The numbers â€” 11.9 points, 7.4 boards and 49 percent shooting â€” don’t do justice to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist‘s freshman year at Kentucky. The 6-7 swingman from legendary St. Patrick’s High of New Jersey is poised to become the youngest player in the NBA once his name gets called tonight in the NBA Draft. He’ll turn 19 on Sept. 26, and could reach as high as No. 2, some reports have shown. He got here because of some phenomenal plays this year.
It’s the perfect time to look back on Kidd-Gilchrist’s top five plays of his Kentucky career.
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5. MKG throws down on the No. 1 pick
I don’t care if it was in practice or in your backyard, but if you’re playing a competitive game and you dunk on Anthony Davis â€” the best defensive player in the country in several years â€” it’s noteworthy. MKG gets back at Davis here with a dunk in the lane after Davis had smashed on the forward earlier the same practice.
4. Transition slam over a Commodore
Coming in the same game as No. 3 is a really tough dunk in transition. Try this: Run full speed with a defender on your right, then reach across your body and dunk with two hands over the guy. That’s NBA athleticism.
3. Chasedown block on Vandy
For the first minute of the tape it looks like the opposite of a highlight reel for MKG. He gets swatted and the flow of the game is completely off for Kentucky. Just wait till he gets his revenge near the minute mark, though, with a chasedown block that has shades of what LeBron James and Dwyane Wade — the two masters of the art form — can do.
2. Spin cycle on Carolina
In the game defined by Anthony Davis‘ block, MKG got in a few highlights of his own. This spin in the lane rolled him past the entire North Carolina defense.
1. The throwdown on Portland
In only the sixth game of the season, MKG came up with his most memorable, highlight-worthy play. Not his best play, mind you — those came in the NCAA Tournament en route to the title. This takes the top spot for pure nastiness and because I’m still amazed by his reach over the Pilot defender.