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ESPN lists Kentucky in top 15 of Way-Too-Early rankings for 2020-21

ESPN is high on the Kentucky basketball roster heading into the 2020-21 season.

In ESPN’s latest Way-Too-Early Top 25 preseason rankings, staff writer Jeff Borzello listed the Kentucky Wildcats at No. 13 overall, the second-best ranking among Southeastern Conference programs.

In fact, Borzello used Kentucky’s top-15 ranking as a placeholder while we wait for the NCAA’s decision on Wake Forest transfer Olivier Sarr in the waiver process. Should he receive a waiver for immediate eligibility, Kentucky will likely move all the way up into the top five.

Either way, ESPN sees the Wildcats boasting a top-15 roster next season, highlighting the program’s elite recruiting class and anticipated growth from Keion Brooks Jr. as key reasons for their solid ranking.

Here was the excerpt:

13. Kentucky Wildcats
Previous: 15

You see Isaiah Jackson in the projected starting lineup? That’s more of a placeholder for now, as the expectation (or hope) is that Wake Forest transfer Olivier Sarr will receive a waiver to play next season and slot into the center position immediately. If that happens, and it’s unclear when we might find out, Kentucky will likely shoot up the rankings into the top five. As it stands, John Calipari has tons of perimeter talent, but lacks experience and ready-made interior options. Sarr would solve both of those issues. Keion Brooks is the only returning rotation player from a season ago, and he will be leaned on regardless of whether Sarr gets a waiver. The perimeter is loaded with intriguing pieces. Devin Askew is a competitive, tough-minded point guard, and top-10 prospects B.J. Boston and Terrence Clarke will provide scoring and playmaking from the wings. Davion Mintz is a veteran point guard who transferred from Creighton this offseason and has plenty of experience. If Sarr doesn’t receive a waiver, Calipari will be forced to go small on occasion — although Jackson is an elite shot-blocker.

Projected starting lineup:

Devin Askew (No. 24 in ESPN 100)
B.J. Boston (No. 6 in ESPN 100)
Terrence Clarke (No. 9 in ESPN 100)
Keion Brooks (4.5 PPG, 3.2 RPG)
Isaiah Jackson (No. 31 in ESPN 100)

As a brief reminder, Jeff Goodman dropped Kentucky in his updated preseason rankings, moving the Wildcats down a spot from No. 23 to No. 24 after adding arguably the top transfer prospect in the country in Sarr. The Stadium college basketball analyst has Kentucky ranked fourth in the SEC going into the season.

As for the rest of ESPN’s rankings, here is Borzello’s updated preseason top 25:

  1. Gonzaga
  2. Villanova
  3. Baylor
  4. Virginia
  5. Iowa
  6. Kansas
  7. Wisconsin
  8. Duke
  9. Texas Tech
  10. Michigan State
  11. Tennessee
  12. Creighton
  13. Kentucky
  14. North Carolina
  15. Arizona State
  16. Oregon
  17. West Virginia
  18. Stanford
  19. Houston
  20. Texas
  21. Florida
  22. Ohio State
  23. Indiana
  24. Florida State
  25. Rutgers

What do you think about ESPN’s rankings? Fair?

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

8 Comments for ESPN lists Kentucky in top 15 of Way-Too-Early rankings for 2020-21

  1. ukbradstith
    3:44 pm May 20, 2020 Permalink

    About right with Sarr, probably 25-30 range without. We know that only about half the freshmen are ready to go out of the gate, so this team is painfully thin right now. This will probably be similar to the 2014 season, around an 8 seed. Hopefully the same type of tourney run.

    • Alex90
      10:35 am May 21, 2020 Permalink

      Might want to look over that 2014 roster again and compare it to what’s coming in

  2. Catcasey1
    4:29 pm May 20, 2020 Permalink

    Being underrated I promise you

    • Fitz
      8:13 am May 21, 2020 Permalink

      Very underrated at #13 even without Sarr. With Sarr this team could be special.

  3. Ipeeblue
    5:40 pm May 20, 2020 Permalink

    Louisville will be a top 3 team this year

    • BobbyBlue
      5:45 pm May 20, 2020 Permalink

      Yeah IP and you will continue to be more jealous of Ky than you are proud of “Little Brother”—that is soon to be sentenced once again for cheating.

  4. BobbyBlue
    5:40 pm May 20, 2020 Permalink

    Jeff Goodman is a tool and has never had anything good to say or report for Cal or UK, even as his career continues to plummet .

  5. dale-in-orlando
    7:48 pm May 20, 2020 Permalink

    Four words: “come see about it”. ‘Nuff said