Jay Bilas took a break from tweeting Young Jeezy lyrics to rank the five best frontcourts in college basketball this season and coming in at No. 1 on Bilas’ list is the four-headed monster of Nerlens Noel, Willie Cauley-Stein, Kyle Wiltjer and Alex Poythress at Kentucky. Here is what Bilas had to say about the Cats, followed by the other four teams in his Top 5.
1. Kentucky Wildcats
After losing Anthony Davis, if seems crazy to believe that Kentucky could protect the rim as well as it did in its championship season. Yet, with Nerlens Noel, John Calipari has a rim protector and lane limiter that can be every bit as effective.
Noel is a freak shot blocker with length, crazy athleticism and disciplined timing. He does not have the defensive range of Davis, nor does he have the offensive feel and potential of Davis, but Noel is jet-quick off the floor and a potential No. 1 overall selection in the NBA draft because he can control the lane. Another seven-footer, Willie Cauley-Stein, can play alongside Noel and can also clog the lane, finish plays and rebound. Cauley-Stein played wide receiver in high school, which had to make him the tallest receiver in football. He is a work in progress, but is making tremendous progress.
So, with two true big men leading the way, 6-8 freshman Alex Poythress will have even better opportunities to attack the rim and the glass. Poythress can wind up being the best frontcourt performer on this Kentucky team. And, sophomore Kyle Wiltjer, a top recruit last year that couldn’t crack the lineup, is as good a face-up shooter as you will find anywhere. Wiltjer has a low post game and deep shooting range. All these Wildcats are so young, but so good.
2. Louisville Cardinals
3. Syracuse Orange
4. UNLV Rebels
5. Duke Blue Devils
We’ll get to see Kentucky go up against Duke, Bilas’ fifth-ranked frontcourt, a week from tomorrow. #BeatDuke