There were reportedly 18-20 NBA scouts at the Kentucky/Louisville game on Saturday. Who impressed them the most? Here are my top candidates:
Willie Cauley-Stein — Free throw struggles aside, Willie Cauley-Stein was phenomenal against the Cards. WCS showed a lot of promise early on this season, then sort of disappeared during Kentucky’s cupcake schedule. When Cal called upon him to start, the mustard (or is he the ketchup?) was ready to roll, scoring six points and pulling down eight rebounds. Those numbers may not sound that impressive, but Cauley-Stein was the catalyst for the Cats’ comeback in the second half, throwing down a monster dunk and scrapping on defense. Earlier this season, he was mentioned as a darkhorse in the NBA draft, which seemed improbable based on more recent performances, but Willie Cauley-Stein may have played his was back in the conversation against Louisville.
Ryan Harrow — It sounds absurd to call Harrow’s journey this season a comeback story since we’re only halfway through, but it’s true. Due a mystery illness, there was a point in which it didn’t seem like Harrow would be back on the team. After talking it over with his family on Thanksgiving break, Harrow returned, and has slowly but surely improved ever since. Harrow had a breakout game against Marshall, but his game against the Cards may have been even more impressive. Harrow had a tall task in guarding Peyton Siva, and he more than held his own, scoring 17 points and not committing a single turnover. Harrow may not be a John Wall, Brandon Knight, or Marquis Teague, but he’s evolving into a Calipari point guard, a hot commodity in the NBA these days.
Nerlens Noel — Noel had another good game against Louisville, earning the respect of Rick Pitino, who called him a future number one pick. He consistently does everything asked of him, and with one more shot in his arsenal, could be unstoppable. Nerlens will go high in the draft, no doubt, it’s just a matter of how high.
Archie Goodwin — Let’s just call him Dr. Archie and Mr. Hyde. Archie is amazingly talented, but must learn some control. At times, Archie seems to just throw the ball in the general direction of the basket in hopes it will go in or that he will be fouled. Archie showed why he’s going to be an NBA draft pick in the last eight minutes of the game Saturday, but scouts may want to see more control from him to go in the top ten.
Your turn. Whose NBA stock rose the most against the Cards?