When University of Kentucky center Anthony Davis was chosen as the 2012 Final Four's Most Outstanding Player - despite arguably his worst offensive performance as a collegian in the title game vs. Kansas - it sparked heated discussion that perhaps another Wildcat should have received the prestigious award. In a way, though, the fact that Davis was even considered for MOP, after 1-for-10 shooting from the field against the Jayhawks, says a great deal about why scouts believe he's a can't-miss NBA prospect. The Chicago native headlines the 2012 NBA Draft class as the consensus No. 1 pick by a wide margin, as the most feared interior defensive player to enter the league in a generation. Although Davis struggled offensively during the aforementioned 67-59 win over Kansas, finishing with just six points, he was a monster in every other aspect of the game. Davis pulled down 16 rebounds, blocked six shots, grabbed three steals - and even dished out five assists.
Davis' combination of height, wingspan, athletic ability, basketball IQ and timing make him a truly unique player. His versatility and skill is often attributed to the fact that he experienced a late growth spurt, blooming from a 6-foot-3 guard to a 6-foot-10 inside force as a junior in high school.
"Anthony is a tremendous shot blocker with great size and length," describes Kentucky head coach John Calipari on the Wildcats' official website. "He can make three-pointers, dribble the ball and he can get up and down the court faster than some of our guards because of his long, looping strides."
The primary critique of Davis by draft websites is that he needs to bulk up significantly in order to withstand the physicality of the NBA. He also is often described as a bit raw offensively, without a reliable go-to move he can use when his team needs a basket. But although Davis was not a dominant scorer at Kentucky, it's extremely misleading to judge him by his college stats - on a star-studded Wildcats club with so many offensive weapons, no one was going to put up prodigious numbers.
"Projecting Davis going forward, there's not much to dislike," the website NBADraft.net summarized of the player each lottery team is dreaming of seeing in their uniform next fall. "Physical maturity is the only visible hurdle standing in his path to beast mode."
*The information and opinions expressed about players referenced in this section are exclusively those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the Hornets organization's preferences for the June 28 NBA Draft.