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What we’re hearing about Kentucky’s NBA Draft decisions

This morning, Matt Jones shared what he’s hearing about which Kentucky players will stay and which will go to the NBA Draft this summer. Interestingly, Matt said he’s hearing that, for the first time in the John Calipari era, there isn’t a player who is 100% certain they will go pro, and the decisions are more in flux than ever.

Here’s a summary of what he’s hearing about each player, in order of likelihood that they will leave.

Likely Gone

 Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: Shai is listed as the second highest point guard and a lottery pick in many mock drafts, which makes the opportunity hard to pass up.

“The most likely player to go the draft as of today is Shai Alexander,” Matt said. “I would put his percentage of going at extremely high. Not 100%, but extremely high.”

 Kevin Knox: Knox’s father’s quotes about his son considering returning for his sophomore year are valid for three reasons: 1) His father was a professional athlete, so he knows what it takes to succeed at the next level; 2) Knox is the youngest player in the country; 3) The Knox family isn’t hurting for money.

“I think that quote is genuine,” Matt said of Knox Sr.’s comments. “I think he will end up going. I think it is substantially more likely than not that he will go, but I do not think it’s certain. I think there is a lot more of a chance of him returning than people realize.”

Matt added that Shai and Knox will certainly participate in the NBA Draft Combine to get feedback.

 Hamidou Diallo: Because Hami went to the NBA Draft Combine last year, he only has one more chance to participate, which could push him towards going; however, Calipari’s opinion will have a big influence on his decision.

“Diallo is considering coming back,” Matt said. “What Cal wants him to do will have a big impact. If Cal looked at him and said, you need to come back, he might just do it. My prediction is still all three of those guys will go, but Hami has a shot at returning.”


Wildcard

 Wenyen Gabriel: At 21, Wenyen is one of the oldest sophomores in the country, which could push him towards leaving, even if he knows he won’t go in the draft.

“Wenyen Gabriel might be closer at this moment to going than Knox and Hami. As odd as that seems. That doesn’t mean he will, but I think he’s a lot farther along because he’s older…I don’t think he’ll make the NBA, but for good, bad, better, or worse, he would be the fourth most likely [to go].”

The deciding factor could be whether or not Wenyen wants to stay another year and finish his degree since he’s on track to graduate after three years.


Likely to Return

 Jarred Vanderbilt: Similar to Willie Cauley-Stein a few years ago, Vanderbilt’s foot injury may keep him at Kentucky for another season, although there are people in his camp who want him to go to the Draft.

“Starting with Jarred Vanderbilt, I think these guys come back,” Matt said. “I’m not even sure he will go to the Combine because of the injury. But, there are some people around him who still want him to go to the Draft but I think he’ll end up coming back.”

 PJ Washington: PJ may go to the Combine to get feedback, but will likely end up returning.

“When he came here, in his mind, his plan was at least two years. So, unlike a lot of these kids, he didn’t come in thinking he’d be a one-and-done.”

 Nick Richards: Will probably go to the Combine for workout purposes, but likely to return.


Potential transfer?

 Sacha Killeya-Jones and Quade Green: Neither Sacha or Quade will go to the draft, but Matt didn’t rule out a potential transfer depending on how the 2018 recruiting class shakes out.

“I don’t see either of them transferring as of today, but it wouldn’t shock me if they did,” Matt said. “I’m not sure Kentucky’s done yet [recruiting in the 2018 class]. Because of that, they may have to see what the roster is like.”

Staying

 Jemarl Baker: Will return from injury.

You can hear Matt’s comments at the start of hour one on today’s podcast:

Thoughts?

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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.

53 Comments for What we’re hearing about Kentucky’s NBA Draft decisions



  1. MACDADDY
    10:57 am March 27, 2018 Permalink

    I wouldn’t be shocked if 4 of these guys are gone. I also wouldn’t be shocked if no one leaves. Odd year..



  2. Ukfan1010
    11:00 am March 27, 2018 Permalink

    I think Wenyen, Quade, and Sacha come back. Not as sure about P.J. and Jarred. They both seem like guys to me that are very eager to get to the league! I’m excited to see how it all shakes out!



    • BlakeBlueNation
      3:10 pm March 27, 2018 Permalink

      PJ has already stated he wasn’t expecting to be a one and done. After Jarred’s injury, I’d assume he’s thinking the same



  3. Brutal Hustler
    11:00 am March 27, 2018 Permalink

    Tai Wynard still on the team?



    • Smyrna_Cat
      11:09 am March 27, 2018 Permalink

      That was my question as well. It is like he just disappeared.



    • FlatTopsAndBlockedShots
      11:10 am March 27, 2018 Permalink

      Without getting long winded, I believe he will be dismissed because of the events with the body guard.



