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Kentucky Basketball: What to expect from EJ Montgomery

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Kentucky has not had a player like Montgomery in quite some time.

UK Athletics

Efrem Montgomery Jr. entered the McDonald’s All-American Game as one of only a handful of uncommitted players. After spending the week with the best recruits from around the country, it took him only a few days to decide he wanted to play at the University of Kentucky.

You may have heard that EJ Montgomery talks about modeling his name after former Wildcat great Anthony Davis. That could mean a lot of things, as Davis is one of the most versatile basketball players in the world.

But when it comes down to it, Montgomery has modeled Davis’ game with two primary goals:

1. Own the rim on both ends of the court.

2. Be a 6’11” guard.

Montgomery has always been tall, but he has also been focused on guard skills. He is a phenomenal ball-handler for his size, and he has court vision on the fast break is very impressive.

He is also an established shooter, which is rare in college basketball for a 6’11” player but is almost essential in the NBA. He is a lefty with soft touch and he can make shots from the perimeter consistently.

While Anthony Davis may be his goal, his game actually looks a lot more like Chris Bosh. He can score in the post and finish around the room, but he is just as comfortable in pick and pop situations, knocking down set jumpers with ease.

But make no mistake, he has always spent a lot of time above the rim.

Montgomery is the prototype for an NBA stretch-4 as long as he continues to improve as a shooter. In the college game, there should be nobody that is able to both step out and guard him on the perimeter and keep him from the basket in the paint.

When you put him in the paint alongside Reid Travis or PJ Washington, there is no defensive front court in the country that can stop that duo from getting a bucket. Montgomery’s skill-set is a perfect complement to the upperclassmen that play in the post, and their presence will free him up to score in a variety of ways.

In EJ Montgomery, Kentucky is getting a big man with an extraordinary base of skills. Kenny Payne has to be excited to continue to develop him.

And since he is surrounded by talent throughout the roster, Montgomery will be able to use his time in Lexington to maximize his strengths and punish opposing defenses. Every match-up should be a mismatch for Montgomery this season.

Are you getting excited yet?

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