Thorpe Report: Scouting UK and Indiana
Every Wednesday, the NBA Draft Blog will feature the "Thorpe Report," a genuine scouting report on a featured game each week from ESPN Insider David Thorpe. This week's game: Saturday's barn burner between Kentucky and Indiana.
Cody Zeller, CSchool/class: Indiana, freshman
Line score: 11 points (4-for-8 FGM-A), 7 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block
Top 100 draft ranking: 12
Game play: Zeller competed for everything. He ran the floor, boxed out guys and flowed to out-of-area rebounds nicely. He even showed the veteran moxie of working to gain offensive-rebounding position before a shot was taken.
He made a great catch in transition and finished it with a dunk. It was the kind of play that skinny young "stiffs" don't usually make. On the contrary, he shows a great feel for the game on both ends. For sure, Kentucky's size, length and athleticism bothered him, as it was a major step up from the teams he already had faced. I think he'll figure out some things quickly in Big Ten play.
Basketball tools: Zeller has a great feel for putting guys on his back, and he knows what to do when he gets the ball. I loved his hands on catches or rebounds. He knows how to create space for himself inside and eventually will kill defenders with a slight fadeaway jumper from the post.
Physical aptitude/comparables: He has balance but is not a great athlete by any stretch. I felt I was watching Spencer Hawes all game, which is no great thing. But he has far more interest in making plays in the paint, a big problem for Hawes in the NBA.
Line score: 18 points (9-for-12 FGM-A), 7 rebounds, 2 steal, 2 blocks
Top 100 draft ranking: 11
Game play: He has 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 presented itself. He reminded me of James Harden in that way.
His power game already is decent, something Kentucky should exploit more in time. Kidd-Gilchrist will 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.
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