    • johnwall
      4:32 pm March 27, 2018 Permalink

      I think you guys just missed the updates on Tai…



    • Smyrna_Cat
      5:37 pm March 27, 2018 Permalink

      johnwall … instead of giving us a hard time, you could have shared what we missed. Go figure.



  4. az1006
    11:02 am March 27, 2018 Permalink

    I don’t see Quade Green transferring…He never seemed the slightest bit unhappy, and despite Shai’s emergence as one of the top guards in the country, his minutes didn’t suffer all that much. The thing with Quade is, he is what he is…He’s an undersized, scoring point guard that struggles on defense because of his lack of lateral quickness. That wouldn’t change somewhere else. I think he’s just one of those guys that will be a 3 or 4 year player (unless he improves exponentially, which is always a possibility). But I don’t see him transferring. I don’t see anyone transferring, honestly.



    • Bluebloodtoo
      11:33 am March 27, 2018 Permalink

      I could see SKJ having a good argument to transfer. He really seems like he doesn’t get enough time in court to be comfortable.



    • BigBlueMeade
      11:44 am March 27, 2018 Permalink

      I feel that if SKJ didnt leave after last season, he will tough it out and try to earn PT. If he transfers, that only delays him another season to prove what he has amd he will be another year older, which lowers his “ceiling” in the NBAs mind.



    • Cokely53
      12:12 pm March 27, 2018 Permalink

      If he doesn’t go pro after this season than sitting out a year isn’t going to drop his stock any. Look at Wiltjer for a perfect example. Him sitting out and waiting did him a world of good.



    • Peas and Carrots
      12:42 pm March 27, 2018 Permalink

      Did it really though? He was a great college player as a 5 year senior, but he still went undrafted and is out of the NBA. He could have been that type of college player at UK or elsewhere, but you can’t blame a kid for wanting to be closer to home. I see SKJ in the same boat, he can still be a great college player at UK or somewhere else, just depends on where he’s most comfortable at and he’s got a better shot at the NBA than Wiltjer ever did.



    • Cokely53
      12:47 pm March 27, 2018 Permalink

      He caught on with a team and stuck around for a little bit. No shot before that. And to add to my point it certainly didn’t hurt his status. Which would be the same for SKJ. No where to go but up at his current level.



    • chris43
      9:04 pm March 27, 2018 Permalink

      If not mistaken he never actually made it out of the G LEAGUE and also was dropped before Christmas…so couple of months at best….



    • BigBlueMeade
      12:59 pm March 27, 2018 Permalink

      Wiltjer would have benefited from the UK name as well as a senior going to the draft, but he has a good gig in Greece



    • Rabbi Li
      12:17 pm March 27, 2018 Permalink

      SKJ could be a 20 minute er game guy next season as a JR.

      That could set up a starting role as a SR.

      It all depends on hard work in offseason (for 2 more years).



  5. WatchutalkinboutWillis
    11:11 am March 27, 2018 Permalink

    I don’t get this Wenyen leaving talk. To me, Shari is definitely gone. Knox is very likely gone. Diallo is likely gone. Everyone else is returning, except probably Wynard. I don’t see us getting Montgomery. So 10 players next year unless Cal brings in some lesser star recruits.



    • WatchutalkinboutWillis
      11:16 am March 27, 2018 Permalink

      Shai, not Shari
      Although Shari is likely gone too being that we never saw her.



    • BBNDan7
      11:49 am March 27, 2018 Permalink

      I may be wrong, but i think wenyens family needs the money so even overseas is a nice paycheck



    • Sentient Third Eye
      1:03 pm March 27, 2018 Permalink

      I don’t blame any kid going pro because he family needs it. That’s why early entry was created to begin with. Forgetting the NBA, Wenyan can easily make a quarter to a half-million a year playing basketball internationally. That may be the best thing for his family. Sure would be nice to see him back, though.



  6. UK Fan In Nashville
    11:21 am March 27, 2018 Permalink

    They are all coming back.



  7. Bluebloodtoo
    11:32 am March 27, 2018 Permalink

    When please stay. That decision does not look difficult. Unlikely to get in the draft, but still considering gong? No. Get your degree and guarantee yourself a reasonable income.



    • Bluebloodtoo
      1:39 pm March 27, 2018 Permalink

      Wenyen…



  8. natedaddy
    11:49 am March 27, 2018 Permalink

    Knox and Shai are gone.

    Hami’s probably gone too. He should have left last year before anybody figured out that he doesn’t know how to play basketball. My guess is he leaves while people are still somewhat in love with his athleticism and potential.

    I think the big question is PJ. He started and ended the season strong, and when he’s invested in the game, has some Julius Randle potential.



    • BlakeBlueNation
      3:13 pm March 27, 2018 Permalink

      I agree. However if he stays a few extra years to work on his 3s and free throw shooting, I could see him being a better version of Julius, at least in college



  9. the ghost of Bill Hicks
    11:57 am March 27, 2018 Permalink

    Hami should join the football team…..surely Eddie Gran could utilize Hami’s athletic ability. I don’t buy Quade leaving at all.



