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2018 NBA Draft big board by ESPN unveiled for top 100 prospects

ESPN ranked the top 100 prospects in the 2018 NBA Draft, and it’s full of Wildcats.

Chris Humphrey

The new college basketball season is here, and the NBA season is already in full swing.

With that in mind, ESPN NBA Draft guru Jonathan Givony unveiled his top 100 prospects for the 2018 NBA Draft. This ranking features six Kentucky Wildcats, which are the most of any school. Duke is right behind them with five.

The highest ranked Cat, to no surprise, is Kevin Knox. The freshman forward is UK’s best player this season, and he’s primed to be the latest superstar freshman that John Calipari helps make a high NBA Draft pick.

Knox checked in at 14th overall, putting him just inside the lottery. Right behind him is redshirt freshman Hamidou Diallo at 18th overall. Those two are all but locked into entering the 2018 draft once the college basketball season concludes, so long as they’re safely projected into the first round. They should be in what’s shaping up to be a very thin draft.

The last Cat ranked in the top 30 is freshman center Nick Richards. He’s going to be right on the line of stay or go next spring. He has immense potential and the kind of body NBA teams love to have in their centers, but he’s still very raw and could take multiple seasons of college before he’s ready to jump to the pros.

The next two Cats to make this list are freshman forwards PJ Washington and Jarred Vanderbilt. Washington was all the tools to have a successful NBA career, but he doesn’t do any one thing great (at least right now), and he’s a bit of an NBA tweener as a 6-8 power forward that may be better off at small forward.

As for Vanderbilt, there’s no doubt he’s a first-round prospect when healthy, but lingering foot issues could keep him in college for at least his sophomore season.

Even so, with Richards, Knox and Diallo are projected as first-round picks with Washington and Vanderbilt on the cusp of first-round status, it’s possible UK loses as many as five players to the NBA next year. I don’t think that happens, but this draft should be thin enough for all five of those guys to be projected as first-round prospects by the time May rolls around.

Sophomore forward Sacha Killeya Jones checks in at 59th overall, making him the lowest-ranked Cat. He’s got a long way to go in order to be able to enter the 2018 draft and actually be selected.

It’s also worth noting that sophomore forward Wenyen Gabriel, freshman guard Quade Green and freshman guard Shai Alexander are not even in the top 100.

Here’s a look at what ESPN’s top 30 prospects look like:

1. Luka Doncic

2. Michael Porter Jr.

3. Marvin Bagley III

4. Deandre Ayton

5. Mohamed Bamba

6. Miles Bridges

7. Robert Williams

8. Collin Sexton

9. Jaren Jackson Jr.

10. Wendell Carter Jr.

11. Trevon Duval

12. Bruce Brown

13. Lonnie Walker

14. Kevin Knox

15. Justin Jackson

16. Dzanan Musa

17. Troy Brown

18. Hamidou Diallo

19. Mikal Bridges

20. Chimezie Metu

21. Mitchell Robinson

22. Rodions Kurucs

23. Nick Richards

24. Nickeil Alexander-Walker

25. Emmanuel Akot

26. Shake Milton

27. Grayson Allen

28. De'Anthony Melton

29. Austin Wiley

30. Tyus Battle