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Only two Wildcats projected as draft picks in The Athletic’s updated big board

(Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports)

(Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports)

Out of five potential draftees on the Kentucky basketball roster – six if you include Kahlil Whitney – only two are projected to go in the first or second rounds of the 2020 NBA Draft.

In The Athletic’s latest Big Board released this morning, Tyrese Maxey and Immanuel Quickley both landed in the top 60, while Nick Richards and Ashton Hagans fell just outside draft position. EJ Montgomery and Whitney, however, were nowhere to be seen in the entire list of 100 prospects.

Unsurprisingly, Maxey led the way at No. 13 overall, which falls in line with the consensus late-lottery draft grade he has been given since the end of his freshman season at Kentucky. Meanwhile, Quickley has dipped a bit to No. 49 overall after finding himself as in the late-first/early-second round range following early in the draft process.

From there, Richards and Hagans came in at No. 66 and No. 67, respectively, after holding firm as mid-to-late second rounders in recent months.

Aside from Montgomery and Whitney, another name of interest that did not make the top 100 is 2020 five-star center Makur Maker, who is currently testing the NBA Draft waters trying to decide whether to move forward with his professional career or spend a year in college.

Maker’s guardian, Ed Smith, told KSR last week that the five-star prospect is hoping to be selected in the first round and would strongly consider college – Kentucky, UCLA, and Howard being the three candidates – if he fell into the late-second or undrafted range. Either way, a decision is expected in August.

To read Sam Vecenie’s entire Big Board, check it out at The Athletic here.

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

7 Comments for Only two Wildcats projected as draft picks in The Athletic’s updated big board



  1. JASUN74
    2:21 pm June 18, 2020 Permalink

    I just don’t understand why a kid that comes to Kentucky thinks he’s a failure if he has to stay in school for four years. Of course I’d want to go play in the NBA, who wouldn’t? But another year at that age is when a kid really develops more into a man than when he was 17-18 years old. Nick for instance, no way in the world he shouldn’t have come back to college. Just no way. Unless you’re pretty much guaranteed and promised a first round pick, come back to school. You can only help yourself and get bigger and better.

    Tyler Ulis was another kid who 100% should’ve stayed in school all four years. He’s a legend after two anyway but two more years of college would’ve made him one of the greatest guards to ever play in college. Cal needs to tell these kids that need to come back to come back. I know he wants guys in the league, but man it’s hurting some kids more than helping them.



    • njcat
      9:41 pm June 18, 2020 Permalink

      Hard to stay when the coach tells you to leave.



  2. Shagaris Sock Puppet
    2:48 pm June 18, 2020 Permalink

    You make a good point from your standpoint, but if these kids did stay, we wouldn’t get the next guy and the talent would trickle to other schools. Then when say for instance Ulis left after 4 years, we would miss out on a guy like Fox. We’re so spoiled it makes what u said sound like a spoiled brat. At the end of the day, good or bad, the decision is up to these kids and their families. Hindsight is always 20/20



    • njcat
      9:46 pm June 18, 2020 Permalink

      Fox was great, for a freshman. Ulis was SEC POY, and 1st team all American. You’re telling me you wouldn’t prefer Ulis as as jr and sr to whatever freshmen cal brought in? NFW



  3. millertim
    2:49 pm June 18, 2020 Permalink

    Coach Cal should have convinced the bigs, Richards and Montgomery, to come back. Obviously there is NO evidence from NBA scouts/ experts that think either one is ready to make it in the NBA. Enjoy your life in the G league. But hey, at UK we’re not about titles, only $ in NBA… sadly neither Richards or Montgomery will add to Cal’s $ numbers…



  4. BigTimeOwen
    3:09 pm June 18, 2020 Permalink

    Richards will get drafted in the second round for sure. He’s got a solid game and defensive presence, and bulked up last season. Sure he could use another year refining his game but he’ll be fine. I don’t actually see any reason for him to come back and put everything off another year when he can easily finish his degree soon and make money professionally at the same time.
    EJ probably won’t get drafted but it’s possible a team may take a flier on him with his athleticism and potential. He’s still inconsistent but he did look better last season. Even G-league guys are making more money than most people do so I can’t fault him for leaving really either, especially if he continues to improve.



  5. Big Sexy
    11:13 am June 19, 2020 Permalink

    It seems that most of these young men and their families don’t weigh the huge advantage of staying another year or two and getting that first round guaranteed contract. It could make the difference in millions of dollars. So many guys have been one or two and done in the NBA with no guaranteed contract. Plus, if an NBA team is already paying you for a 3rd or 4th year they may get that extra year or two to improve and prove themselves.

    I agree with njcat. As good as I thought Fox was, I’d rather have had Ulis as a JR or SR. It’s obviously easier to win a championship when you have experience mixed in with talent.