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UK Fans of the Weekend Want Draft Updates


The first weekend without college sports since August was a little bit sad for me. While most of this UK basketball season was a bit of a grind, the last month was one of the more special rides in the history of the program. The way this team completely reinvented itself, came together and shocked the college basketball world was something to behold. They produced four of the best postseason games this program has ever seen and they all occurred in succession, each a little bit more exciting than the last. Had Kentucky finished the job, it would probably have been the greatest run in the history of this program, and even as is, it is one that we will always remember. This 2014 Kentucky team will join the 1966 Rupp’s Runts as one of the most beloved to ever come so close and there is no doubt that this group will have a special place in all fans’ hearts.

But now after the joy of the season comes business time. The players spent most of this weekend thinking about their futures and talking about the Draft with their families. Randle, Young and Willie headed home while Poythress, the Twins and Dakari were in town, but all spent time with their families as they tried to figure out what their future holds for next season. Seven players legitimately have a chance to go to the NBA and all seven have considered it. A few days ago I updated where I thought the decisions for each of the players stood and after a few more days, it is worth an update. I expect the first couple of decisions to trickle out in the next 48 hours or so, and the last ones may go all the way to the NBA deadline of April 26. But we will know more very soon, so it is worth noting where we are before a big week for the future of the program. With that in mind, a couple of before we get going:

1. This look is based on my conversations with people close to the program, a couple of folks I know around the NBA and in two cases, people close to the players. I have gotten conflicting information in a couple of cases and have gone with the ones I think are most trustworthy.

2. It is subject to change because…well they are kids subject to change their mind.

So with that, the players:


Gone and likely to announce very soon. Randle is situated to be a top 5 pick and will compete with Wiggins, Parker, Embiid and Dante Exum for one of the top spots. Randle actually has taken the information gathering process seriously and unlike a couple of the other “can’t miss” guys of recent years, I do think he considered the possibility of returning. But everyone agrees that his time is now and there is very little upside for Julius in a second year. I can’t imagine he comes back and I think we find out very soon.


All year I was under the impression that Young was certainly headed to the Draft, no questions asked. I still think he is headed to the Draft, but I am told by a couple of folks that he has strongly considered the possibility of a second year. For Young however, the dream has always been about the NBA and he will likely go in the lottery thanks to his amazing athleticism (one of my NBA people told me that his dunk in the UCONN game was maybe the most important moment of the Final Four in terms of how it was perceived by NBA team scouts). While I don’t consider him the mortal lock that I do Randle, I would still be shocked if he doesn’t enter the Draft, probably this week.


Almost certain to return. Alex looked at where he would go in the Draft and gathered the information and from what I am told, he is almost certain to return. If you remember at this time last week, I had two people in my “lock” category (Randle and Young) and I feel fairly comfortable now to put Alex there as well. I think he will be a key member of the team next year and is on pace to graduate in three years, making his return the correct decision.


The shock of this entire process to me has been Willie. All season long, I heard from everyone around the team and Willie that he would enter the Draft after the season. But now I am hearing that he is not only considering returning, I have people saying that he likely will return. That is amazing to me. But the two people telling me are people I trust and so for now, I am operating under the assumption that he is in the “Lean Return” status. Apparently Willie was torn up about his injury and not being able to finish the job with the team and legitimately loves the life he has as a college student in Lexington. He also understands that because of his injury, he can’t work out during the draft process and that will have an impact on his NBA Draft status. As one person close to the process told me, “not working out caused the certain #1 pick (Nerlens) to drop to #6, the result for Willie could be much worse.”) If he returns and plays well, he could be a guaranteed lottery guy next year in a weak draft. Plus his athleticism is something next year’s team could desperately use and would make for a huge, unexpected addition. I freely admit that I will be skeptical until the day he makes his decision, as I have assumed in in the Draft since before the year began. But at the same time, all the info is going in the direction of a return and so I can’t help but follow along.


Dakari is the opposite of Willie in terms of the fact that I believed he was certain to return all year and now I am not sure. Johnson is taking the process very seriously and is being told that he would be a late first round draft choice. Now it is just up to Dakari to decide if he wants to settle for that placement or come back and have a chance to play himself into the lottery. If I were a betting man, I would still place money on Dakari being back at UK, but I am not confident in that selection and it will be interesting to see if a return by Willie would have any effect. If they both come back, UK’s front court next year is officially crazy scary.


