UK big men signees face off in Jordan Classic

Kentucky will have a pair of signees battling in the Jordan Brand Classic, as two of Scout's top three centers battle in tonights All Star contest. Kentucky fans shouldn't get too used to them facing off against each other, as Coach Calipari feels these guys are prototypical big men for his system. Both possess the passing and shooting abilities to be huge factors in the UK offense.

Kentucky fans will watch this evening's Jordan Brand Classic with great interest. Playing in the game are the two top 15 rated big men who have signed National Letters of Intent to attend Kentucky, Daniel Orton and DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins is rated the #2 center in the class, and Orton the #3 center.

Orton and Cousins are expected to square off in this game, in what could become a regular contest next season during Kentucky practices. Expect the duo to see major minutes on the floor together when they arrive at Kentucky, especially if All-SEC power forward Patrick Patterson remains in the draft.

The two big men are what John Calipari referred to as "prototypes" for his system in a discussion with KSR's Larry Vaught.

When addressing the rumors of Orton wanting out of his NLI just over a week ago, Calipari told Vaught, "They are talking about Daniel Orton maybe wanting to leave. I know it's hard because he came here to play for Billy (Gillispie) and play a different way, but it's perfect for him now because he is a versatile big man," Calipari said. "He can shoot 3's. He can catch the ball. He is a great passer.

"Why wouldn't he want to play this way? The court is so spread that if we do throw it to you in the post, there's no hiding double team people. There are four guys on the perimeter and you are in there. You can catch it and score. I think both of them (Cousins and Orton) will prosper in this thing. They both can play together because they are skilled."

Cousin concurs, "I see us playing real well together. He's a big, skilled guy. We can do some damage," Cousins said to Vaught. "We have a good relationship and I think we will really be good together."

While the college game is still regarded as a guard dominated game, recent history shows you need to have good big men to take the NCAA Tournament trophy home with you. In 2005 UNC played a trio of bigs to win the title. The next two seasons saw Al Horford, Joakim Noah and Chris Richard lead Florida to back-to-back titles. A year ago Kansas had a number of versatile big men that played instrumental roles as the Jayhawks won the title. Just a few weeks ago Tyler Hansbrough, Deon Thompson and Ed Davis were huge factors (literally) in UNC's title this season.

The compatible skill sets of Cousins and Orton will allow the duo to play together, and if Patrick Patterson returns to play another season of college basketball the Wildcats will have one of the top frontcourts in the game.

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