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Davis was the principal reason the Jayhawks threw up desperate rainbow shots nearly every time they ventured into the lane, and that only got worse as time slipped away. That explains their 36 percent shooting for the game, but not the beating they absorbed on the other end.
After shooting 7 for 8 in a semifinal drubbing of Louisville two days ago, Davis went 1 for 10 against Kansas, but that was hardly a reflection of his contributions to the Wildcats' offense. He started his sophomore year of high school at 6-foot-2, then grew to 6-10 by the time he was a senior. Watching him glide up the court handling the basketball like a point guard threw the Jayhawks defense into panic mode more than once.
"I think it's a joke, simply because they have four players who can bring the ball up the court," Kansas' Elijah Johnson said. "To have someone who can get the rebound and put it on the floor and go, that puts you on your heels more. We haven't seen that much this year."
Neither has anyone else.
Larry Brown, who mentored both Self and Calipari when he was at Kansas and has plenty of experience on pro benches, said the other day he thinks this Kentucky team could beat almost half the teams in the NBA. That's an exaggeration, but only slightly. Davis is reed-thin and couldn't survive the pounding he'd take playing against men whose livelihood depends on not getting pushed around. Kidd-Gilchrist turned 18 just last September and he's not ready to play against real pros, either.
But none of that is going to stop both of them from dropping by the used-bookstore back on campus to hand over the ones they've been carrying around like props the last nine months, then booking an agent to get them a king's ransom when some NBA team comes calling. Calipari may be sad to see them go, but he won't waste much time, either, recruiting their replacements. It won't be hard
"I said this a couple years ago and everybody got crazy when we had five guys drafted in the first round. This is one of the biggest moments, if not the biggest, in Kentucky history," Calipari said.
"The reason was, I knew now that other kids would look and say, 'You got to go there.' What I'm hoping is there's six first-rounders on this team. We were the first program to have five, let's have six. That's why I've got to go recruiting on Friday."
And just think, you don't even need a college degree to do that kind of math.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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