Johnson, Towns new breed of UK bigs

When Nerlens Noel tore his ACL last week it not only brought his freshman season -- and very likely his college career -- to an end, but it also marked a clear turning point for the future of Kentucky’s frontcourt and, ultimately, its style of play.

Noel, like Anthony Davis before him, is a dominant defensive player. Because he’s such a dominant shot-blocker, sometimes his total impact on that end of the floor doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. He has quick hands, incredibly agile feet, great lateral quickness for a guy his size and instincts that are off the charts.

In other words, Noel, like Davis, is as complete a defensive player as there is in the country, and consequently had the rare ability to dominate games without having to score a point.

The next line of big men heading to Lexington, namely Dakari Johnson in 2013 and Karl Towns Jr. in 2014, are a much different breed of center.