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Coaches share their REAL thoughts on Kentucky’s draft prospects

What do coaches really think about Kentucky’s draft prospects? Thanks to The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie, we have a better idea. Over 60 Division I coaches spoke to Vecenie in exchange for anonymity, and the comments about Tyrese Maxey, Immanuel Quickley, Ashton Hagans, Nick Richards, EJ Montgomery, and even Kahlil Whitney are all across the board, from complimentary to downright brutal.

Here is a small sampling, starting with one coach’s opinion of Quickley.

“He’s a shotmaker, man. I don’t think he’s an NBA player, but damn is he a hell of a college player. Makes key shots, has the ability to defend. I don’t think he has it on a string, just with his overall handle. But great college player. In my opinion, he will be a good overseas player.”

The knock on Hagans has always been his offense, but one coach even found fault with his defense, widely perceived as his calling card.

“Don’t even get me started on Hagans. I think he’s trash (as a player). I just don’t think he’s very good. I think he thinks he’s a lot better than what he is. Defensively, everyone talks about him. And on film, he for sure disrupts. He has quick hands, he’s strong, he fights through dribble hand-offs, he puts a body on you. But like, it’s kind of overstated. I think he’s a selfish defender. He wants deflections and steals. And that has nothing to do with being a good defensive player. I think he’s a selfish defensive player.

“And offensively, he’s limited. I didn’t see that much athleticism and speed. We were begging him to shoot. I don’t know if he’s going to make it. What does he do? What does he do well? He got in trouble with turnovers this year. He was turning that thing over like crazy. He did not scare me at all. Preparing for them, he was the least of my worries. I think Saben Lee at Vanderbilt is way better than Ashton Hagans.”

Yikes. To read the entire article, you’ll need a subscription, but Vecenie shared these comments on Twitter. The first two comments are about Maxey and the second two about Montgomery.


Most of these reviews are not kind, but Vecenie argues that the lack of NBA talent on last year’s squad made their success even more impressive. Sadly, we’ll never know if that chemistry would have resulted in a title. Sad face.

[The Athletic]

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

18 Comments for Coaches share their REAL thoughts on Kentucky’s draft prospects

  1. bluemark
    10:51 am July 15, 2020 Permalink

    I know Calipari says he gets his players good feedback as they make their decisions, but THIS is the feedback they need. You don’t have to be a coach to know that not one of these guys who left except Maxey has any business being near the NBA. And Maxey is far from ready to play professional ball with the likes of LeBron, AD, Steph Curry, etc. And they were good college players who could have been even better if they stayed. I don’t what feedback they got, but it couldn’t have been straight talk like this. SMH.

    • DelrayCat
      11:42 am July 15, 2020 Permalink

      It doesn’t matter. Guys on the fringe know that professional ball, domestic or overseas, allows one to solely focus on honing their craft. College doesn’t do that. Between academic demands and the restrictions on the amount of coaching and training one may receive in the off-season…it just makes more sense to move on. Plus there is always the possibility that incoming players may lessen one’s future playing time, further diminishing potential earnings. Plus the NBA/G-league loves cheap labor. A guy like Nick can be paid rookie minimum to be a 3rd center on a team instead of hiring an older proven vet who costs 5-10 times as much against the cap….and neither will barely log more than 5-8 minutes a game. Simple economics.

    • CatsfaninFL
      11:47 am July 15, 2020 Permalink

      And to go further with what Delray said, if the feedback they get is we think you’re at x and if you stay another year on college you’ll be at y and y isn’t much better than x? Why waste another year in college? If their feedback says at best you’re going to be nba backup/drafted late first, second or later, why waste potential finite years of earning SOME money and go play professional somewhere immediately. We have no idea what all goes into their decisions and it has got to be stupid hard at 19-21 to make a lifetime decision with millions on the line. It’s not all, I think I can go to the NBA now. A lot of it is, if I’m going to make money somewhere, I have to strike while the iron is hot.

    • DelrayCat
      11:47 am July 15, 2020 Permalink

      Plus, the potential for a career ending injury always looms. Plus most guys only play pro ball 10 years or less maximizing their earnings as quick as possible makes sense. Especially, for players who may never earn more than a couple million total in their careers.

    • UKinIN
      12:01 pm July 15, 2020 Permalink

      What makes you think this feedback was honest? It’s anonymous. Best advice on anonymous opinions? They’re garbage.

    • satcheluk
      3:31 pm July 15, 2020 Permalink

      I think you have that backwards. Anonymous opinions are more likely true because they don’t have to deal with the backlash of unpopular takes.

  2. Wild Turkey 101
    10:57 am July 15, 2020 Permalink

    I still like Richards, big guy with a jumper.

    • Condo1122
      11:05 am July 15, 2020 Permalink

      And he runs the floor really well. I’d be shocked if he doesn’t have a long NBA career.

    • Ned T.
      12:13 pm July 15, 2020 Permalink

      Ditto. I think we only saw the start of Richards’ improvement last year.

  3. michaelb
    11:00 am July 15, 2020 Permalink

    95% of the time Kentucky played man defense , therefore , the hit on hagans defense is bogus

    • Alex90
      12:48 pm July 15, 2020 Permalink

      Hagans actually got beat off the dribble a lot and then tried to reach from behind for steals. He got out of position chasing steaks from the backside as well. Early in the season it was a major issue but got better over time.

  4. michaelb
    11:02 am July 15, 2020 Permalink

    They’re often wrong , who saw curry coming , or Bledsoe being a star at 6 ft? Maxey is a pure winner with a great attitude

  5. Condo1122
    11:09 am July 15, 2020 Permalink

    $10 says the coach that sh*t all over Hagans would have instantly accepted him as a transfer

  6. TonyMontana
    11:12 am July 15, 2020 Permalink

    I feel like this team was from 3 or 4 years ago.

  7. mashburnfan1
    11:55 am July 15, 2020 Permalink

    Come on TT. We will never know if this team had a shot at the title. Yes we know, answer is no. In fact no UK team since 2015 had a shot at a title. And this just in, this year without Sarr is zero chance. With him I will wait till mid season to judge, if we get a season. Last years record was solely due to schedule and SEC. No league team had a chance at a title and only 2, maybe 3, teams deserved a tourney bid.

    • Condo1122
      12:04 pm July 15, 2020 Permalink

      So, the 2016-17 team had no chance? Nor the 2018-19 team? Bullshit

  8. MississippiBlue
    12:52 pm July 15, 2020 Permalink

    We all read comment sections so we know what anonymous quotes are worth lol

  9. cllikeky
    7:10 pm July 15, 2020 Permalink

    This is honestly bush league on part of the anonymous coaches. I’m sure Cal knows who they are. No love lost before this, less after. Why trash a kid like that?