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So get to know Kentucky's latest talent—before the next class arrives.
NERLENS NOEL, 6'10", 228-pound center from the Tilton School in Tilton, N.H.
Davis's unibrow was iconic at Kentucky, and Noel has already made his own style contribution: a Kid 'n Play high-top that makes him a 7-footer. His hair is a sensation on campus, spawning its own Facebook page and Twitter account. But Noel mimics Davis in more important ways: The defensive-minded forward slides easily into Davis's position in the paint. "His shot blocking and his timing are great, and he plays with so much energy," says an NBA Eastern Conference executive. "The only thing that will hold him back is his body. Davis was skinny [220 pounds], but he had those wide shoulders. Nerlens doesn't have the wide shoulders. If he can just get his body to where Marcus Camby was when he came out, he has a chance to be really good."
Offensively Noel's game is limited to dunks and putbacks, "but he passes the ball really well from the high post," says an Eastern Conference personnel scout. "The way the NBA has evolved recently with bigs like Roy Hibbert playing out of the high post, it's valuable that a guy can make those passes."
ALEX POYTHRESS, 6'7", 239-pound forward from Northeast High in Clarksville, Tenn.
Last May, Poythress nearly slipped off his stool at his local Buffalo Wild Wings as he watched Kentucky's national championship win. "I just couldn't wait to get there," he says. The smooth forward "reminds me of Boris Diaw," says a Western Conference executive. "He has a tremendous tool set." Calipari says Poythress's skills are similar to those of Rockets forward Patrick Patterson, a former Wildcat. "I'm coaching Alex almost the same as Patrick," says Calipari. "The reality is, I want to teach my big guys to play like they are guards."
Poythress's size enabled him to overpower opponents in high school. At Kentucky—and in the NBA—he will need to expand his game to score against bigger defenders. "I haven't seen him do anything off the dribble," says the East scout. "He doesn't have the ball-handling skills of a small forward. He's a freak athlete with a great body and a great offensive rebounder, but right now he's an undersized power forward."
ARCHIE GOODWIN, 6'5", 198-pound guard from Sylvan Hills High in Little Rock.
The lanky Goodwin is still growing. Doctors have told him he could add another three inches. But the 18-year-old is mature in other ways. "Whether it's the first half or the last two minutes, nothing seems to faze him," says the East scout. Goodwin's athleticism sets him apart—a tomahawk dunk over a defender from Lafayette has gone viral—but his best weapon will be his smooth stroke. "He's a natural scorer," the scout says. "He has good form, and over the season he will become dangerous from the outside."
For Goodwin, identifying his best position is an issue. Calipari has used him at both backcourt spots, with mixed results. He averaged 15.0 points through the first three games but had more turnovers (10) than assists (nine). "He's too wild," says a Western Conference executive. "He looks to score every time. He can get into the paint easily, but he is not looking to pass when he gets there."