The most talked about of the draft prospects are also the most mysterious. As I have said over and over, people who say they know what the Twins are doing simply do not. I can tell you with some confidence that even those close to the Twins don’t know and they laugh at the stories of “they are gone” or “they are returning” that are out there right now. Their situation is like Dakari’s in that both stand to improve their games and stock by returning. But both thought of themselves as guys who would only play for one year and now they have to decide if they are ok with the second. I pay almost no credibility to the Chad Ford report today that scouts say the Twins believe they weren’t “showcased” correctly by Calipari…they were probably the two who Calipari had the least problems with all season. I just think they are torn and trying to make the best decision possible. I am asked all the time if they will return and UK definitely could use them…without them, they really only have three guards on the team next season (Ulis, Booker and Hawkins), so it will be thin without them. But any guess on their future is just a guess…to me they are a toss-up and we just cross our fingers and hope they make the best decision for UK, which I also think would be the best decision for them…one more year in Lexington.

Thats how I see it standing now. John Calipari does a media tour tomorrow in which he will get asked a lot about their futures and I would expect in the next 48 hours, we will get at least one and maybe many more decisions announced. Seven kids and all different levels of potential in terms of entering the Draft…should be an exciting week.

Article written by Matt Jones

48 Comments for UK Fans of the Weekend Want Draft Updates

  1. Dr. Gayre
    10:32 pm April 13, 2014 Permalink


  2. wkydude
    10:37 pm April 13, 2014 Permalink

    The dork photo-bombing with “the bird”…someone punch him for ruining a decent pic. Not a great pic, but decent.

    • stevieb
      11:23 pm April 13, 2014 Permalink

      Surprised he was noticed. I was looking elsewhere

  3. aaronsBigNuts
    10:37 pm April 13, 2014 Permalink

    My predictions:

    Gone: Randle, Young, Johnson
    Stay: Twins, Poythress, WCS

    • blake
      10:52 pm April 13, 2014 Permalink

      That’s exactly the way I see “hope” it is…also Dakari/Cauley-Stein interchangeable.

  4. Roman
    10:38 pm April 13, 2014 Permalink

    If Willie stays, my girlfriend will flip out… it’s not a good look bro lol

  5. gocats
    10:43 pm April 13, 2014 Permalink

    I didn’t even see the guy in the photo until reading the comments

  6. Bluecat
    10:48 pm April 13, 2014 Permalink

    I highly doubt we will get both Dakari and Willie back, considering the depth we will have in the front court next year. I do think one will probably be back though. The twins are the biggest decision, in terms of next year. They return, then buy your tickets to the final four! If they don’t, then our backcourt and wings will be thin. The twins are the ones I am really interested in (I’m assuming Young and Randle are gone), although I’d LOVE to have any of these guys back next year.

  7. come on
    10:48 pm April 13, 2014 Permalink

    Out of all the players considering making the jump, Dakari is the one who needs to come back the most. He played great for us but come on there is no way he can keep up in the nba right now.

  8. CamdenCat
    10:55 pm April 13, 2014 Permalink

    Cal was almost apologetic on how he used Andrew during the regular season, shouldn’t be surprising his father is using this angle with NBA guys

  9. WTF?!
    11:14 pm April 13, 2014 Permalink

    No college sports? Really? Maybe no basketball, but plenty of college sports. And, no, the fans of the day don’t want a draft update. Or rather, they do when there is something to update. When did this place become CNN?

      12:26 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

      CNN? More like MSNBC.

    • Geez
      3:42 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

      Lol @ complainers.

  10. BAdams
    11:20 pm April 13, 2014 Permalink

    What if Willie and Dakari come back? Can you imagine, you could have both of them and Karl Towns on the floor at the same time. Add in the twins….nasty. No answer at all for that.

    • Bill Brasky
      1:41 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

      Dude…Plus Alex. Plus Marcus Lee. Plus Lyles. Plus Derek Willis. Plus Hawkins. Plus Ulis. Plus Booker. If Aaron and Andrew come back and the team gets to play together during a summer tour…that team’s better than the 2012 team.

