The cancellation of the NCAA Tournament has forced underclassmen to consider their basketball futures much quicker than expected. They must answer the question, do I want to return and complete unfinished business or do I need to cash a check now as uncertainty looms? Many have already made the difficult decision.
John Calipari said over the weekend that five Kentucky Wildcats will test the NBA Draft waters. He did not provide specifics, but we all know who he’s talking about: Quickley, Richards, Hagans, Maxey and Montgomery. Each player can hire an agent and still retain eligibility if they withdraw their name from the process by June 3, a deadline many are pushing to delay.
The NBA Draft is still on schedule to happen June 25, however, Woj reported Sunday that it will likely be postponed to July or August. There’s plenty of uncertainly in the 2020 NBA Draft process but we already know with certainty who will at least test the waters from SEC country.
Anthony Edwards, Georgia — Duh. The sensational freshman was destined to leave after one year no matter how many games he lost as a Georgia Bulldog. Sam Vecenie of The Athletic currently projects Edwards to be the No. 1 overall pick.
Isaac Okoro, Auburn — A second team All-SEC selection, the freshman forward that averaged 12.9 points and 4.4 rebounds could be the second-highest draft selection from the SEC.
Aaron Nesmith, Vanderbilt — The 6’6″ sophomore led the SEC in scoring (23 ppg.) when he suffered a season-ending foot injury 13 games into the season. If he is picked at No. 17 overall, where he’s currently projected in Vecenie’s latest mock draft, it would be the second consecutive season Vanderbilt has had a top 20 pick miss most of the year with an injury.
Saben Lee, Vanderbilt — Jerry Stackhouse’s go-to guy following Nesmith’s injury, right now it’s hard to imagine a scenario where Lee gets drafted.
Reggie Perry, Miss. State — The Starkville bruiser is currently a projected second round pick after earning SEC Co-Player of the Year honors from the AP.
Mason Jones, Arkansas — The AP’s other Co-SEC Player of the Year also tossed his hat into the ring after leading the league in scoring with 22 points a game.
John Petty, Alabama — Remember when Calipari almost secured the package deal for Petty and P.J. Washington? That feels like an eternity ago.
Herbert Jones, Alabama — Will he be picked? That remains unknown. What we do know is that he can still play with only one hand.
Herbert Jones knocks down 2 clutch free throws with his left broken wrist in a cast.
Also grabbed 17 rebounds! pic.twitter.com/zhdigZTBw1
— BettorIQ (@BettorIQ) February 15, 2020
Kira Lewis, Alabama — Of all the potential departures, this one would hit Nate Oats the hardest. The point guard dished out 5.2 assists and scored 18.2 points per game for the Crimson Tide. If he does not return, Oats added some insurance over the weekend when Alabama received a commitment from Josh Primo, a 6’6″ guard ranked as the No. 27 player overall in the 2020 recruiting class.
A few other notable moves outside of the SEC: Duke point guard Tre Jones will test the draft waters, along with Louisville commit Jay Scrubb, the top-ranked JUCO prospect in America and the prized jewel of Chris Mack’s 2020 recruiting class.