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What they’re saying about the Cats, one week before the draft…

We are now one week away from the 2016 NBA Draft and John Calipari has four prospects in the mix to hear their name called in Brooklyn.

There are the two projected lottery picks in Jamal Murray and Skal Labissiere; the late-lottery to early-second-rounder in Tyler Ulis; and Alex Poythress, who is hoping someone gives him a shot in the second round.

Lots has been said about the four former Wildcats over the last month, and today we’ll revisit some of those comments, as well as their current projections, in a quick rehash of the draft predictions:


Jamal Murray

Chad Ford’s Top 100: No. 3 prospect
DraftExpress: No. 8 to Sacramento No. 6 to New Orleans
CBS Sports: No. 3 to Boston
Sports Illustrated: No. 6 to New Orleans

Jamal Murray: “”I believe I’m the best player in the draft.”

John Calipari: “He is the safe No. 1.” … “What does Philadelphia need more than anything else? Someone to make shots and guard play. I am biased. I want my guy. But he can play multiple positions, he can physically step in and play right away. He can play the point. He can score in bunches. You watch Golden State. Who really is their point guard? Whoever has it.”

Chad Ford, ESPN: “Murray may be the best pure scorer in the draft. His playmaking ability gives him versatility. He’s not a great defender but he’s tough and competitive.”


Skal Labissiere

Chad Ford’s Top 100: No. 13 prospect
DraftExpress: No. 11 to Orlando No. 11 to Orlando
CBS Sports: No. 11 to Orlando
Sports Illustrated: No. 12 to Utah

Skal Labissiere (after Phoenix workout):  “Some people say I’m soft but that’s something I’m still learning how to do–how to be physical. How to play lower. I think, with time, that’s going to come… I feel like people are underestimating me a little bit but I like that… It makes me work even hard and I know how good I can be so it doesn’t really bother me…. I think I can be really good. It’s just a matter of me working really hard, working at my game every single day and getting stronger and bigger in the weight room, which I’ve been doing.”

Sactown Royalty: “We see raw project players enter the league every year; we have Anthony Randolph flameouts, and guys like Hassan Whiteside and Bismack Biyombo who after four/five years of development end up being worth a high selection. Labissiere is one of the riskiest lottery tickets in recent years, with the body of a #1 selection and the instincts and skills of a early second rounder. It’s up to him (and his future team) to find out what he can offer in today’s NBA.”

DraftExpress: “Labissiere’s physical tools, skill-level and defensive potential are tailor-made for today’s NBA, as every team in the league is currently looking for ultra-mobile big men who can run the floor, protect the paint, space the floor, and finish around the rim. Add in the fact that he has been lauded for his work ethic and character by everyone he’s been around, and you have a project that an NBA team picking in the lottery is very likely to take a chance on, potentially very early on in the draft.”


Tyler Ulis

Chad Ford’s Big Board: No. 23
DraftExpress: No. 34 to Phoenix No. 45 to Boston
CBS Sports: No. 29 to San Antonio/No. 18 to Detroit
Sports Illustrated: No. 23 to Boston

Chad Ford, ESPN: “I’m a huge Ulis fan, but the number of teams willing to draft him in the late lottery to mid-first round seems to be shrinking as upside triumphs production at this stage of the draft. Ulis has also suffered from the workout process, as many pass-first point guards do. It’s not ideal for a player like him who thrives in real 5-on-5 action. The Bulls at No. 14, Pistons at No. 18, Pacers at No. 20, Sixers at No. 24 and Clippers at No. 25 appear to be the best fits.”

Steve Kyler, Basketball Insiders: “Kentucky guard Tyler Ulis is said to have a pretty significant hip issue, which some believe may require surgery down the line. A medical red flag combined with his size, Ulis could slide deep into the first round or even over into the second depending on how team medical staffs view his situation.”

DraftExpress: “The NBA has become a somewhat friendlier environment in recent years for point guards under six feet tall, with almost a dozen players in this mold finding success the past few seasons. While few expect Ulis to emerge as a star in the mold of Isaiah Thomas or Kemba Walker, it’s easy to project him developing into an outstanding backup at the very least thanks to all the different things he brings to the table, not the least of which are his outstanding intangibles. He’s the type of player who is very difficult to bet against.”


Alex Poythress

Chad Ford’s Big Board: No. 54
DraftExpress Top 100: No. 81 Undrafted
CBS SportsNo second-round mock
Sports IllustratedNo second-round mock

Chad Ford, ESPN: “Poythress has become the forgotten man. Almost four years ago, he made a brief appearance atop our Big Board after a strong showing early in his freshman year. He’s one of the best athletes in the draft, he defends multiple positions and he finishes above the rim.”

Marc Eversley, Sixers VP of Player Personnel: “The thing about Alex is, he just keeps moving forward. He keeps getting better.  He’s got a great body, he’s got great size, he’s an explosive jumper, and he’s got a developing jump shot.  For him, he just needs to continue to work and improve his game.  He comes from a great program, Kentucky.  He’s got a future, for sure.”

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

1 Comment for What they’re saying about the Cats, one week before the draft…

  1. fauxbobknight
    2:40 pm June 16, 2016 Permalink

    “He’s got a great body, he’s got great size, he’s an explosive jumper, and he’s got a developing jump shot. For him, he just needs to continue to work and improve his game”

    Sounds like he is in the same position he was when he started his freshman year at UK.