  11. stevieb
    11:26 pm April 13, 2014 Permalink

    I really hope we can find minutes for Willis and Lee. Cal needs to go deeper next year in the rotation and play 9.

  12. katfaninyourface
    11:30 pm April 13, 2014 Permalink

    If WCS and DJ return it may hurt future recruiting. DK and Towns would be the best combo IMO.

  13. Gary
    11:31 pm April 13, 2014 Permalink

    Dakari Johnson plays very slow like a project. No way he is ready for the NBA. Not even close.

  14. Rj
    12:04 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

    I know no one close to any of these guys. It would be great if they all came back. The interesting note for me is that Aaron is projected possible second round pick..possible Andrew goes and Aaron stays? Not likely. If Aaron is projected second round I think they will stay. It’s a twin thing and last chance for them to play together . One more year, they are lottery

  15. Slick#BBN
    12:53 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

    Young really loves UK and may not be satisfied with 1 season in Lex. He could possibly be a top 5 pick next year. He’s deciding between being wealthy and 82 games of being a 6th man for a Utah, Memphis, Sacramento or be a “franchise” player for the most decorated team and THE face of NCAA basketball for 2015. Also starting to wonder if people think that 1 draft pick gets 2 possible All American caliber players. The twins had a big media follow since their early AAU days. They may want to finally split and begin to start their own individual brand. It will be another highly anticipated and highly ranked team next season but as WE (BBN) always say, next year might be the best team yet. And it really will be!

  16. Daniel
    12:56 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

    thanks man, great stuff looking forward to this week

  17. Bill Brasky
    1:29 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

    If only three kids leave (Julius, Young and either Willie or Dakari), and we have an entire summer tour to practice before next season…goooood gravy Marie. Pencil a National Championship in. We would like have 5 guys in next year’s lottery with maybe 7 or 8 first round picks.

    • TD
      8:03 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

      Brash Bill Brasky, “Pencil a National Championship in”? Were you the one that started that 40-0 BS last year? Some people never learn.

  18. I. Melvin
    2:39 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

    Matt’s calm, rational, reasonable analysis has me excited as a schoolgirl.

    One potential scenario is that ONLY RANDLE GOES! And it’s not even magical thinking. Can you even imagine?

    My guess is that JY will hear enough positives to go ahead and make the jump, but the news that Willie might return is huge.

    Not sure what to wish for re: The Twins. Can Aaron ever do anything to make himself look better? Andrew? Eh, the NBA seems to like him better than I do (they’re the ones that count, but you knew that).

    I think Aaron will get selected in the late first round, but I fear Andrew would be headed to the D-League if he goes. To quote Carly Simon, “this isn’t exactly what we had planned”.

    We’ll be dangerously thin in the back court without them, but I don’t want them back unless they’re all in for the team.

    We’ll need PG depth in the worst way and Cal’s usually pretty good at scrambling, but he’s a tad busy this summer what with the book tour and hip replacement. Maybe the new guy from Pitt could help in this area, as we won’t need a 5-star, just someone who can rest and hopefully mentor Ullis.

    That we’re even discussing what to do with all the returning players after a Final Four run is amazing to me. It’s happened to other schools, maybe it’s our turn for a change.

    • El hefe
      1:12 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      I’m the better guitar player

  19. Heinrich
    5:35 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

    Seems that your fans of the day pics are going downhill.

  20. Miracle
    6:47 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

    Seems like the twins were exposed all year by quickness. Not sure what the fix is for them regardless of when they jump. Perhaps another year of playing together is tempting for them on a personal level. They will likely never play together again once they leave.

  21. goose
    7:10 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

    Lets all assume they all are leaving early. That way we dont have to wait around to see what the team will look like next year. Its all new players are gonna suck and still be rated #1 preseason…. shows the sad state of college basketball is in.

  22. KYStout
    7:46 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

    At some point we have to get some continuity at the guard position. Losing our guards every year is a major hill to climb.

