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By LARRY VAUGHT
Charles Dunson of International Business Times has an interesting article on the top 2013 NBA draft prospects (http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/358797/20120702/nba-draft-2013-nerlens-noel-anthony-davis.htm) that involves an intriguing December matchup for John Calipari’s Wildcats.
While some 2013 NBA mock drafts have UK freshman-t0-be Nerlens Noel as the top candidate for the No. 1 draft pick, Dunson goes a different route. Here is what he wrote about his top two picks in his recent column:
2. Nerlens Noel- Just one year after Davis set a new single season NCAA mark for blocked shots, another Kentucky freshman may challenge his record. The 6-foot-11 incoming freshman, has transcendent defensive instincts, athleticism and length to challenge Davis’ record. CBS Sports senior writer Jeff Goodwin called Noel the best shot-blocker ever seen at the high school level. Unlike Davis, Noel’s signature hair doesn’t rest below his forehead but squarely atop it in the form of a retro hi-top fade that makes him at least 7-foot-4 standing up.
Unfortunately, Noel only averaged 12.6 points and 7.9 rebounds per game as a high school senior and has to improve his offensive repertoire by leaps and bounds if he wants to translate his high school dominance into the pros. Until he does, Noel will be considered a prospect somewhere between Davis and newly drafted Piston, Andre Drummond, who was one of the rawest players in college basketball last season.
1. Isaiah Austin- Austin doesn’t receive as much acclaim as 2012 McDonalds All-Americans Noel and Muhammad, however, it’s more likely due to his decision to commit to Baylor’s resurgent basketball program (instead of joining a blue blood program like UCLA or Kentucky) than due to his basketball talent.
Austin is a legit seven-footer, who runs the floor like Davis, has elite athleticism, range out to 18-feet and the ball handling ability of a guard. Overall, he’s comparable to a bigger version of Kentucky’s Davis with a slightly longer wingspan and two more inches on his frame.
While Noel is the better defensive prospect, Austin has earned unique comparisons to Laker great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar because of his skillset and upside on both sides of the floor.
Kentucky and Baylor will play in Rupp Arena in December in what could really be a fun matchup between Austin and Noel.