Draft night, or as Coach Cal calls it, "Graduation Night", has come and gone officially ending the 2015-16 college basketball season for Kentucky.
The roller coaster ride for the Big Blue Nation was just that, a roller coaster ride with ups and downs throughout Draft night. From the high of Jamal Murray being a lottery pick, to the low of Skal Labissiere dropping to the end of the first round, to the joy we all felt when we found out that Tyler Ulis would be reunited with Devin Booker in Phoenix, back down to the disappointment of not hearing Alex Poythress' name called.
What does this mean for these four individuals?
Most believed that Jamal Murray would be selected somewhere between the 3-7 pick in the draft. This proved to be true, on the low end, unfortunately, when Murray was selected seventh overall to the Denver Nuggets. Murray joins four other draft picks selected by the Nuggets in the draft of which I'd imagine the majority reading this will have never heard of (including me).
That being said, Murray joins a Denver backcourt that includes former Kentucky recruit Emmanuel Mudiay. Mudiay will likely remain at the point guard slot so Jamal will look to take over the shooting guard position which was held last season by Gary Harris.
Last season, Harris averaged just over twelve points a game and just under three rebounds. Jamal will bring Mudiay a much better perimeter shooter to kick out to than Harris did who shot just 35% from three last season. Whether Murray takes the starting role on opening day is yet to be seen but look for him to play a major role in the rotation from day one and to challenge for and possibly take over the starting job at some point in the season.
Skal's fall from the top has been almost unbelievable if you consider how he was viewed at this time last season. Coming out of high school he was projected to be the first or second overall pick with Ben Simmons.
As the season carried on it became clear that was no longer the case and by draft night he was thought to be a late lottery to around the 20th pick.
Unfortunately, that's not how the night ended up for Skal who dropped to the 28th overall selection by the Suns. Shortly after the pick, he would be traded to the Kings. This means that Skal joins former Kentucky big men Demarcus Cousins and Willie Cauley-Stein.
This virtually assures a backup role for Skal behind these two excellent bigs. If Skal can get better on the glass and continue to knock down his jump shot however, he can help take attention off of Cousins which would help the Kings out tremendously.
Now for most Kentucky fans' favorite moment of the night, with the 34th overall pick the Phoenix Suns select Tyler Ulis. As mentioned earlier this reunites the best friends since elementary school Ulis and Booker. It also makes for a lineup possibility that we would all love to see if only for one trip down the floor of Brandon Knight, Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker, Tyler Ulis, and Archie Goodwin.
Probably not the best lineup to keep for a game since there's no size at all but it would be a cool moment for all of the Big Blue Nation. As for where Ulis fits in, you see it there. His competition is all former Cats. Since Bledsoe, Knight, and Booker will most likely all start this gives Ulis an opportunity to back up and learn from his Big Blue Brothers.
Also the obvious chemistry he already shares with Booker will be a major help as well. It all depends on how Ulis can adjust to guarding the elite guards of the NBA at his size. As for me, I'd never bet against Tyler Ulis.
Unfortunately, Alex Poythress would go undrafted in the NBA Draft. However, much like Aaron Harrison a couple years ago this gives Alex the chance to try out on teams at summer camps where he can look for a good fit for him. This worked out well for Aaron as he's been on the Hornets' roster for much of the past season.
Hopefully, things will work out as well for Alex and he can achieve his dream of playing in the NBA.