Happy summer, folks. We’re still about a month away from the official start of summer, but I’m sure you’ve been outside lately. It’s hot. It’s summer.
While we wait to hear official word from P.J. Washington, Jarred Vanderbilt and Wenyen Gabriel, Jack Pilgrim, Nick Roush and myself decided to do a draft to spark some debate.
We will be doing a different assortment of hypothetical drafts throughout the summer, so if you have any ideas send them to us. We’re open to ideas.
Here are the rules for this first draft: We did a three-team snake draft that included an array of players:
- Players returning to UK next season.
- Players that may return to UK next season (P.J. Washington, Jarred Vanderbilt, Quade Green).
- Any basketball player committed to UK, regardless of class.
- And lastly, each person could draft ONE non-committed 2019 UK basketball target.
P.J. Washington, Jarred Vanderbilt, Wenyen Gabriel, Quade Green, Nick Richards, Jemarl Baker, Immanuel Quickley, Tyler Herro, Ashton Hagans, E.J. Montgomery, Keldon Johnson, D.J. Jeffries (2019), Tyrese Maxey (2019), T.J.’s 2019 UK Target, Nick’s 2019 UK Target, Jack’s 2019 UK Target.
Get it? Got it? Good. We did a random draw for first pick in the snake order draft and the order is- T.J., Nick, Jack. We also discussed our picks after making the selection. Here’s what ensued:
T.J. Walker: Round 1, Pick 1: P.J. Washington. He’s the best college player on the board. He’s consistent, he plays hard, he’s a great rebounder and he was completely unstoppable on the block at the end of last season. He’s likely to head to the NBA Draft but if he returns he will be UK’s best player next season.
Nick Roush: Round 1, Pick 2: Keldon Johnson. You’re a real SOB for taking Washington No. 1, but I still like Keldon Johnson as the second overall pick. He is the most complete Kentucky basketball player. I can find outside shooting elsewhere, but nobody else can guard so many positions and be that physical and talk trash quite like Johnson.
Jack Pilgrim: Round 1, Pick 3: Quade Green. Easy choice: Quade Green. The sophomore point guard has always been known for his leadership, and that will help the freshmen find their grooves early in the season. Green is a guarantee on offense as he can put points on the board in a hurry.
Jack Pilgrim: Round 2, Pick 4: Jarred Vanderbilt. When Vando returned from injury last season he brought something to the table we hadn’t seen all season: energy and elite rebounding. When healthy, he’s one of the most versatile big men in the SEC. If he uses this offseason to work on his offensive skills to get back some of what we saw in high school, he has the potential to be a superstar.
Nick Roush: Round 2, Pick 5: James Wiseman (2019). WILDCARD! James Wiseman, Come on Down! The Cats have plenty of post players, but none with skills that Wiseman possesses. He can play the stretch four on offense and be a rim protector on defense. If he can be the next Anthony Davis, he NEEDS to be on my team.
T.J. Walker: Round 2, Pick 6: Tyrese Maxey (2019). This may be a bit of a stretch but no one has been higher on Maxey than me. He’s an elite athlete and can score from deep. It’s crazy to me he’s not a top five player in 2019.
T.J. Walker: Round 3, Pick 7: Ashton Hagans. My backcourt will be a couple 2019 guards but Hagans is moving to 2018 and I now have the best defensive guard out of the bunch. Hagans and Maxey would mesh well together and both are competitive pit bulls. What a freakishly athletic duo.
Nick Roush: Round 3, Pick 8: Immanuel Quickley. People forget that Immanuel Quickley is a McDonald’s All-American point guard. He’s at his best when he does not have to be the star. On my team he can facilitate and knock down open threes when double teams collapse on Wiseman and Johnson in the interior.
Jack Pilgrim: Round 3, Pick 9: Vernon Carey Jr. (2019). WILDCARD! Vernon Carey Jr. is a bully down in the post with DeMarcus Cousins comparisons. He has some polished post moves, elite rebounding skills, and a developing jumper. Boogie 2.0 is coming to Lexington and will be the knockout punch in my frontcourt.
Jack Pilgrim: Round 4, Pick 10: Tyler Herro. During the All-Star circuit, Herro proved he belonged. He was able to create his own shot against elite defenders, knock down open jumpers, and showed off an improved handle. He draws Devin Booker comparisons, and for good reason. He’ll thrive next to Quade Green in my backcourt.
Nick Roush: Round 4, Pick 11: Jemarl Baker. We know nothing about Jemarl Baker other than he gets buckets. He’s going to knock down plenty for my team on the wing as THE BEST shooting Wildcat.
T.J. Walker: Round 4, Pick 12: Wenyen Gabriel. Nick just took a complete unknown over a versatile wing that shot 39.6 percent from deep as a sophomore. If Gabriel comes back there’s no reason he can’t improve that to 43-45 percent. He doesn’t take bad shots and his length and experience will be big on my squad.
T.J. Walker: Round 5, Pick 13: Nick Richards. Listen, Richards ended the season as poorly as any Wildcat under Calipari but it’s worth remembering that he has only been playing basketball a few years. As of today I wouldn’t trust Richards to catch a loved one out of a burning building, or the remote control from a few feet away, but he can defend and rebound. Richards will be the most improved Wildcat next season.
Nick Roush: Round 5, Pick 14: E.J. Montgomery. E.J. Montgomery gives me the most complete team, most dominant interior and best defense. Try to drive to the rim. I dare you.
Jack Pilgrim: Round 5, Pick 15: D.J. Jeffries. That leaves me with DJ Jeffries, one of the fastest-rising prospects in the class of 2019. The 6-foot-7 wing has ridiculous length and a never-ending motor. He’ll be a bull at the college level.
- PG- Ashton Hagans
- SG- Tyrese Maxey
- SF- Wenyen Gabriel
- PF- P.J. Washington
- C- Nick Richards
- PG- Immanuel Quickley
- SG- Jemarl Baker
- SF- Keldon Johnson
- PF- E.J. Montgomery
- C- James Wiseman
- PG- Quade Green
- SG- Tyler Herro
- SF- D.J. Jeffries
- PF- Jarred Vanderbilt
- C- Vernon Carey Jr.
Remember, when evaluating these teams it’s where the players are as of today. Not their potential or where they may be when they get to college (for the youngsters).
Who’s your pick?