As several Kentucky Wildcats begin thinking about their futures, the following is a look at dates to know and pay attention to now that Kentucky’s season is finished.
April 23— NBA Early Entry Eligibility Deadline
This is the last day that players who want to seek early entry into the NBA Draft can file. Entry by this date does not lock a player into the draft. Expect Kentucky’s three star freshmen (Fox, Monk and Adebayo) to enter their names into the draft, as well as sophomore Isaiah Briscoe. Remember, Briscoe entered last year, but ultimately decided to withdraw.
The new rules are something Calipari has been in favor of, as it allows players to get feedback from NBA personnel on where they stand and make more informed decisions.
It would be no surprise if Calipari encourages other players to test the waters and see where they stand, so look for a guy like Wenyen Gabriel to do that (although it's hard to imagine an NBA team giving him a first round projection based on the way he finished the season).
I wouldn’t expect any other underclassmen to test the waters. Guys like Issac Humphries, Sacha Killeya-Jones, and Tai Wynyard are more of a threat to transfer than enter the NBA Draft, but crazier things have happened.
May 9-14—NBA Combine in Chicago
This is where players will receive a lot of feedback on where they stand. Typically, 60 players receive invites to the NBA Combine, so Fox, Monk, and Bam are locks to be invited and Briscoe is a toss-up.
Fox and Monk are guaranteed lottery picks, and in all likelihood, will go in the top 10. The combine will be a critical time for Adebayo though. Mock drafts are quite varied on Adebayo’s stock. Several have placed him at the end of the first round in the 27-30 range, while some have him in the middle from 15-20.
In order to ensure a first round selection, Bam needs to have a solid combine. His measurements likely will not come back great, so he will need to perform exceptional in interviews, shooting drills, and the various athletic tests. If he doesn’t, he will be likely slotted near the end of the first round, which is a danger zone due to guaranteed contracts.
May 16—NBA Draft Lottery
The lottery will provide a better look at where certain players will go, as team need will begin to factor in with draft position. Teams in need of backcourt help (i.e. New York Knicks, Sacramento Kings, Philadelphia 76ers) will pick in the lottery and could be landing spots for Fox/Monk.
Trade rumors also begin to surface more frequently after the lottery as draft positions are finalized.
June 12—NBA Draft Early Entry Entrant Withdrawal Deadline
This will be the last day for players to back out of the NBA Draft. By this point, prospects will have had the NBA Combine, individual workouts, interviews, and more opportunities to get an idea of their stock and what they need to work on.
This will be decision time for guys like Adebayo, Briscoe, and possibly Gabriel. If Gabriel enters, I would think he would withdraw as his participation would be more for information gathering than actual intent to enter. If Briscoe receives a second grade round as most mock drafts project, it puts him in a tough situation. Same with Adebayo.
This will also be another time where the rumor mill is churning heavily. Fans should beware of false and inaccurate reports of players remaining or withdrawing.
If I am making my guess, I would say Kentucky loses four early entrants in Fox, Monk, Adebayo, and Briscoe, but again, crazier things have happened.
Note that these decisions could also play a heavy factor in recruiting and vice versa.
It should be a fun few months.