin Rivers have failed to live up to the hype that surrounded them.
Only two freshmen, Kentucky’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Indiana's Cody Zeller, have exceeded expectations.
Anthony Davis has kept a good percentage of his 131 rejections in play rather than sending them out of bounds.
“I always try to keep the ball in play, get the ball to my teammates,” Davis said.
Davis is blocking 15 percent of his opponents’ shots at 4.8 per game this season.
“If I block out of bounds, it might look good to the crowd but it kind of hurts my team because (the opponent) gets another possession,” Davis said. “If I block it and it bounces to one of my teammates, we have the ball and we did a great job on defense getting a stop. Now we have another chance to score without them scoring.”
Withey blocked nine shots in Monday’s win against Kansas State. He also blocked nine shots in December against Long Beach State. Withey has blocked three or more shots in just 12 of his 26 games, while Davis has three or more blocks in 24 of his 26 games.
Rhamel Brown of Manhattan and William Mosley of Northwestern State each have higher block percentages than Withey and Davis.