    • Bobbum Man
      12:39 pm March 27, 2018 Permalink

      Touchdown teddy to Hami for the TD! Would be a nice red zone threat with that vertical



    • dollaz
      1:47 pm March 27, 2018 Permalink

      *Terry



  10. Underdog
    12:09 pm March 27, 2018 Permalink

    I agree with the “when he’s invested in the game” PJ looks like an All American.

    What many don’t “get” is that Jarred is too good, perhaps even with the injury reputation, to not make a million dollars next year. Now, if he could play the whole year in college without injury, and play 30 min a game and average 12 points and 12 rebounds WHILE shutting down the other teams best post player,he will be a top 5 pick and be making $3-4 million a year, guaranteed.

    But if he gets injured AGAIN, then he will get neither.

    I say he is GONE.

    There aren’t too many Dennis Rodmans walking around on earth. And let’s not kids ourselves, Jarred can shoot. He’s got game on the offensive side. Puh-leeze.



    • Jiminy Crickets
      12:27 pm March 27, 2018 Permalink

      It’s funny to me that the guy we ALL thought was the biggest disappointment, and screamed for him to lose minutes on the floor because of how he destroyed the chemistry and played nothing but selfish ball, is being spoken about going to the NBA draft. Alongside another guy, that can’t score a basket within 3 feet of the goal, and only played 14 games over the last year and a half because of repeated foot and ankle injuries.



    • chrisg18
      12:41 pm March 27, 2018 Permalink

      What evidence do you use to say that Jarred can shoot? He looked like he had never shot a ball before when he actually did try to shoot. I don’t think he made one jump shot the whole year. He is no Rodman. Rodman could at least make a wide open jumper at the free throw line if he wasn’t defended. Jarred has yet to prove he can even do that. If you are going to PLAY in the league, you have to be able to shoot these days – all 5 players.



    • Ez21
      3:30 pm March 27, 2018 Permalink

      When has Rodman ever made a wide open jumper at the foul line? When I saw Vando at the HS all American games he was just beginning to be able to hit 3s. That injury really screwed everything up.



    • Luether
      2:17 pm March 27, 2018 Permalink

      “And let’s not kids ourselves, Jarred can shoot.”

      Ha! That’s funny!! Vandy couldn’t hit the ocean if you put him on the beach!!!



    • 4everUKblue
      6:31 pm March 27, 2018 Permalink

      Why Luether here instead of on card chronicles? Luether you’re an idiot.



  11. Jiminy Crickets
    12:36 pm March 27, 2018 Permalink

    Outside Shai and Knox, they are all 2nd round to undrafted. Period. NO ONE will offer Diallo first round money, I’ll be shocked if he gets drafted at all. Aaron Harrison was MILES better than Diallo and went undrafted.
    If you’re a business owner, and during an interview for a job, the potential employee says “yea, I have a really bad back, I may be good for two or three weeks, and then I may be out of work for 2-3 months”. Do you hire that guy at full pay and benefits? Nope, you hire him as s temp, and put him on a 90 day probation. In other words very low second round, and G-league



    • chrisg18
      12:45 pm March 27, 2018 Permalink

      I agree with this. These guys are delusional if they think they can play in the league next year. Shai and Knox won’t even be seeing time in the NBA for a year or two, even though they’ll go first round. I hear people say Hami needs the money. What money? He’s not getting anything guaranteed. He will be scraping along with a low salary in the G league for years. He’s not helping his family by doing that. Now if these guys want to go overseas, and go that route, more power to them. But I don’t see the NBA in any of their futures (outside Shai and Knox) if they leave now.



    • ukcamel
      1:13 pm March 27, 2018 Permalink

      Shai and Knox probably wouldn’t start, but you are crazy if you think potential lottery picks aren’t going to play for 1-2 years. Essentially every lottery pick gets some run their first year and is in the rotation by year two, unless something goes massively wrong.



    • Bluebloodtoo
      1:42 pm March 27, 2018 Permalink

      Apples and oranges..Harrison Athletic ability was non existent. The NBA draft is heavily weighted to potential, and Hami definitely has more of that than either of the Harrisons.



    • BlakeBlueNation
      3:20 pm March 27, 2018 Permalink

      Gotta realize though that draft class was stacked in Aaron Harrison’s year. If he was in this draft class he’s a first rounder easily.



  12. looking4number8
    1:14 pm March 27, 2018 Permalink

    You can participate in the Combine more than twice now. That is an old rule that you can only test the waters once. So Diallo testing the waters last year does not mean if he goes to the combine again that he can’t return to school.



