No one is taller nor shorter in Thursday night’s NCAA Tournament game with the University of Kentucky than two Abilene Christian University Wildcats here in Jacksonville, Florida.
Stretching the tape one way is 7-0 sophomore center Kolton Kohl, while 5-7 freshman guard Damien Daniels, is the shortest player in the game. They are near the perimeter of all-time height extremes in ACU men’s basketball history.
Seven of Kentucky’s 12 players are freshmen, with 6-10 forward EJ Montgomery and 6-11 sophomore forward Nick Richards the tallest and freshman guard Immanuel Quickley and freshman guard Ashton Hagans – at 6-3 each – the shortest among players who see game action. Hagans was 2018-19 Co-Defensive Player of the Year in the Southeastern Conference.
Junior guard Brad Calipari, son of head coach John Calipari, is the UK roster’s shortest at 6-0, but is redshirting this season.
Daniels is on the short list of the most diminutive players to ever suit up for the Wildcats. He’s an excellent ball handler and a pest when guarding opponents. The skills of Kohl – ACU’s first-ever 7-foot hoopster – have accelerated this season with extra playing time, and he has put 30 pounds on his lanky frame since his redshirt freshman year. He’s made some big shots in the Wildcat’s late run toward posteason play and their first-ever appearance in March Madness.
Daniels was twice a first-team all-state high school player at Hogan Prep in Kansas City, Missouri, leading his team to the 3A state title as a senior.
Kohl was one of the premier big men in West Texas during a standout career at San Angelo Central High School.
Tipoff for the game is 6:10 p.m. CST on Thursday, a national broadcast for CBS.