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NBA Draft stock falling for Kentucky Wildcats

Going into the season, Kentucky’s list of potential draft prospects was extensive. Brandon Boston Jr. came in as a likely top-five pick, Terrence Clarke was a sure-fire lottery pick and Isaiah Jackson was emerging as a potential first-rounder with an outside shot at the lottery. And then from there, Keion Brooks Jr. and Olivier Sarr were both seen as potential draft selections, giving the Wildcats as many as five picks in the 2021 NBA Draft.

And then the season started.

Following Kentucky’s 4-9 start to the season and inconsistent play across the board, the team’s collective draft stock has taken a significant hit.

In Sports Illustrated’s latest mock draft released Wednesday, only two Kentucky players were projected as first round picks, with both falling outside the lottery. Boston is the first off the board at No. 18 overall, followed by Jackson at No. 25.

Clarke, Brooks and Sarr were nowhere to be seen.

Here is what Sports Illustrated said about Boston and Jackson:

18. Rockets (from Trail Blazers): Brandon Boston, SG, Kentucky

Height: 6′ 7” | Weight: 185 | Age: 19 | Freshman

Boston has been one of the more disappointing players in college basketball this season, and where exactly his stock falls right now is certainly up for debate, but I’d be surprised if he didn’t turn pro, and I still think there’s a fairly good chance he ends up in the first round. The hype surrounding him out of high school was perhaps a bit overwrought, focusing more on the cosmetic aspect of his scoring than his actual ability to impact winning. What he’s done at Kentucky has to be rock bottom, and it’s begun to feel like a lot of his struggles are confidence-based and not as much an indictment of his skill level.

Of course, that doesn’t mean Boston will actually turn his season around. Expectations need to be reset, but I don’t think he’ll be a 17% three-point shooter forever. NBA teams tend to like buying low on players with All-America pedigree—Cole Anthony just went 15th in the draft despite a bad year in college—and Boston could conceivably fall into that category, too. He’s a big wing with the ability to get separation off the dribble, and there’s a reason guys like him aren’t just lying around the G League. I’m personally not all the way there on Boston, but at some point in the draft, someone is going to take a chance. Obviously, will help if he can find any semblance of a rhythm over the next six weeks.

25. 76ers: Isaiah Jackson, C, Kentucky

Height: 6’ 10” | Weight: 205 | Age: 19 | Freshman

Jackson has put himself in the one-and-done conversation despite not actually playing all that well for Kentucky. His insane 15.9% block rate is notable, as are his athletic tools, but he’s scored in double figures just once and has predictably been foul-prone and undisciplined on defense. Clearly, Jackson is a long-term project, and his scoring derives entirely from being fed easy baskets by teammates. He’s not quite a Mitchell Robinson–level shot-blocking prospect, but the overall package here is going to be worth a shot for somebody. Jackson needs to play better down the stretch to firm up his range, which as of now is unsurprisingly pretty wide.

Does that mean UK could get some surprise returnees for the 2021-22 season? Unfortunately, low draft stock has not deterred Kentucky players from making the jump in recent years.

Would be nice.

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

10 Comments for NBA Draft stock falling for Kentucky Wildcats

  1. just a guy
    5:16 pm January 21, 2021 Permalink

    To me this is 100% proof the OAD system needs to go away. It also proves cal doesn’t really “develop” NBA talent. Sure there’s 4-5 that bloomed that most didn’t expect, but all the others woulda been drafted no matter what. If Boston is a borderline lottery pick because of his HS tape, and his college tape is brushed off as “confidence issues” then why go to college at all?? All it can do is hurt your draft status.

  2. RoseStCat
    5:19 pm January 21, 2021 Permalink

    This is what is wrong with our entire system. Why would any of these guys be pro material? They can’t win a game. They can’t shoot. They can’t hit a free throw. Their HS tape was excellent I’m sure. But why are we even talking about their draft stock when they can’t even compete in a down SEC? I’m feeling a reset.

  3. Bluenblood
    5:25 pm January 21, 2021 Permalink

    Duhhhhhhh. Some of these kids may grow into their long tall bodies and be good NBA pros. But i wish Cal and Company can recognize this. Hell maybe they do!!!! Don’t do UK any good…or our fans. Just total BS

  4. VirginiaCat
    5:52 pm January 21, 2021 Permalink

    Jackson is the one player I would most like to keep around, Smooth out the rough edges and he would be a major asset. It would benefit all the players to stay for at least another year. They need time to grow into their bodies and adjust to the college game. Wishful thinking on my part unless Cal realizes that his reputation is dependent on fielding a strong team next year.

  5. blueballs80
    5:52 pm January 21, 2021 Permalink

    Is anyone surprised?

  6. zoupman
    7:16 pm January 21, 2021 Permalink

    No shit. Why would anyone draft one of these guys?

  7. goteam94
    8:11 pm January 21, 2021 Permalink

    Whatever players don’t get drafted will transfer. Like most Uk teams very few are ready to go the the NBA. This team doesn’t have a single one but there will still be 4+ that try

    • T-Town Cat
      8:57 pm January 21, 2021 Permalink

      Unfortunately, recent history backs this up. Boston, Clarke, Jackson, Brooks, Sarr, and Mintz will leave to be try to play for pay somewhere. Ware will probably see he’s not getting many minutes and is being recruited over with Tschiebwe and Collins. Askew will see the two point guards coming in and probably get homesick for California, ala Juzang. Who knows about Fletcher? Cal will have to hit the transfer market again to fill out the roster.

    • boomroasted09
      12:27 am January 22, 2021 Permalink


  8. HighBallScreen
    8:10 am January 22, 2021 Permalink

    Last years Transfers need to be moved on. This discussion of a guy or two being potentially a 1st Rounder is why the Program is being DESTROYED. None of these guys are ready. It’s the Coaches job to convince them of that. It’s the Media job to ask why anyone else is going pro and why Devon Askew is the only PT Guard we had coming into 2020-2021 Season. Not holding my breath……