    • BlakeBlueNation
      3:18 pm March 27, 2018 Permalink

      Diallo won’t stay. His stock has already dropped enough and if it does again when he’s a junior he will have lost his chances. He’s a late first rounder right now, he shouldn’t take any more chances.



  13. kellywjohnson
    1:20 pm March 27, 2018 Permalink

    I predict Dillion Pulliam, Johnny David, and Brad will all be back. Not 100%, but 105%!! 🙂



  14. dballrb
    1:26 pm March 27, 2018 Permalink

    If Wenyen is on pace to graduate in 3 years,it seems wise for him to get his degree, play one more year so when he does decide to leave to play overseas or in the states,he’ll have the degree to fall back on and help his family financial that way if ..It’s a can’t lose situation.Leaving leaves alot of unknowns, unchecked boxes financially. As the saying goes..”They can take away everything, but they can’t take away your degree”..Just my 2cents.



  15. The Professor
    1:29 pm March 27, 2018 Permalink

    I certainly don’t blame lottery picks for going pro. Take the money while it is there but we also lead the nation in guys leaving early that end up in the G-League. I don’t see a player on this team making an NBA roster next year. There are only 2 players with an NBA ready skill, Knox with his mid-range shooting and Vanderbilt and his rebounding ability. However, as bright a future as Knox has, we all know mid-range jumpers have become passé in favor of 3 point shooting and Vanderbilt struggles mightily on offense. They should all come back!



  16. KYjellyRoll
    3:09 pm March 27, 2018 Permalink

    SKJ is getting better, Cals got a thing to develop pg like quade, pj will be back with a stankier face. Jarred comes back, he can go lottery next year.



  17. BlakeBlueNation
    3:17 pm March 27, 2018 Permalink

    Quade isn’t gone. He’s already stated he’s returning in an Instagram live of them bowling. Shai is gone, Hami is gone, both of those are a given with new guards returning. While I still believe Knox leaves, he doesn’t need the money and has a lot of room to improve which would make some since if he returns for a championship. Wenyen, I don’t see him leaving but I think either him or Knox are gonna for sure. Nick is staying, Sacha will stay unless he transfers which I don’t think will happen. Jarred and Pj are 2 I believe should stay and 2 that we need to stay to have any success next year. With Jarred at Small Forward, Pj as Power Forward, Nick at Center then Quade, Quickley, Keldon, and Herro transitioning in the Guard spots. With an extra player like Knox or Gabriel staying I’ll really like this team.



    • Ez21
      3:35 pm March 27, 2018 Permalink

      I saw that video and think he will be back but what is it he’s gonna say? Uh no I’m not coming back during the middle of the year? Some of you all act like your NBA gms and don’t have a clue. Hami has otherworldly athleticism. That will get him drafted bc GMs salivate over that. He can at least be made into a very good perimeter defender.



  18. TheMaxCat
    4:25 pm March 27, 2018 Permalink

    Worse case scenario is we lose four (Knox, SGA, Hami and Vando) : Best case scenario is obvious and most likely is we lose three. We will be good and in a short time we will have a good idea as to just how good we will be. You can also add the kid that sat out all year and Cal will probably sign at least one more. Its fun to speculate but honestly we are going to be in the hunt as one of the top dawgs next year however it plays out



  19. tbradg
    7:08 pm March 27, 2018 Permalink

    I would actually watch that team.



  20. UKfanman01
    8:00 pm March 27, 2018 Permalink

    Knowing someone connected very close to the program, for now…, SGA is the likeliest to leave, with Hami and Wenyen close second.
    I’m not going to throw personal info out but one thing that he (Hami) struggled with a lot this season is backlash from the fans (I’m included in that-i didn’t like his jaw jacking to staff). He is someone who loves fans and didn’t feel a lot of love from BBN and this may cause him to leave regardless of draft spot. He seemed to be in a much better spot mentally at the end of the season but we have to remember that these are kids. They come to UK for the stage. The exposure, the coaching, the fans.



  21. chris43
    8:50 pm March 27, 2018 Permalink

    I can understand Knox, Diallo, and Alexander going pro. I have ZERO ISSUES there. But if freaking Wenyen Gabriel LEAVES just to be leaving like Briscoe that will be EXTREMELY STUPID and a HUGE mistake. Also if Quade and Killeya Jones transfer…to heck with it we need to be doing it another way!!! I love Cal and the one and done can work BUT only IF you get the CREAM OF THE CROP freshman YEARLY and also have a couple VETS to fill the role player positions! I mean this is flat out ridiculous if this happens.



    • chris43
      9:08 pm March 27, 2018 Permalink

      Also want to clarify by “doing it different” I mean change how we recruit not change coaches. I can only see 3 going pro and that’s fine. But if they leave along with Gabriel, Quade/Killeya Jones transfer we will be TERRIBLE next season not to mention if Vanderbilt were to declare….smh