    • TD
      8:15 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

      Agreed. It will be an even bigger struggle in 2015 with new guards at both 1 & 2.
      I think all (even Randle) could benefit with more collegiate experience, but I also know that won’t happen. Our front court will be awesome if any two of (WSC, DJ, AP) return. With Lee, Willis & Townes in the mix the front court would be formidable. Backcourt, ???.

    • Musehobo
      8:18 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

      Yes, cause these 3 Final Fours in 4 years have been so disappointing. But if we don’t get some continuity in our guard play…well, I guess we’ll just have to settle for being a championship candidate every year.

      If that’s the one thing your going to pick out…think through it a bit more. “have to” is the wrong phrase. Should have said “would be nice if”. But we can’t have it both ways. We get the best players with Cal’s system. That means there is high turnover and he has to start fresh almost every year. It’s an uphill battle, but one that has worked out well for us every year except 2013.

    • backwurdsben
      9:25 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

      I believe what KYStout is trying to say is that although we have been championship contenders almost regularly during Cal’s tenure, the current turnover rate at the guard position is extremely taxing on the team and especially the coaches. Coach Cal has been battling and working extremely hard every single season to get our guards capable of running a team come March Madness….as well as most of the other positions. As long as he has the crazy energy that this approach requires it will hopefully continue to work, but what happens when that fuel tank starts to go?

    8:05 am April 14, 2014 Permalink


    • Mc
      8:21 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

      Who are you screaming at?

  24. Ball Don't Lie
    8:20 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

    Some players don’t care about being a first rounder, they just want to be in the league. Doron Lamb would have left after his 2nd year even if it meant playing in Europe, he just wanted to go, no matter what. I obviously have no idea if the twins feel that way, but it’s something to remember. IF they care about being first round it’s smart to come back if you’re projected late 1st-early 2nd. Jodie was projected late first, went early 40’s. So things can change, so I hope for them they get the right info.
    All that being said, from the team perspective we need the twins back or our backcourt is going to be thin and very short. With them back we would be better next year than we were this year, and not due to experience but because the pieces on next years team will compliment eachother better than this years. We’ll see, I’ll welcome anyone back and also wish only the best for any of them if they leave.

  25. t
    8:20 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

    “The first weekend without college sports since August was a little bit sad for me”…hmm….don’t know what all the participants in spring sports at UK think about that statement. I know what you meant though.

    • Papageorgio
      9:56 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

      Does anybody actually WATCH spring college sports? Only time I ever partake is when the college softball tourney is on ESPN, for obvious reasons.

  26. asdf
    8:25 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

    If Willie comes back (along with Lee and the freshmen), I have a feeling that might push Dakari out the door. Another case of a UK player turning pro because his position will be crowded in college, because Willie can polish his offensive game easier than Dakari can learn to defend without fouling.

    • WOW @ 5
      4:57 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink


  27. jcatron
    9:03 am April 14, 2014 Permalink


    • WUUUUT
      2:12 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      I highly disagree with your 6 sir lol.

      3, 4, 6, 1, 2, 5

    • BirdFlipper
      2:34 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      6-5-4-1-2-3. Oh, and the guy flipping the bird,,,,,LAME

    • Jordan
      3:05 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      2’s not bad at all, but I’ll take 4. You can take the rest in a sixsome for all I care

    • To Each His Own
      4:29 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      5, 2, 6, 3, 4, 1

  28. BS929
    11:22 am April 14, 2014 Permalink

    Asking the Harrisons what they are going to do is pretty much futile, because it sure seems like their Father is running the show and making the decisions for them.

    Neither were able to defend well against quick opponents this season, so imagine how bad NBA-caliber guards will make them look?!

    And I’m not sure where the “poorly showcased” accusations are coming from, given that Cal let them play through their struggles, for the most part. One need only look at the relatively paltry total of combined minutes for backups at either guard position to realize the Harrisons were “showcased” about as much as possible.

  29. Deacon
    1:32 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    The Harrison twins are also know that if they don’t come back, they will have played on the same team for the last time. I see them sticking around for another year.

    • clancyhat
      5:16 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      Exactly – I have been thinking that all along. This could be their last year together for a long time. Might make ya stop and think…

  30. The Blonde Bomber
    7:50 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    How the pretty lady that is second from the right isn’t everybody’s #1 baffles me.I can see why some guys might want to come back.