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Scouting Kentucky’s draft prospects

ESPN sent one of its NBA Draft analysts to Saturday’s Kentucky-Indiana game to scout what the media organization considers were the four biggest draft prospects in the game (UK’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Anthony Davis and Terrence Jones and Indiana’s Cody Zeller).

David Thorpe has a pretty detailed write-up on each player in which he goes into depth about their game, their strengths and how they project at the next level.

You can read the full story at ESPN, but unfortunately you have to be an ESPN Insider to gain access.

For those of you without an account, here’s what Thorpe had to say about Kidd-Gilchrist:

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, F

School/Class: Kentucky, fresh.
Line score: 18 points (9-12 FGM-A), 7 rebounds, 2 steal, 2 blocks
Top 100 draft ranking: 11

Game play: He’s got great size for such a young guy; he should develop an excellent physique as he matures. His impressive fluidity enables him to defend much smaller guards. His motor ran hot in every facet of the game, and he played with purpose. He exerted real effort racing the floor.

Kidd-Gilchrist played at an excellent and mature pace, never rushing but always looking to attack when the moment presents itself. He reminded me of James Harden that way.

His power game already is decent, something Kentucky should exploit more in time. He’ll be able to post up NBA small forwards on offense, and they won’t be able to kill him with quickness on the wing when he’s defending them. That makes him a matchup his NBA coaches will love.

Basketball tools: He has good ball skills, enabling him to drive open gaps for dunks. And he showed some “bucket-getting” ability, banging off guys and just making the shot. Kidd- Gilchrist does a great job of getting low when he dribbles, important for a bigger wing.

Physical aptitude/comparables: His strength and “in-control” efforts help him have great body control when finishing. This is rare for a young player with his size. He projects to be what I now call the “power 3″ — players with great size and strength who can defend the perimeter and make plays from there on offense. He’s not the athlete like the Portland Trail BlazersGerald Wallace is, though he competes like Wallace and has better skills. Kidd-Gilchrist will be a guy asked to defend guys like LeBron James and Kevin Durant as soon as he gets to the NBA. In a season or two, he’ll be able to do it as well as anyone.