LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Don't call any basketball player the Next Anthony Davis.
Not this year. Not next year. Not until you get the all-clear.
It's silly because there's never been a guy with the poise and polish to be recognized as the nation's best freshman, best defender, best player, Final Four Most Outstanding Player and the top pick in the NBA Draft.
Remember that when Nerlens Noel starts playing at the University of Kentucky next season. The adidas Nations Global 2012 event concluded in suburban Los Angeles Monday night. Noel didn't play. Only high school guys played Monday. Noel was there as a camp counselor. He played in camp counselor games over the weekend and worked out for NBA folks for several days.
His performance over the weekend inspired considerable chatter that Noel has major work to do to become an effective offensive player as a freshman. In fact, I checked with one talent evaluator whose opinions that I value. His report was that another UK freshman, Willie Cauley-Stein, actually looked better in California.
Cauley-Stein opened eyes, according to the analyst. Noel inspired questions – about his work ethic, strength, post-up game and ability to shoot the ball from beyond 12 feet. Even his work ethic was being debated.
The Davis' comparisons?
Stop it, the analyst said. Stop it immediately. Word is that Davis was on a completely different level as a player and prospect.
Of course, he was. Davis was a once in a generation package of smarts and skills.
The analyst said the Cauley-Stein he saw in L.A. was a different player than the guy he saw in New Orleans for another event Final Four weekend. He was more aggressive around the rim, playing himself into the status of a guy NBA personnel folks will consider as a first-round pick in 2013. That's an upgrade from the way Cauley-Stein has been hyped.
In fact, he said NBA folks were VERY IMPRESSED with Cauley-Stein – and the emphasis was his not mine.
But the best center in the group was another guy the University of Louisville will have to deal with – Pitt recruit Steven Adams, a mountainous center from New Zealand. Adams is in play to be a top pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.
The pressure shifts to Jamie Dixon.
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